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We’ve all heard the term “Keeping up with the Joneses,” but how many of us realize when we’re actually doing it? We were and didn’t realize it. Let me go back a bit. A couple of years ago, we made friends with several people who lived very comfortably. They weren’t rolling in their money, but they certainly weren’t struggling to pay the bills. At the time? Neither were we. So, we would all go out to eat and have camping trips that would always end up costing us money, we bought big toys that we REALLY couldn’t afford to buy, we bought a car that we really weren’t smart about, we bought Emma things that she really didn’t need and so on. It wasn’t that we were TRYING to blow money, we just weren’t paying any attention.
Needless to say? By not paying attention to our budget? We blew through an ABSOLUTELY insane amount of cash in 2013. We hadn’t budgeted, we really hadn’t saved and yes, we spent…and spent and spent and spent. Which in reality, while bad? Would have been fine.
2014 brought a MASSIVE income drop for us. Massive.
So let’s put 2 and 2 together….one year of not saving money and another with a loss in income? That. Spells. Trouble…which is why it’s not 2015 and we’re doing a budget challenge.
The thing is though? We didn’t even realize at the time that we WERE trying to keep up with the Joneses. We were just having fun with out friends. Looking back now though? I can see the writing on the wall clearly.
So yes, keeping up with the Joneses helped to kill us finally. Here’s the kicker though…
It happens to all of us.
Like what happened with our family, most of us don’t even realize we’re doing it. For some, it happens on the same scale that it did with my family, for others its much smaller or even much larger. One day you’re sailing along with your budget, things have been fine for months or even years and the next? You’ve let your financial guard down. So what is the best way to avoid it?
The best way to avoid it is to always manage your budget. By keeping an eye on things, by always budgeting what you have, you’ll never be caught off guard. Also? Be happy in what you have. The biggest lesson that we have learned in this whole mess? We don’t have to have the biggest toys or be out and about every weekend to be happy. It’s so easy to get caught up in what we think we need that we get off track and soon, find ourselves in a huge hole.
Have you ever tried to keep up with the Joneses? Did you catch yourself in time or do big financial damage to yourself?
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