Mr. Jones here — your well-to-do, mysterious resident up the street that you’re always trying to outdo as I purchase the next best thing, causing you to wonder how I support my awesome lifestyle while simultaneously burying you in an avalanche of debt. Recently, you’ve probably noticed that I have been downsizing. You’re probably thinking, to your satisfaction, that I must have finally hit on hard times so that you no longer feel stressed to fit in with our social and economic standards.
Well, that’s right. I have been downsizing lately. I traded in one of our fancy cars for a beater, and the other is aging and accumulating the miles. You haven’t seen deliveries for a while to fill up another new addition to Jones Manor. In fact, I’ll be selling my house soon to downsize that, too. (Hey! I’ll sell it to you FSBO if you’re jonesing to be the next neighborhood icon!) We’ll also be holding a massive garage sale to unload a lot of the items you’ve seen us receive and enjoy over the years: Our artwork collection and jewelry, all of the expensive gadgets that are updated every 6 months, and everything from my home theatre must go. I’ve also canceled my country-club membership and I won’t be traveling the world again next year.
So relax! You no longer have to sustain an appearance of equality to my lifestyle to maintain a sense of personal fulfillment!
So what happened? Have I finally lost the battle against you, my neighborly contestants stumbling along with me on the path to lifestyle creep?
Sorry, but no. I’ve merely seen the light regarding my extravagant spending and have found a new and better way for you to struggle to keep up with us. I have given you a head-fake by reducing my spending and am now going in a different direction. And, to be honest, there are many who are ahead of me at this new game. In fact, they’re the ones who have helped to redirect my focus. You see, I’ve been irresponsible all this time by staying five steps ahead of you with my continual buying spree. I haven’t really been winning like you thought. But now, I’ll truly be one-upping you as I divest of my impressive possessions to which I’ve become imprisoned and begin to live the frugal lifestyle on the road to Financial Freedom!
As of today, I throw down the gauntlet to keep up with my newfound frugal ways. Going forward, keeping up with the Joneses means you’ll need to tame your out-of-control spending habits and become financially literate. You’ll need to Live Below Your Means (LBYM) and sacrifice for the betterment of yourself and others. Good luck to you in our redirected competition — I’m already five steps ahead of you … AGAIN!!
Regards, your most frugal neighbor,
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