7 Reasons I Hate the Joneses

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I hate the Joneses! It sounds judgmental but there are many reasons why we should not work to attain what they have - as it likely comes from debt!

Whether we like to admit it or not, we have all at one time or another attempted to keep up with the Joneses. It could be as complex as buying a house in a certain fancy neighborhood or as simple as eating out at a gourmet restaurant when you can’t afford it, just so you can hang out with your friends. It’s peer pressure at its finest, but it really all comes from pressuring ourselves with the need to fit in, which is the same pressure we’ve felt since we were teenagers.

Instead, quit comparing yourself to others and ask yourself why you want the things you think you want. Why do you really want a brand new car? Why do you want that Michael Kors purse or those Frye boots? (I’m guilty on both charges.) We want them because we see that other people have them, and we lust after them until we get them.

The next time you start to feel this pressure (and it may take some practice before you can recognize it coming), remind yourself why you’re not going to be that person. (Because we’re all better than that!)

Here are 7 reasons I hate the Joneses


1. They drive around like a boss (probably to go to the mall) in their leased, luxury vehicles. The neighbor bought a new car, so now we want a new car. Wouldn’t we feel so much better if we had heated seats and a sunroof, too??

2. They don’t actually own what they have. Their designer clothing is financed on maxed out credit cards, their cars belong to the dealership that leased them, and their houses are over-mortgaged, leaving them underwater. The riches they have are financed by a payment mentality. Doesn’t sound very appealing after all, does it?

3. When they get a hefty tax refund, rather than paying down some debt or saving it, they start planning their next overseas vacation or decide it’s time to upgrade that 2 year-old car. You know it’s time to go to the dealership to trade it in when that new car smell is gone and you’re out of windshield-washer fluid.

4. They have no clue what “IRA” stands for. Retirement savings, what’s that? Online brokerage account? Don’t know, don’t care. Why bother to save for tomorrow when you can spend it all now, am I right?

5. ‘Shop til you drop’ is their favorite motto. It’s the weekend. It’s beautiful and sunny out. Let’s go on a picnic. Hiking. To a park. Shopping! After all, what’s a Saturday without shopping?

6. They frequent hair and nail salons, jewelry stores, and tanning studios. We all want to look our best. That’s why it’s important to look as fake good as possible with overly-dyed hair, whitened teeth, gel nails and spray tans.

7. We continually feel the urge to follow in their footsteps. Sometimes it’s hard to determine why we do it, but we have all fallen into the trap of chasing after the Joneses more than we’d care to admit. I’ve done it and you’ve done it, and there will be times when even the best of us will succumb to its temptations.



Why do we chase these people? Rather than trying to keep up with these people, we should feel sorry for them. Don’t let them fool you into thinking they have it all (they don’t). They’re not as rich as we think they are.

Rather than focusing so much on conspicuous consumption, we should be living our own lives the way we really want to live them – and leave our hard earned money in our bank account. We should stop trying so hard to be people we aren’t, and just be the people we’re supposed to be.

People who don’t care how old our cars are (as long as they’re paid for), people who don’t care what labels are hanging in our closets, and people who don’t measure our self-worth by the amount of things stuffed in our houses.

I hope the new year is full of good things for you (and I’m not talking about the things you can buy in a store.) 😉 Happy 2016!


What was your last keeping up with the Joneses moment? Do you ever catch yourself drooling over things your neighbors have? What’s one area of life you’re tempted to keep up with the Joneses on?

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Robin McDaniel

Robin is a freelance writer who chronicles her financial missteps and victories on her blog


  • Thias @It Pays Dividends says:

    I have been trying more and more to not let the actions/purchases of the people around me affect what I am doing with my life. It is always hard to not stop and be a bit tempted when you see the people around you buying new things but luckily my wife and I have realized that it isn’t purchasing things that gives us fulfillment in life. That idea helps keep us grounded. Happy New Year Robin! Wishing you the best in 2016.

    • Robin McDaniel says:

      I agree, Thias. It’s so much easier said than done!
      Maybe we’ll both get better about it in 2016. Here’s hoping! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Happy New Year!

  • Emily @ JohnJaneDoe says:

    Sometimes I want stuff (like when my in-laws got me to go look at super fancy houses during the local Parade of Homes), sometimes I’m content to just chug along (Geez, how do you even clean a house that big?)

    One area I get really jealous of others is when I hear about fancy trips and travel. I’d love to travel more, but I have a homebody hubby and it would be difficult to manage even if I was willing to spend more money on more travel.

    Focusing on what’s good in my life (and avoiding too much HGTV) helps keep life in perspective.

    Happy New Year to You.

    • Robin McDaniel says:

      I’ve never gone to one of those tour of houses, but they are an interesting concept now that you’ve reminded me of them. Is it just a show-off kind of thing, disguised as a “fun tour?”

      And I’m with you on the travel jealousy. I want to travel overseas so badly, but I haven’t reached that point with our budget yet. I do get jealous when I hear of my friends going on foreign trips. (Glad I’m not the only one!)

      • Emily @ JohnJaneDoe says:

        Robin, the tours in this area are mainly for the builders to show off their designs and sell houses (either the one being shown or those in the same development.) Most of the houses are staged but unsold, or sold but not yet occupied. Some are relatively modest, but my inlaws like to tour the outrageous 7 figure houses.

        It is fun to gawk and fantasize about wine cellars, walk in closets the size of my bedroom and kitchens larger than most convenience stores, but it does tend to temporarily reduce my satisfaction with my 1960s ranch house.

  • Kathy says:

    I hope some of your points were meant to be sarcastic because to me it seemed pretty snarky While you might be right that some people are this way, I’d attribute these points to Jones wannabes rather than the Joneses themselves. My name might not be Jones, but my husband and I are building a custom home in a fancy neighborhood …..for cash. We drive a Lexus which was paid for…..with cash. While I don’t have a lot of fancy labels in my closet, I do carry a Michael Kors, Coach, Modalu etc. handbags; but I carry them for years. One Coach I have is well over 20 years old. We are both retired on pension and social security but we also have IRAs that were fully funded when we were working. Our most exotic vacations have been to Alaska, oh, and Canada. And we rarely get a tax refund but when we do it goes directly into our brokerage account, unless it is just a couple hundred dollars. We eat out maybe once a week except for breakfast which is twice if we are lucky. And shopping? Forget about it. This post was I’m sure, trying t convince people to live their own life and not worry about what others do because you can’t know their individual situations. However you are making assumptions you can’t know is true, unless the people about which you are complaining have confessed these sins to you themselves. Just my two cents worth.

    • Robin McDaniel says:

      Hi Kathy,

      I apologize that you found my article to be offensive. It wasn’t meant that way at all.

      I have actually been taking a long hard look lately at the reasons I want certain things, like the Frye boots and Michael Kors purse I bought in 2014. I chose those two examples because I own them myself, so the only person I’m making fun of for owning those things is me.

      I thought it would be fun to write a completely tongue-in-cheek article for my last 2015 post with a message at the end. I’m not pointing out anyone in particular, but rather trying to encourage everyone, myself included, to rethink why we are buying what we are buying.

      Again, I’m sorry that you didn’t like it. I truly meant for it to be a fun post.

      • Kathy says:

        Hi Robin, I did wonder about whether or not you meant the post to b e tongue in cheek, that’s why I mentioned the sarcasm in my first line. I wasn’t exactly offended…..more like surprised, because I’d not ever noticed that tone on this site before. At any rate, all is well and here’s hoping you have a happy and wildly successful new year.

      • Christine says:

        Re: the Frye boots… I have 3 pairs that I’ve had for at least 10 years, and they still look fantastic. Some things are worth paying a bit more for because they last forever. I have a number of Coach bags that I’ve had for 10+ years as well. Sometimes you get what you pay for! As for the other stuff, well… I drive a 12-year old car, live in the least-expensive old house in a good neighborhood/school district, and I shop for most of my clothes at thrift stores. Oh, and the Frye boots and Coach bags? Consignment stores and outlets! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Neville Bendiola says:

    I too hate the Joneses! I try my best to make sure I ask “why” when purchasing anything! Including that cup of coffee from Starbucks. Why do I when I have a coffee maker at home. Makes no sense, totally brain washed to think that I need that cup! So I am in a predicament, my car is a 2005 Mazda3 and it is at 200k, paid off, and needs some repairs that may be the same price as its value. I think it’s time to buy a new used car. I can pay a car in full, but I really want a convertible sporty two door. I feel I earned it, but may need to finance a small amount. Should I feel guilty? Or should I pay a car in full that I won’t be really happy with for the next 10 years. Decisions, decisions.

    • Robin McDaniel says:

      Here’s my two cents: a car won’t make you happy, so go with something you can pay for in cash that is reliable enough to last you the next ten years. A new car always loses its luster after a few months anyway, and it’ll be that much harder to go back to a “normal” car once you’ve gotten something fancy. That’s the way I look at it! Good luck! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Financial Samurai says:

    Robin, I actually think there is MORE wealth than you and I can really imagine! A lot more people actually do have a lot more money, b/c it is all about Stealth Wealth. There’s huge parental assistance/generation money, lots of people are making side hustle money, and it’s been a bull market in the stock market for the past 7 years.

    Don’t underestimate people’s wealth! HNY.


    • Robin McDaniel says:

      The main point, though, is that you can’t tell if a person is wealthy or not based on the house they live in, the car they drive, or the brand of boots on their feet. It can all be financed, so it can all be misleading to others.

  • Nicole says:

    Whenever I start feeling envious of what someone has, I think of your point # 2 (they don’t actually own what they have). Even if it’s not the case, it works to stop me from wanting to have the same. Then I think of the comfortable retirement I’ll have thanks to not over extending myself and I feel good. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Robin McDaniel says:

      I’m with you– if I’m choosing between financing a fancy lifestyle versus retiring early, I know which road I’m picking!

  • Mark@BareBudgetGuy says:

    Furniture! But that only lasts a few seconds when I realize that my kids would destroy it anyway. Then I feel happy ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Robin McDaniel says:

      Haha, so true! Here’s the secret: microfiber couches. They clean up so easily. My 4 year old once spilled prune juice on ours. Cleaned up like a charm!

  • Syed says:

    Ha hate is a strong word but it may be appropriate when it comes to the Joneses. The other thing I’ve noticed from overspenders is that any opposition to their indulgent ways is met very defensively. Like their way is the only way and that’s how it is. How exhausting.

  • Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank says:

    They don’t know what “IRA” stands for is what caught my attention. Probably, this is true. That’s why I am starting to stay away from the joneses because they kinda don’t mind what future they’d have. Nice post Robin.

  • Hannah says:

    I don’t hate the Joneses, but I hate the concept of the Joneses.

    If truly wealthy people want to spend their wealth on things that they value (such as country club memberships, nice cars, etc.) then good for them, it’s when we’re caught comparing that we become dissatisfied with our lives and start making stupid decisions.

  • Kristi @ Femme Frugality says:

    I grew up in a higher tax bracket than I currently live in, and it took me a long time to let go of keeping up with the Joneses. I still struggle with it from time to time, but for the most part, I am happy with where I am and what we’re working towards. Fancy cars, homes, and jewelry will never be important to me, and that’s ok. My goal of living on a self-sustaining homestead gets me some weird looks from my former circle of friends, but that’s ok too.

    • Robin McDaniel says:

      At least you are self-aware enough to realize what was happening and that it was time to stop trying to keep up. That takes a lot right there.

  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach says:

    Since I started working full time again, I’m surrounded by girls who are pretty fashionable, and I feel that urge creeping in. But just have to remember, “who am I trying to impress?”

    • Robin McDaniel says:

      That’s tough, but try to impress no one! Just stop caring. Those are the easiest people to be around anyway– the ones who don’t care what others think. I wish I could be more like that sometimes.

  • Tre says:

    I have to admit that I am sometimes jealous of the vacations. Maybe one day I’ll be able to leave frozen New England mid-winter and spend a week on the beach ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Robin McDaniel says:

      Vacation envy is a big one for me, too, but I just try to remind myself that my time is coming with that. I’m still making lists of all the places I want to go. (It’s getting huge!)

  • Ramona says:

    I’m clearly getting older and not caring about this anymore. Yes, I did want to keep up with the Joneses (got into a car loan since everybody had a car), but now I just mind my own business. I’m doing way better financially and have no stress at all ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Cara @ Fashionably Frugal says:

    Rather than hating these people, I always feel myself pitying them. I work with a bunch of “Jones'” and all I get to hear about is them complain about their house, car, and or vacation; how much they cost, how they weren’t what they expected, etc.
    Rather than spending money on stuff, I have committed myself to spend time on things. Time with my kids, time in the garden growing things rather than shopping for them, and time working on fix-it-upper projects rather than buying new. It’s so much more rewarding to have a $15 chair that you re-did yourself and it’s one of a kind, rather than a $500 store bought chair that everyone has in their house.
    Thank you for sharing these, they are a great reminder that those people aren’t always what they seem.

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