4 Ways Keeping Up with the Joneses Hurts Your Budget

4 Ways Keeping Up with the Joneses Hurts Your Budget

If you thought peer pressure ended once you graduated from high school, you are wrong. Peer pressure is around us every day in the guise of keeping up with the Joneses.

It exists at work, where you may have a snobby coworker who brags about her new car or the hundredth new shirt she just bought but doesn’t even need.

But, the pressure to measure up and keep up with the Joneses doesn’t end there either.  It’s also present among family members and friends who try to impress and outdo you every time the family gets together.

Unfortunately all of this pressure can wreak havoc in your life if you aren’t careful. In fact, there are lots of ways keeping up with the Joneses can hurt your budget. Here’s how.

1. Makes You Spend More

There are a lot of reasons you may try to keep up with the Joneses.

One is because you may feel the need to fit in with your family, coworkers, or friends. Another is to avoid being ridiculed by others. A third reason could simply be your base competitive nature to “beat” someone else.

None of the reasons really matter. The bottom line is that any one of these reasons could be what’s making you spend more than you should and go over your budget.

2. Puts You in Debt

The truth about keeping up with the Joneses is that it does hurt your budget by putting you into debt. According to Dave Ramsey, 7 out of 10 families are living paycheck to paycheck. He had it right when he went on to say that, “It’s easy to look like you have more than you do. That’s what credit lures us into.”

Keeping up with the Joneses hurts your overall budget by creating the illusion of wealth and success. In reality what you are creating is debt. Don’t let the obsession to keep up create such an enormous amount of debt you will never get out from beneath it.

3. Lowers Your Credit Score

By spending more than you should and adding to your debt you may be lowering your credit score. This is one way the pressure to keep up with the Joneses impacts your future purchases.

You may wonder why this is important if the goal of this article is to open your eyes and get you to spend less. But the truth is, your  credit score can have a huge impact on your life. It can affect you getting a home loan, or even a job.

Suddenly that credit score you’ve been ignoring becomes very important.

4. Delays or Ruins Retirement

Another way keeping up with the Jones hurts your budget is by delaying or ruining your retirement.

When you try to keep up with the Joneses over the years, you may be budgeting less for retirement each month if you are investing anything at all. Instant gratification in order to keep up appearances isn’t worth throwing away your future retirement income.

Pressure to keep up with the Joneses is around us every day. But if you cut back on spending and ignore peer pressure you can keep it from ruining your budget and your future.

Have you ever tried to keep up with the Joneses? How did it hurt your budget?

Written By
Sydney White is a Texas-born stay at home mom who enjoys spending time with her family, bargain hunting and, of course, writing. She is currently the editor-in-chief of Snipon.com.


  1. Well, years ago I was pretty sensitive to how I ‘appeared’ to others. I was actually not doing too well financially, so maybe that’s where the need to impress came from. Now, that we’re doing OK money-wise, I don’t like to flaunt our earnings or lifestyle. And I really don’t care about how much others make or have either. I’m just content with our lives and try to provide for our daughter.

    1. I actually agree with you on that! The less financially secure you are, the harder you try to “keep up” and “impress” others with your spending. At least, that’s how it was for me too. Nowadays, I have more income, less debt, and more savings, but I care less about spending to impress others. When I do spend, it’s because I want or need it, not because I think I have to have it to impress someone else.

  2. I was very fortunate to have a coworker loan me “The Millionaire Next Door” early in my career. It taught me how to spot and avoid lifestyle inflation and I think I’ve been able to avoid some of the bigger pitfalls due to it!

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