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March 20, 2019

Acting Your Wage: Why Do We Spend More Than We Earn and What Can be Done?

We’ve all heard of “keeping up with the Joneses”… a more modern version would be trying to “keep up with the Kardashians” but trying to keep up with these people will have you sitting in a world of debt if you’re not careful. Have you ever thought of the source of this saying? Who are the Joneses anyway? And what do they have that everyone is trying to keep up with?

As it turns out, this long-running (and still relevant today) saying started as a comic strip titled “Keeping Up With the Joneses.” The comic strip has a storyline following the McGinises, who try to match or “keep up” with the lifestyle of their neighbors, the Joneses.

The irony in the comic strip is that the Joneses are frequently mentioned but never seen. How does it impact us today? Well, in today’s society, we have this undying and unseen pressure to be just as wealthy, just as successful, and just as impressive as the people we surround ourselves with.

This undying and unseen pressure is what leads us to do things we know, financially, are bad decisions… causing us to spend more money than we should… just because we know better doesn’t always mean we’ll do better.

Signs You’re Living Beyond Your Means

For the most part, everybody knows that spending more than you make can lead to financial failure if you continue to do so over extended periods. Even those of us who know this, still continue to overspend.

According to CNN, 47% of Americans would be in a financial bind if they needed to come up with $400 for an unexpected expense. Although you may work hard for the money, that doesn’t mean you have to spend every penny of it. Here are the top 3 signs to tell that you might be living beyond your means.

You Shop Then Regret It Later

How many times have you went shopping and bought something and then soon after you buy it, you feel guilty about buying it? I think everyone has experienced that at some point in the shopping, but that feeling of regret stems from living beyond your means. It’s that feeling of knowing that you could have saved that money or spent it on something more beneficial.

You’re Not Saving Any Money

It’s been advised to save 10% of your check for emergencies or retirement, but if your expenses leave you broke and living paycheck to paycheck, then it’s time you reevaluate your living expenses. There are money-saving tips you can follow that can help you save more each month. It might be hard, but it will all be worth it in the end when you have extra money.

Keep Up With Others That Seem to Be “Doing Well”

This is when “keeping up with the Joneses” effect comes into play. You may have friends that live in luxury apartments with valet trash, granite countertops, and the most modern of fixtures. The worst thing you could do is try to go and live in an apartment similar to that and not have any money to live on after paying your rent and other monthly bills.

What You Can Do

Instead of going “house broke” you can look into renting from income-restricted apartments. There are income-restricted apartments on rent.com that give you all the luxuries and amenities of non-income-restricted apartments all at a more affordable price. And you really don’t know the Joneses… they could be in the same boat as you… they could just be pitting up a good front and be just as “house broke” as anyone else living paycheck to paycheck; they just hide it better!

Low Self-Esteem Leads to Bad Financial Choices

Sometimes we let the glitz and glam of TV, magazines, and especially social media dictate the way we SHOULD feel about ourselves; social media is a major factor. If we don’t have the lip kit from Rhianna or Kylie Jenner, then we’re not pretty enough. Women will find themselves spending money on cosmetic surgeries and all kinds of other unnecessary procedure. The same goes for men. If men don’t wear a particular brand of shoes or watches, then he doesn’t make enough money.

What You Can Do

This might be an absolute abomination, but you could delete your social media account. Studies have actually shown just how much social media had harmed our mental health.

Forbes.com reveals results from a study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology on how your mental state is depending on the amount of time spent on social media. Those who limited their time felt better about themselves. Imagine how much money you could save if you had more self-confidence in yourself.

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