Spoiler alert: the reason you’re broke is because you’re trying to be someone you’re not.
By Georgie Koch
It’s hard enough to keep your spending in check when all you’re trying to do is curb your own needs and wants, let alone when you make the dreadful mistake of trying to keep up with the
The modern day reworking of the familiar archetype is built from the 1960’s Joneses. The Jones family had a big house, two cars, a swimming pool, TV and the latest model of vacuum cleaner. And while this time has been called the ‘golden age of advertising’, fast forward sixty-something years and the bar has been raised considerably higher.
Social media raises the bar
With the help of social media and reality shows, unnecessary spending has gone through the roof. We’re now more likely to try and keep up with the uber-wealthy Kardashians than the suburban Joneses. Or trawl the feed of Rich Kids of Instagram or follow any one of a million designer-clad fashion bloggers…
We’re fed a constant stream of images of high-end cars, runway fashions, the latest gadgets and the most lavish getaways, all styled in a way that makes you think, ‘I’ve gotta have that.’
Gens Y and Z feel this pressure more than any other demographic. If you fall for it and you go out and get it, well, that is the real reason you’re broke.
Relentlessly wanting more
It doesn’t help that since the mid-20th century lifestyle inflation has risen exponentially. This is the result of a larger marketplace of products combined with increased levels of advertising and exposure.
But relentlessly wanting more stuff inevitably leads to a constant state of dissatisfaction.
This might be because you buy things you know you can’t afford, leading to panic and intense buyer’s remorse. Or even if you can afford the spend, you’re constantly keeping an eye out for what you need next to be more attractive, interesting or cool. The reason you’re broke is because you’re basically performing your life, not living it.
It’s no joke that this want-buy cycle leads to increased levels of anxiety and depression in consumers, particularly in impressionable Gen Ys.
What everyone needs to remind themselves is, the Joneses are broke and the Kardashians are shallow. And if you look at your friends who seem to ‘have it all’, they are most likely feeling the same pressure and are spending beyond their means also. In fact, even celebrities spend more than they have in an effort to project a certain ‘lifestyle’.
Keeping up with ourselves
According to a Newspoll survey more than two thirds of Australians say they can’t afford everything they buy. And if they’re still buying it, it usually means one thing: credit cards. If you frequent this site I don’t even need to go into how bad that issue is; ain’t nobody got time for that (right now).
So, how do we stop keeping up with the Kardashians and just keep up with ourselves? Well, here’s a start:
1. Stop comparing yourself to others
Truth is, you don’t know what other people’s financial situation is. Even if they look like they’re balling out they may very well be balling on someone else’s budget, namely the bank’s or their even their parent’s.
2. Live within your means
Obvious. Set a budget and no matter how much you earn, you absolutely must spend less if you are going to save anything.
3. Don’t enable yourself
Cancel your credit cards, park your savings in an account not linked to a card, do whatever you can to stop yourself from spending unnecessarily.
You could even take your debit card and stick a piece of paper with a big ‘NO’ written in marker on it. You’ll be too embarrassed to take that out of your wallet anyway.
4. Be happy with where you are and what you have
This is a bit harder as it means changing your mental perspective, but despite the fact that money can buy you some happiness, it doesn’t buy you any permanent joy or peace. Put your time and energy into more fulfilling projects, relationships or hobbies.
We all have our Joneses, some of us even have our Kardashians. It might be your best friend, someone you work with or a Real Housewife of Beverly Hills. But regardless, you’ve got to focus on living your life, not someone else’s. ecause in the end it’s your bank account that’s paying for it, not theirs.