Saturday, September 10, 2011

Stop keeping up with the Joneses. They're broke. -Dave Ramsey

We've spent the last three weeks watching the new neighbors move in. For at least two weeks before they actually occupied the place they were there every day painting and doing who knows what else inside, tearing out bushes everywhere in the yard (the forsythia bush is gone now), putting in new landscaping and slowly moving all their stuff over. I must say that I was envious of all the painting at first. My husband and I have lived in our place for 6 or 7 years now and the only thing we've ever painted was our tiny pea soup green bathroom. I couldn't stand it so it became robins egg blue pretty much first thing. People always say paint is cheap but in my opinion the primer and extra cans you hadn't anticipated buying, the brushes and rollers, trays, drop clothes, prep cleaning supplies... well it adds up fast. It's never been cheap when I've done it. So, we haven't painted. (I really don't count the base paint I put on the foundation of the house a bit back... that was really just maintenance)

It's been weird watching them come and go like worker ants for at least two weeks. We saw the kayak and the canoe arrive. The play houses and outdoor toys. The pop up camper, the weird maybe hunting tent thingy that's laying in the back yard now. Their yard is full of stuff.  My husband's been wanting a Kayak all year. He's pretty jealous of that one. The house has got to be bursting at the seams. It's really quite small. Ok, so the story goes they bought the house on a land contract because they couldn't get a mortgage. Their last house was foreclosed on and it looks like they've been living with relatives until now. We're over here drooling over all the money they're putting into the new place and all the stuff that's showing up on the scene and wondering how you can have SOOO much and spend so much and have lost a home. I guess I really don't need to wonder. Hard times come. My mom was foreclosed on twice. Another close family member lost a home in foreclosure.

I write all of this rather intrusive, judgmental observation to say that even though I want to paint a few things around here I know I don't need to. I need to pay off the debt. Even though I'd love to plant a few new bushes and do a bit of landscaping I know I don't need to. I need to pay off the debt. Even though my husband would love a kayak. We don't need one (he can use his parents) and we need to pay off the debt. It's sooooo easy to look at the world around you, the lives around you, and feel less than adequate. Every time we go to Chicago I feel like a bum in sack clothing. Over 90 percent of the people you pass by are wearing hundreds, HUNDREDS, like 3 and 4 and 5 hundreds of dollars of apparel and accessories. Just seeing them can make one feel defective.

BUT I don't need new things!!! I have the stars, the sunrises and sunsets. Everyday the clouds are new and spectacular. The fields and rolling hills are filled with trees and wildflowers reflecting life and beauty one could NEVER own. My life is full of loved ones, each more of a blessing than I'll ever deserve. When you look at the stuff and my oh my there's SOOOO much of it and think of all the "things" you don't have life can seem so lacking. But the truth reins supreme and declares "you've more already then you'll ever realize, utilize, or fully grasp." I'd like to believe that everything else no matter how glamorous or seemingly necessary is really just clutter. 

My life is already full and new each morning. I DO NOT need to keep up with the Joneses and I really don't want to.


  1. you're right sbout not needing all that stuff, and the 'Joneses' are usually up to their eyeballs in debt.

  2. I don't think I could live with myself having 'toys' like a kayak and a pop up camper but having my home foreclosed on. I'm trying not to judge, but maybe they will see your more simple type of lifestyle and inspire them to get out of debt.

  3. I'm from Chicago and went to school in downtown Chicago for a year. Believe me...I wasn't wearing 300 dollar clothing. :) Sometimes I get the Joneses' envy as well but then I just need to take a look at everything that I have and realize how lucky I am and that I shouldn't take what I have for granted...although when you see that cute purse in the mall it's sometimes hard. :)And those people with the 300 dollar outfits...who knows...they probably have credit card debt just like everyone else. The fact that you are mature enough to realize that instant gratification doesn't come without consequences shows that you are smart with your money. :)

  4. I heard of a couple who both drive BMW X5's and have a huuuuge house but have literally nothing inside it. Literally nothing.

  5. It is best to keep you house in good condition and nice in case you want to later sell. Investing in and general maintenance of your home is not a waste of money.

    1. Thanks for the input. I'm pretty sure that no where in this post did I say that maintenance of your home is a waste of money. The paint on my walls is not peeling (and I won't be selling my home anytime soon). We'll be fixing "some" of our outside blemishes when this years tax return comes. But in the meantime paying off our debt is considerably more important than things we wish we had... but don't need.