what’s so great about keeping up with the Joneses?

It’s a concept I don’t really understand.  I don’t care what others have that I don’t have.

Your friend Jones buys a new car.  It’s a bit of a luxury car.  You, Smith, feel a little jealous because it’s a much nicer car than you have.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with your car, but you now want a new one. Do you stop and think about what the payment is for their nice, new car?  Most Smiths do not.  They go to the dealer and look at cars.  In the end, here you come driving down the street in a car that is the same as Jones’ or more luxurious.  You didn’t have the money in the bank to buy it, so it’s financed and you’re deeper in debt.  Ka-Ching!

There’s a get together of Joneses and Smiths.  The Joneses are all wearing designer clothes.  Suddenly, the nice clothes you always wear don’t seem good enough.  There’s nothing wrong with them.  They’re not ripped or stained or have holes in them, they just aren’t designer.  The next day, you’re off to the mall to buy some designer clothes so you can keep up appearances.  You put it on your credit card, but you can’t pay it off at the end of the month.  Ka-Ching!

You want a ring/necklace/earrings/cuff links/watch for you birthday or Christmas or just because you and your significant other had a fight.  Your significant other buys them.  Again, there’s no cash so it goes on the credit card.  And there sits all that jewelry in the jewelry box because you couldn’t possibly wear it all at once.  But, it’s really necessary to have a separate set of jewelry to match every designer outfit, isn’t it?  Ka Ching!

Jones picks up the bill when they invite you out to a restaurant.  You really can’t afford to, but soon you reciprocate.  With a much more expensive restaurant so they don’t think you’re cheap.  After all, there’s plastic in your wallet and you can’t invite them over for a home cooked meal and good conversation. What would they think?  Ka-Ching!

It’s hard to tell if Smith wants the item because they really want it, or because they feel owning it makes them superior to those that don’t have it.  Or, at least makes them equal to those that do have it.

How it looks to others is Smiths’ biggest concerns.  They don’t want Jones to think they can’t afford this or that, when in reality, they’re in debt up to their ears trying to keep up, not realising that Jones is probably in debt the same way!

I just don’t get it.

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4 Responses to what’s so great about keeping up with the Joneses?

  1. barb19 says:

    I don’t get it either, can’t see the sense in it. So what if the Jones’ have a better/nicer/more luxurious and up to date car than I have? I couldn’t care less and I’m happy for them. Same with clothes. People can be very shallow.
    Take me as I am or leave me alone is my motto; I am me, not a Jones.
    Great post shell!

  2. I agree! I firmly believe that you should never buy anything “extra” (i.e. non-essential clothes, computer, other luxury items, et cetera) unless you have at least double the money to buy it in that section of your budget.

    It is very, very easy to have beautiful things that are cheap. I never throw out clothing unless it’s in tatters and can always find another use for it. And if it’s too small for me to wear ever again, I carefully pack into a box and put in our attic storage space for my children or Pippa’s children to wear in the future. Also, one word: vintage. You can frequently get beautiful pieces for much less.

    And decorating on a small budget is a lot easier than you would think. A lot easier. It just takes more time and effort.

    Finally, when it comes to many things, it’s better to take after the Europeans and have very few things, but always have them of the highest quality. Minimalism is gorgeous, and there is never anything wrong with rewearing an outfit.

    • Seashell says:

      I have so few clothes that I don’t even have to store my out of season clothes in another closet. Like you, I try not to but anything new unless it’s really needed. Unfortunately, my husband isn’t like that. He seem to always want new and improved.
      I’m not really into luxury items and I have very few wants. It drives my husband crazy when he wants to but me a gift!
      I have been driving my pick up for 11 years now, and it still runs great. I love it and I hope it lasts forever. It’s not fancy, no electric locks or window controls, a standard CD player with just one slot, no DVD player, no back seat. Just a simple small truck that I take great care of.
      I really just don’t like to spend money. 🙂

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