In today’s social media-driven society so many details of personal lives are only a click away. Our primary form of communication or interactions with each other are via tweets, Instagram posts, and Facebook status updates. Often trying to keep up and motivated by the number of followers and likes, we begin to put our lives on display as a status symbol.
Showing off our red bottoms, newest designer bag, or our lavish evening out, has become the norm. To outdo our “frenemies,” we have begun to consume conspicuously, caring more about our standard of living concerning our peers than our well-being. At what point we stop trying to keep up and just start living for ourselves?
“Keeping up” isn’t what it used to be. Today, we are all trying to be the envy of all our friends and people we don’t even know. You can appreciate admiring those who may “seem” to have it all, but you have to understand there is a fine line between admiration and emulation.
The pursuit of a lavish lifestyle and expensive material things can be to your financial detriment. You must stop trying to keep up with the Joneses, the Kardashians, or even whoever, and realize that it is not a race and make the financial choices that are right for you.
Learn to Say “I Can’t”
A friend of mine recently went on a lavish trip to celebrate her best friend’s birthday, for the sake of the post, we’ll call her Sally. The birthday girl is financially well off and planned many expensive dinners and excursions during the trip. Sally found it hard to participate in the festivities, knowing she was going to return home in debt.
Instead of opting out of a few activities or declining the trip altogether, Sally went along and is still trying to recover from the adventure. It’s hard to say no when a loved one is involved, but you have to learn to say “I can’t” and be honest. Your friends and family will understand and shouldn’t hold it against you.
Curb your Shopping
These days we get so caught up with trying to buy the latest and greatest when most of the time we don’t even need, nor can afford it. I love designer shoes just like the next girl, but I refuse to let my indulgences get in the way of my financial freedom. Stop trying to “impress” and start thinking about how spending is affecting your life. By taking a look at the big picture and mapping out your path, you will put yourself in far better position for the future.
“Living within your means is what’s important!”
Take a financial snapshot. Are your credit card balances higher than they were the month before? Has your saving increased? Are you making contributions to your retirement account? If you answered no to any of these questions, then it is time to make a change. What you should be doing is setting achievable goals to ensure success. This principle should apply to every aspect of your financial and professional life.
Make A Plan You Can Stick To
To get out of debt, the key is setting a realistic time frame for paying off your bills. Don’t just say that you will be debt free next year when that may not be financially possible. All you are doing is setting yourself up for failure. Look at your current spending and income to help set a solid plan for the future. Even if your lifestyle isn’t very lavish, your day to day purchases can be the Reason You Are Still Broke. Be realistic with your savings plan too; being overly aggressive with a savings goal can discourage progress. Try Digit, a free service that automates your savings plan to help you reach your goals.
Your financial progress may not be the only thing you are trying to keep up with. You must be reasonable when setting career goals as well. We may have an idea of where we want to be in life, but don’t adequately prepare ourselves to get there. Map out where you want to be in 6 months, one year and five years from now. It can be easier to plan for the future when you set milestones for your goals.
The key is to check your progress and then make adjustments if need be to keep yourself on track. If additional education or training is needed to reach your goal, start researching and planning it out now. This preparation will help you be more realistic with your time frame. If you need help planning, talk career advisor Jill Ozovek, her personal consulting can help you map out your future.
“Inspire for greatness and stay true to yourself!”
Surround Yourself With True Friends
A final element for setting your pace for success, surround yourself with like-minded people who help nurture your goals. Friends who encourage you to spend when you don’t have the money or ostracize you for not flossing the hottest items are only going to hold you back from your full potential. Financial discussions can be difficult to have, but they are important if you feel you’re living beyond your means. As a collective, you all can stop trying to keep up and pave your road to happiness.
Have you ever been “trying to keep up”, what got you back on track?
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