Peeking at the neighbors stuff

Consumer Envy vs Debt Discipline

How is it possible my co-workers can live in the same value of a home as me, but then drive a new vehicle, go on vacations and eat out weekly? We have both been at our jobs the same amount of time, make nearly the same salary and work the same amount of hours. I’m confused how I am living paycheck to paycheck and they can have “all of the extras”. What am I doing wrong?

It might not necessarily be you are doing anything wrong. There are usually other factors. You may even be doing some things right!

We Need To Live Later, Too

You might be putting more into your retirement fund than they are. When you are sending a percentage of your paycheck away to save for your retirement fund, this might be more sensible than driving a new vehicle every two years. Just because you and your co-worker have the same pay, are you taking into account what your spouses are earning or the differences in their jobs? They may be supplementing their income in other ways, like selling the things they aren’t using.

Living Within Your Means

Another difference could be that you are living within a Save or Spend Signsbalanced budget, making sure to pay your bills on time, structuring your life to live on only the amount you are bringing home. Others might be living on what they make as well as credit cards. Their credit cards are allowing them to live this lifestyle for this phase of life.


While some homeowners are paying high payments due to a shorter term, others continually re-finance their home to take out the equity. Sometimes when they do this, they extend the term out thirty years again. You might be chipping away at getting your house paid off, while they are eating out on the extra money.

Eating Out

Consider a family who might be eating out several times a week at a sit down restaurant, this could be a family of four eating $10 meals, purchasing drinks and paying a tip. They might be spending $50-$60 on a meal. If this is done 4 weeks a month, this could be $600-$720 a month or $8,640 a year. This might be the difference between how much more you are paying down on your house.

End Game

There is no shame in not taking lavish vacations or driving newer vehicles when you are doing it in the name of properly planning for your future. The game of keeping up with the Joneses could get dangerous. While living “high on the hog” can be fun in the moment, it won’t pay the house off any quicker or get someone to retirement any sooner.

I challenge you to look at your own life and game yourself rather than trying to play the game of keeping up with the Joneses. The Joneses might be your neighbors, a family member or a friend. You should never feel pressured to live the same lifestyle as someone else just because you have children the same age or because you hang out together on the weekends. Take pride and pleasure in securing a good future.

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