Although the economy is at one of the most depressing points since the 1930s, people are handling the stress of it all in a very different way than their grandparents did. Restaurants, malls, and sports arenas continue to have parking lots full of cars and a pretty brisk business.
Keeping up with the Jonesâ€™ is just a way of saying that a person is spending money that they donâ€™t have to maintain a similar lifestyle to that of their neighbors and peers. It happens all the time but it can ruin your financial security really fast.
Choosing to step off the merry-go-round can be hard, but there are ways to help yourself and your family to do it. Choose to simplify, commit to the plan, and try these strategies.
Television brings commercials for all kinds of cool things right into your living room and feeds the need for stuff. Children are especially vulnerable to advertising companies telling them what they need to be happy. Turn off the TV and choose to take a walk or play a board game with the family instead.
Focus on the Positive
Choose to think about the things that you have rather than the fact that the neighbors just bought a brand new car in a color and style that you love. Even though your car may have topped the 100,000 mile mark, you can appreciate the fact that it is still running. Best of all, you donâ€™t have the neighbor’s car payment.
Look for Inexpensive Alternatives
When your co-worker pulls out the pictures from her family vacation to Hawaii, it may be hard not to feel a little jealous and begin thinking about a new credit card with its zero interest for the next six months. Donâ€™t fall into that trap.
While a vacation would be great, the financial pressure that comes after it wonâ€™t be. Make a list of day trips and activities that you can do without going into debt. Staycations are a great, inexpensive alternative. Save up, plan, and go on an amazing vacation when you can afford it.
photo credit: R Berteig