Keeping up with the Joneses culture

(139 Posts)
Mumoftwo2021 Wed 02-Jun-21 07:28:33

Anyone else feel that social media etc have set impossible standards for our younger generation.

We have become a culture of debt and trying to keep up with the Joneses, all the while destroying our mental health and spiralling further into debt.

Recently I’ve reviewed our finances and decided to stop being sucked into this and sort out our finances out to have some quality of life.

Anyone else taken a U turn in this day and age and refused to try and live up to today’s standards?

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Ritasueandbobtoo9 Wed 02-Jun-21 07:30:19

I have never worried about anyone else’s standards. Just make things nice for yourself.

LemonRoses Wed 02-Jun-21 07:37:40

The Joneses are very LMC.

Mumoftwo2021 Wed 02-Jun-21 07:41:44

Sorry @LemonRoses not sure what LMC means?

@Ritasueandbobtoo9 do you feel happy and content with life? I didn’t realise I was being sucked in but recently realised that my mental health is suffering from not feeling ‘successful’ by measure of materialistic items.

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LemonRoses Wed 02-Jun-21 07:46:05

Lower middle class

SandysMam Wed 02-Jun-21 07:46:36

I agree Op and have also felt the same. I think this affects the 30-40 year olds the most and it can really affect self esteem. Not everyone will get sucked in but I felt myself falling for it a bit and feeling low about myself. I decided not to play. Just to opt out of it. I try to go for stuff I like and is practical for my family rather than fashionable. I couldn’t actually park a huge 4x4 and don’t actually want one for environmental reasons and I realised I was happy with my little car. I love saving my money rather than being in debt or strapped up with finance.
But it can be hard when it feels like everyone else is doing so well and self doubt creeps in about how others will think you are a failure if you don’t have x y z. I think if you are a normal earner and don’t have family money then a lot of these things are out of reach.
I try to think about how some of the stuff I do have is out of reach for many others, and feel lucky and thankful for those things (as simple as a warm safe bed, healthcare for my chronic condition etc). Once you decide to just not keep up with the Jones’ and get off that cycle, it is liberating. So when a friend gets something flash, tell them how gorgeous it is, without jealousy and be pleased for them and completely non competitive. Soon any jealousy will go and you realise you probably didn’t really want that thing anyway!

OneRingToRuleThemAll Wed 02-Jun-21 07:48:32

We took that u turn just this week. We had our flat on the market and was looking to buy a small house. It would have been £1k per month for 30 years. We said no, we can't do this. Took the flat off and decided that our value in life is not measured by what we own or how much we are 'worth'. We live modestly and to our means.

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SandysMam Wed 02-Jun-21 07:52:11

Also Op, distance yourself from friendships where this is an issue. True friends and truly classy people (whatever their financial position) aren’t interested in the car you drive or the house you live in and if you are finding yourself surrounded by these sort of folk, might be time to rethink your social circle.

SavoyCabbage Wed 02-Jun-21 07:55:10

I suppose there has always been an element of this but before social media it was not as in your face as it was before. We weren't constantly exposed to people's nights out or holidays.

I think it helps to realise that nearly all social media photos are absolutely bollocks when you get down to it. I think it helps if you only have people on your social media that you are actually friends with and you actually like. I would never look at a photo on SM of an actual friend and think 'that bitch has gone to the zoo'. I would think 'oh how nice, they've gone to the zoo'.

Having loads of stuff and new clothes all the time doesn't make me as happy as having the security of money does.

Mumoftwo2021 Wed 02-Jun-21 07:56:29

We’ve been killing ourselves financially for a new 4x4 for the last two years & feel stupid we’ve let ourselves be sucked in!
I agree it does feel liberating, I’m due our third child in 9 weeks and make the decision to get rid of our car which we still owe 38k on and get out of debt and start to enjoy life again. I feel so positive about this change.

I agree with the age range , as well as the younger generation are under pressure to earn more and have more from a younger age.

I worry that I’m not the only one who’s trying to maintain this standard and so many other people are spiralling into debt to keep up, it’s so damaging to our mental health.

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FindingMeno Wed 02-Jun-21 08:00:04

I really feel sorry for the younger generation aspiring to influences ideal lives.
It's hard to balance what they're being bombarded with by getting them to understand the reality.
I'm all for a simple lifestyle personally. I don't subscribe to the idea that wealth equals happiness.

Mumoftwo2021 Wed 02-Jun-21 08:03:43

@SavoyCabbage agreed, having lived so frugal for so long without financial security I can’t wait for the feeling of being able to have simple things like a takeaway/meal out.

If I’m honest none of my circle make me feel this way, I think I’ve allowed myself to get sucked into the standards. I’ve only myself to blame and I take full responsibility.
As someone else said it’s about not caring myself.

I had a mental breakdown last year and it’s made me look at everything completely different and reassess our life and situation.

It’s interesting when you look at how things have changed, it used to be the norm to save up for things before buying, today’s era is to credit everything, nothing is out of reach when you can credit it

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MaMaD1990 Wed 02-Jun-21 08:16:49

Whilst I'll always appreciate the things people have (nice cars/homes/clothes/makeup etc) I've never really worried about keeping up with them - like you say, it's completely unachievable for most people. I like saving up for things and buying in dribs and drabs because the gratification feels so much better when it's somewhat delayed. I can't imagine anything more boring than just whipping out a credit card and buying whatever instantly and whenever you like and not having to wait for it. It would feel like you'd constantly be buying stuff without really appreciating any of it.

WildfirePonie Wed 02-Jun-21 08:27:07

No... I just live life within my means and I don't give two hoots about keeping up with anyone.

bertieb7 Wed 02-Jun-21 08:30:47

I totally agree OP. So many of our friends in their 30s are buying fancy cars on expensive finance packages which I cannot understand.
I think it's all about working out what you attach value to and DH and I do not attach value to being able to have a fancy car in the drive (in fact we don't have a drive as live in a flat 😂) or looking good on social media. It is all about experiences (mainly unfancy travel, and tasty food) for us and we value our time over anything.
This book explains it quite well and makes the reader think of the cost of things in terms of time (e.g. would you work an extra 3 months for this new sofa, or two days for this new jacket for example) https://www.amazon.co.uk/Your-Money-Life-Transforming-Relationship-ebook/dp/B0052MD8VO

SandysMam Wed 02-Jun-21 08:33:23

Bless you Op, it sounds like you have had a rough time. Never underestimate the impact self esteem can have on mental health, being materialistic etc can seem shallow but if your self worth is low for other reasons, it can be a way to try to compensate. Soon you get to a point though where whatever you buy will never be enough. Try to find ways to work on your self worth without the need for the endless stream of shit we are flogged!! It’s hard though in today’s culture.

MinorCharacter Wed 02-Jun-21 08:37:23

It’s not a uturn I’ve ever needed to take, as I don’t use FB or Instagram. I don’t really get it.

colouringcrayons Wed 02-Jun-21 08:44:21

Hi, we had a financial shock quite a few years ago and radically overhauled things. Being tight careful helped us get through it.

Our whole economy is built on people spending money on things they don't need so I am not sure where we go as a country, but personally I am happier not being part of it. I don't give a shit what people think I should be doing or buying.

MrsToadlike Wed 02-Jun-21 09:10:54

OP your messages about the 4x4 really struck a chord here. I'm a mum, early 30s, I have a well paying job too, and I had in my head this image of "successful" young mums with good jobs and a happy family driving a 4x4. I didn't know why I felt like that. And then about a year ago I watched The Minimalists documentary on Netlifx, which has some really good stuff in there about the power of advertising. And something clicked in my head - I realised that I'd craved a 4x4 not for the 4 wheel drive capability or the big boot space, but because the images I'd seen both in adverts and also in real-life in supermarket carparks had been of women with their sh*t togther with their 2.4 family in the back of their 4x4. And I'd made a link of "well if I drive one of those I'll have my sh*t together too and my life will look like that".

By the way, for anyone reading this thinking 'toad is bonkers', I totally agree, looking back on it now I realise I was bonkers to subconsciously link the two things. Of course my life won't suddenly improve if I drive a 4x4 confused

It's the power of advertising.

Mumoftwo2021 Wed 02-Jun-21 09:21:57

Sounds like a good watch @MrsToadlike! Will be interesting to see.
I am in my early 30’s too, and your right it’s all clever marketing.
I saw a quote the other day it’s a bit off topic but relevant to today it said
‘I don’t want to learn to love my flaws, I want to know why I was made to feel I had flaws in the first place’

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squashyhat Wed 02-Jun-21 09:22:45

Most of my friends have larger houses than I do. A couple of them have seriously enviable lifestyles (although they don't flaunt them). But they all have issues they are grappling with. They are still working through necessity not choice (we are all 60 or thereabouts and I was lucky to take redundancy/early retirement a couple of years ago) or looking after parents, dealing with other family issues or ill health, or bereavement. They may envy me or not - I have no idea, but nobody's life is pain free. Focus on what you have not what you don't.

Mumoftwo2021 Wed 02-Jun-21 09:23:30

@SandysMam thank you, it’s been a tough year but I think that’s the case for everyone, I wouldn’t change it as I’ve been able to make positives out of the negative situations hence why I can see things more clear and not feel I have to ‘keep up with the joneses’

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Mumoftwo2021 Wed 02-Jun-21 09:26:09

@squashyhat exactly this, there are people I know who have the perceived ‘perfect life’ and they spend so much time working to pay for their lifestyle there really is no quality of life.
I also know people who do the MLM business and advertise you ‘working your own hours, working from anywhere’ however are having to constantly be sat on their phone, not giving attention to relationships, family or their children

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CrumpetyTea Wed 02-Jun-21 09:33:57

I think it is exacerbated a bit by social media but has been around a long time. The whole of advertising is based on creating a lifestyle that people aspire to and this has been around for along time.If it didn't work they wouldn't do it. Things like Hire purchase ,store credit etc have been around for a long time- its not new. Social media is a bit like your kids saying "all my friends have xx"" no other parents make their kids do yy"-

MrsToadlike Wed 02-Jun-21 09:42:51

What's interesting about advertising is its many varied and often discreet guises.

As an example, I went to a fee paying school. I remember the Headmistress telling us that when we were off school premises but still dressed in our uniform we had to behave as though we were in school, because we 'represented' the school. I didn't appreciate it at the time but as I got older I realised that 'represent' meant 'advertise'. We were effectively walking billboards for the school. We were 11.

The psychology behind advertising is fascinating. And it starts being effective at a very young age.

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