I read an article the other day on Dave Ramsey’s site about how Facebook can be a horrible thing for someone who is trying to pay off debt and/or save money.
This article was written specifically for me, I swear. To recap, it basically talks about taking “keeping up with the Jones'” to the next level – the Facebook brag. Because, come on, who doesn’t want to put their awesome new house, new kid or new shoes on Facebook for everyone to like and comment on.
I sometimes struggle with this feeling that people have it all together on Facebook when they are showing pictures of their new $300K home, fantastic vacation or brand new car. I can’t tell you how many times in the past year we would consider ourselves “struggling to get by.” This is when I get the green monster the most… when there is nothing I can do to help our situation and I see our friends having it all.
Now that we are finally in a good place with paying off debt and saving money, I can look back and laugh because those people I envied so much don’t have it all either. They may have a beautiful brand new house, awesome new job or fantastic vacation, but there are things they struggle with too. They just (obviously) aren’t posting THAT stuff on Facebook.
As we get closer to our target date to buy a house, March 2014, I have been looking online at what is on the market and what each area has to offer. I can tell you that we have a teeny tiny budget for the area we are going to live in and that whatever we buy will probably need some work done to be “Facebook” ready. It is again very hard for me to not want a big, beautiful brand-new, custom-built home but I know that is not our reality at this point in our lives. I am working hard to be happy with what we can get!
Here are some tips on how I fight the envy and bring myself back to my own reality. Note: this does NOT include taking a look at my bank account, which will only depress me more!
1. Spend some time on Pinterest and check out what kind of inexpensive renovations can be done in older homes to get your dream kitchens, bathrooms, etc.
2. Look at how close you are to paying off your vehicle and think about what you can do with that extra $350/month!
3. Re-arrange and clean up a room in my own house, putting up new pictures or decorations… something fresh
4. Sort through and take clothes and other unwanted household items to Goodwill. This one seems a little crazy, but clearing out clutter is good for the soul and I always feel better when I am taking things to donate to others.
5. Start a DIY project for Lily. Currently I am working on making an apron for her for Christmas along with a few other DIY gifts for other people. This will make you feel accomplished and happy and fight the urge to spend money!
I have seen many people fall into the Jones’ trap and it ends poorly every time, with bad credit, tons of debt and even shady ways to keep things going. It took me a really long time to come to terms with “living within our means,” but I can finally see the big picture and I look forward to the days where I can say that we put half our paycheck into savings for that “rainy day”… or more likely for that Disney vacation!