Before Keeping Up With Them, Ask Who Are Your Joneses?

Keeping up with the Joneses.  We’ve all heard it.  We know what it means.  Hopefully we don’t do it.

Keeping Up With The Joneses: Who Are Your Joneses, Anyway?

But, since most people that you start comparing yourself to probably aren’t actually named Jones (though, some might be), I wonder who your Joneses are.  Meaning, who are the people that, when you see them, make you want to ‘keep up’?

For me, I don’t have actual people, but the people who fall into these groups are definitely my triggers.

People who build brand new houses

People who build brand new homes always bring a tweak of jealousy. What about for you? Who are your Joneses?

I remember when my parents went through the process of building a new home back in the late 1980’s.  Although even then I knew that it was a stressful process (I remember more than story of my dad getting into near-shouting matches with the builder), it was fascinating to me to see ideas on paper and a piece of land get transformed into a home, and was something I wanted to do someday.  So far, I haven’t had the opportunity, so when I see people that are going through that process, it definitely strikes a chord.

People who remodel their kitchens

I’ve never had a granite countertop in any place where I’ve lived.  It’s been all laminiate counters for me.  Our home has a decent enough kitchen, but it is a late-1990’s kitchen that was, even then, fitted with the basics.  It’s functional but it’s nothing fancy. Although we’ve replaced the sinks, faucets, and dishwasher, it’s still very much a basic 1990’s kitchen.  Although we have no plans to replace it, I have to admit, when I see the photos on Facebook and such of people that do a kitchen remodel, I ‘want one’!

For me, these are the big groups that bring out the most longing, even if it is fleeting (which it is).  It doesn’t bring out the desire to go out and build a new house or start a new project, but more the thought process of ‘if only….’.  Eventually I realize that we have a great house and, compared to many I’ve seen, our kitchen is just fine.

So, just curious, readers, who are your Joneses, and to what level does it strike you?  How do you go about moving on when your trigger points bring out that feeling?  

25 thoughts on “Before Keeping Up With Them, Ask Who Are Your Joneses?”

  1. I don’t really have a couple that I feel are my “Joneses” either, but I do get a bit jealous of friends and family that travel frequently. I’ve always had a bit of a travel bug, but because my cost of living is pretty high living in Los Angeles, I’ve had to reign in the travel. Also, Mr. LH doesn’t like to travel, so that kind of limits where we go. Instead, we opt for places that are within driving distance and only fly someplace (usually to visit family) once a year or two.

  2. My Jones’ are some of my fellow financial bloggers who have been able to achieve more than I have – higher savings rate, larger rental real estate portfolio, more dividend stocks.

    But it’s a good envy to have – while I cherish and enjoy what I have, it’s good to be reminded of what’s possible, so you can adjust your goals, when it makes sense.

    I’m glad I’ve never been bitten by the consumption bug – wanting to get something “just because.”

  3. Occasionally, I lose sight of the fact that I’m happy with my blog writing and get a stab of “shouldn’t I be doing THAT” when I see bloggers publishing their massive-income reports. And then I remember that I chose not to change my blog so drastically on purpose, because I don’t want to give up the close community feeling I have when I write there.

    Also it’s not quite envy but the FIRE bloggers who are on the cusp of retirement awaken a feeling of “I need to do that too!” I know we’re not there yet for good reasons and that I can plot that course somehow, but I don’t quite see my path yet.

  4. We also have a late 90s style kitchen, but it really was our dream kitchen when we first bought the house – in the late 90s : ) I have heard that if we ever want to sell this place (which at this point, we don’t), we’ll have to have the kitchen re-done, but I don’t have a burning desire to do it. My “Joneses” are the ones who have already reached retirement/financial freedom. I do envy that freedom – in a way that makes me committed to achieving it. There is no material thing that I want more than freedom.

  5. None. I suppose when we were young, I aspired to wealth and class. Having arrived at those…uhm…pinnacles, I found them wanting. And now, the imagined wonders abandoned, am content to find myself back among a more modest and more genuine set.

    Be careful what you wish for. Even a seemingly harmless granite countertop can emit radon. 😉

  6. People who drive sports cars are my Joneses. I continue to drive my 120k Mazda but I sure can get enviously quickly of people in Porsches, BMWs, Audis, etc… and there are an unfortunately larger number of them in my area.

    • That’s an interesting one. I actually had a sports car for a couple of years. In my bachelor days I bought a used Corvette. Having had that for the brief period seemed to ‘scratch that itch’ and now I have no desire.

  7. Love this, MB. It’s so important to figure out those triggers. Since we’ve left suburbia and moved to the country, we’ve found our triggers dwindling away. When we lived in the ‘burbs, we were much more susceptible to others’ purchases. But it wasn’t just the influence of the neighbors that kept us down, instead it was figuring out how to define our own goals that helped us break free from the Joneses.

  8. It is an interesting question. I guess what I envied most when I was working full time was those who could work part time or could retire. I didn’t necessarily want more things, but I desperately wanted freedom to spend my time how I saw fit. After all, money is renewable but time is not.

  9. This is great post mate!

    We have a house which had been built by my grand father in 70’s and still look like a new one. We have a fully furnished garden of old style and all these properties are actually a gift from my grand father. I consider him to be my jonesses.

    I also feel joneses are the people who achieved financial freedom and enjoying their early retirement life.

    Thanks for the post and keep writing great stuff, I’m looking forward to read more articles from you.

  10. My Joneses are those people who post on Facebook about there recent trips abroad and party all the time. I as much as possible stay away from these expenses and sometimes I just unfollow some friends to keep my focus on my goals, or I just don’t log into my Facebook for some time.

  11. I don’t really have any Joneses as far as material things go. I suppose travel bloggers cold be considered my Joneses since I would love to do a lot more traveling.

  12. If we’re talking about houses, my Joneses would have to be the Frugalwoods. I would love to escape to a big house in the middle of the woods with room to have a big garden and some animals. Of course, we would also want to have their investment accounts to support our living expenses.

    • I agree, though they also have more work just to keep up than I could ever imagine. And that baby isn’t going to stay parked on a 3′ x 3′ blanket for very long while Mrs Frugalwoods gets her stuff done 🙂

  13. Hi Money Beagle,

    Fellow bloggers in the industry are much more successful than I am, recently one of my who has become a blogger and started to work on his blog with the help of my assistance is now making seven figures of money in just nine months of his blogging career (It’s an accident).

    Now he is bragging about how he has done it and started to post monthly earnings on his primary blog and his next business model.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences, and I’m looking forward to your response.

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