“Keeping up with the Joneses” is an American expression that began back in 1913 from a comic strip by Arthur R. Momand. The comic strip showed the main character always worrying about what his neighbor has or is doing in life.
For millennials we have a bigger problem than keeping up with the Joneses. We don’t just have one next-door neighbor, we now have hundreds everywhere!!! We see our “neighbors” every time we go you on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter. Celebrity’s lives are tracked down to the second alongside with all the glitz and glamour. Our reality shows are about rich housewives or rich kids living life. Keeping up with the Joneses is a baby boomers problem. For millennials we have the problem of “Keeping up with the Kardashians!” Now I don’t mean exactly the Kardashians but I do mean people’s lives are thrown at us frequently. They post the fancy pictures of food, vacations, new cars and well you know all the good stuff. It gives a one sided story which leads us to want the same thing naturally.
For those who don’t know us personally you may not know that we moved from Atlanta, Georgia to Dallas Texas back in May 2015. We moved mainly for a change of scenery and a better paying job We were fortunate enough as well for Anita to get a higher paying job too.
Quick side note for anyone who is looking for work and willing to relocate! Dallas, Texas has hundreds (probably thousands) jobs available. It helped both our careers not just from the higher pay but with experience as well. If you find yourself unable to get where you want to be in your career take a look at Dallas. It is hot as hell but the jobs are just as hot. Now back to the subject.
With living in Atlanta again it is a worry for the both of us that we will fall into that fast pace living lifestyle, partying every weekend and trying to keep up with everyone else. The best thing we gained from moving out of Atlanta is a new mindset; let’s call it the Dallas mindset. While in Dallas we had no one to impress, no big parties to go to and it was just us judging ourselves. We moved to the beat of our own drum and it seemed to work out well. Now the question is how we will overcome that same feeling with coming back to the root of those thoughts like “I need to buy more clothes to hang out with my friends” or “If I don’t go to this party or festival everyone will think I’m broke.” Talk about first world problems. This post is in no way meant to make you feel sorry for us but meant for you to know that you aren’t the only one with those thoughts.
For a millennial we have the fortune and displeasure of the access that social media gives you into others lives. The TV show, Rich Kids of Beverly Hills, is literally about following rich children and how they live. You go on Instagram and it seems like everyone is going on vacation, partying and living the high life. You go on Facebook and your friend from college is doing a live stream in the Bahamas. It looks amazing and of course you want to the same thing for yourself, who doesn’t? While we lived in Atlanta it was hard to say no to vacation, going out for dinner and partying at The Compound. Needless to say we did not live below our means and focused on the now instead of the future. That was our Atlanta mindset, we felt the need to keep up with others in our career, networking, living, partying and spending.
Unfortunately there is no right answer here for everybody and running away from the problem is not an option, it needs to be faced head on. There are multiple ways to go about staying the proper mindset and living below your means. Everyone is different and therefore have different tactics. Below I listed a few ways to help get you warmed up.
Get Off Social Media
There is no shame in the game here folks. If you constantly want to do something because you saw it on Facebook or Instagram you need a break from social media. Taking a hiatus from social media accounts will give you time to think for yourself and figure out what you truly want. Clarity.
What may work for us is to give ourselves a 5% entertainment budget of our monthly income. It is the perfect answer because it is guilt free spending money and gives us a safety net before we spend too much. Simple right? Not so much. Yes we will have that financial net to limit spending but it our brains are still wired for wanting to keep up with everyone else. No doubt it will be a challenge to keep our Dallas mindset and still live in Atlanta. It is possible though.
Enjoying life is what it is ultimately about and you shouldn’t feel ashamed for it. It is when non-priorities come before priorities that it becomes a negative. Try to list out your priorities on the 1st of each month. Don’t spend on wants until the main priorities have been taken care of and afterwards the rest of the money can be spent on wants. Make sure you include savings & investing into your priorities. You wouldn’t be reading this blog if it wasn’t important so make it a priority to delegate money to it monthly.
Live Within Your Means
Kevin Hart said it the best here, “the way my bank account is setup…” Stay in your financial lane! If your friends can afford to live in a high rise apartment then that is awesome for them. But just because they can afford doesn’t mean you can. When Queen B came to Dallas we couldn’t afford to be on the floor like others but we still partied with her from above. Always keep in mind that the people you are trying to keep up with will not pay your bills, will not take care of you during retirement and will not always have your best interests. Stay in your financial lane!
Next time you scrolling down your timeline and see all the glitz & glamour of others just remember you aren’t alone. Stay focused on your own goals! My personal saying is “They don’t know my life and they won’t pay my bills.” There is never a need to keep up with the Kardashians, focus on doing on you!
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