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Keeping Up With The Joneses: Why Your Budget Should Not Be Based On Anyone Else's Finances
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Keeping Up With the Joneses: Why Your Budget Should Not Be Based On Anyone Else\'s Finances

We can call them Mr. and Mrs. X but they could be anybody in the world, possibly even people that you know. They are the couple who are never quite satisfied with what they have already, not because they need anything but because other people have them. They are in competition with other couples, even among their own family for who has the best marriage, the smartest children and the best trained dog. Unfortunately for this couple's budget, they are also in competition for who has the best car, the biggest house and the snazziest wrist watch. It is a battle that no one without unlimited funds can win. Correct me if I am wrong but there are very few people with unlimited funds, right?

If that person sounds like a person you know, perhaps someone that you are married to, it might be time to sit them down for a little conversation before their desire to keep up with whoever they are competing with sinks the whole relationship. More than a few marriages have been dashed on the rocks called "can't have it", "can't afford it" and "this is not for you". Instead of looking to others for your goals, shouldn't a marriage be built on looking inward?

Mr. and Mrs. X are in great despair and they are in great danger of sinking simply because Mr. X wants to compete with his brother, his father and everybody else that he knows. He makes a great show of himself at work, buying lunch for everyone when he can barely afford his own lunch for the day. He has refinanced the family car so many times that they could rightly have four of them at the original selling price. He has done this without mentioning it to Mrs. X because he did not want her to worry. He has borrowed and basically stolen money all in the effort to keep up appearances. Heaven forbid he is not able to pull out a twenty to help out a friend or be the one seen as the generous tipper at dinner. His family is suffering but he would not allow anyone outside of his home to know that. In fact, he would rather hide the fact that utilities are being shut off and creditors are hounding him. It will not be long before the phone is shut off and those calls will end completely. And for what?

Don't let your sense of competition get to you. Don't become Mr. X. Live within your means, have realistic and attainable goals for yourself and your marriage and protect the ones that you were sworn to honor.


Street Talk

How I wish more people would read this article and follow this advice. What is often more sad than Mr. X hiding all of this, is when everyone he works with or is friends with already know the truth. They are just waiting for the bottom to fall out. Young people should have classes in such things in high school so they at least have a fighting chance to avoid this mess. However, I have seen people who live their lives this way and when it finally unravels the end results are horrible. Went to school with a girl whose father committed suicide as a result of this behavior. Living beyond your means is one of the worst things you can do. Great article, I truly enjoyed it.

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  about 5 years ago
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