Do you feel like you always have to one-up your friends, colleagues, and neighbors when it comes to having nice things? Stop that, you’re digging a hole.
Many people are competitive and that can take many forms, including always having to one-up those around you with something bigger and better (and more expensive).
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Marketing has a lot to do with this. There aren’t ugly people in commercials for a reason. If you use Product X, you’ll be smarter, sexier, richer etc. But most of us are bigger than our more base instincts. We all know how marketing works and why it works.
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What can be harder to combat is jealousy. Your neighbor brings home a brand new BMW. Why should he have one and not you? Guy’s a douche. So now you want a new BMW. But you are not five years old. Just because someone has a shiny toy doesn’t mean you have to have a shiny toy too. And all you know about the guy is that he’s a douche with a BMW. He might be mortgaged to the hilt and working a job he hates to pay for it all.
There can be a flip side too. Maybe you have a friend who is smart with their money and isn’t afraid to discuss it, to let you know what they do and what they may have done wrong in the past. You can be influenced by this kind of peer pressure too. I know this works because I’ve done it with a few of my friends.
Sometimes you have to say no when you’d rather say yes. If a group wants to go to a restaurant you really can’t afford, no one will remember that you begged off. They won’t discuss the reason you said no while they’re all at dinner. You said no, maybe didn’t even give a reason and it’s fine. Your friends won’t be mad at you and you won’t be mad at yourself for spending money you shouldn’t have.
Ok, colleagues, friends and neighbors are one thing, but what about your partner? You have to always be communicating about money and the issues surrounding it. You should know what the other person values and what matters less.
It’s not easy to block out all of the things that signal us to spend money but if you’re aware of their affect on you, it’s easier to ignore.
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