BLOG – We’re all spending to keep up with people who are not worth keeping up with (2 minute read)

Some of my friends spend to keep up with Mary and Tom. Mary and Tom have everything. The McMansion with a resort style swimming pool, two high-end 4WD’s, a luxury camper trailer, a beach house up the coast and regular overseas skiing holidays.

Mary and Tom’s possessions trigger my friends to feel inadequate, inferior, insecure and deprived. Reality is, Mary and Tom are unhappy. They’re separating and getting a divorce.

We live in a world where we’re never satisfied. We’re constantly buying and spending. We all want more.

  • We get a 3 bedroom house and 6 months later we’re at the bank lying about our living expenses so that we can get a mortgage for a 4 bedroom house.
  • We holiday at a 4 star hotel and spend the whole time wishing we were at the 5 star resort down the road.
  • We get a 2% pay rise, but we want 5%.
  • We spend hours, months and years on Tinder when the kindest, funniest single person we know lives in the house next door.

I asked men and women in Australia, the UK and the USA what they thought would be the biggest challenge they would face if they had to quit shopping for three months. They said that ‘making do’. – Making do with what they already have and own.

So what can we do?

  1. Let’s not compare. The unhappiest people I know are comparing, judging, evaluating and analysing how other people are spending their money.
  2. Let’s switch off the TV. Apparently we see 5,000 advertisements every day telling us to buy. Some studies indicate that American corporations spend US$50 billion every year on television advertisements to convince us to shop and buy.
  3. Let’s be grateful for what we’ve got. My mum gave me a little leather notebook for Christmas and I made this into a gratitude diary. I soon discovered it was the little things that I was most grateful for.

We’re all spending to keep up with people who are not worth keeping up with. But, as Gertrude Stein says, “Whenever you get there, there is no there, there”.

Until next time…