I was going to start out this post with “who the hell are the Jonese anyway?” My thought was that we that we spend a lot of time and money trying to impress people we don’t even know, however, while that may apply to all of the parents I see out there driving fancy cars and whose kids have the best clothes and toys I think that we all have that one person/family/ couple/ or group that has triggered the need to keep up. My husband and I took the dog for a walk this morning and as we were discussing our current situation and reflecting how we ended up here…it finally occurred to me…. I know exactly who the “Joneses” are for us and not only are they neighbors they are family.
Mr. and Mrs. Jones
I have a family member “Mrs. Jones” who I have looked up to my whole life and who has one of those life styles that gets thrown in your face whether you have asked for it or not (one of the downsides to Facebook). Mr. and Mrs. Jones and their children live in a very nice house, go on super awesome vacations, buy really nice cars, they have motorcycles, and even bought a boat (we don’t live by water). Looking in from the outside I guess that I have always felt that my meager earnings and lifestyle were not “good enough” to fit in and that I somehow needed to show that Travis and I could afford all of those things too.
Because Mrs. Jones is a close family member I look up to, I can see where I started to take on that image of a life style that I thought I wanted. The only problem is, now that we are adults (I will use that term loosely lol) I can see now that just because they have all of these nice things doesn’t mean that they are A) Happy or B) wealthy….at all…I mean not even a little bit. I was having a conversation with Mrs. Jones not too long ago and she was complaining about how tired and frustrated she was over all of the bills. As it turns out the Joneses are living paycheck to paycheck too and are robbing Peter to pay Paul to keep up this lavish lifestyle that they have become accustom to. Mrs. Jones even told me that if Mr. Jones ever lost his job that they would lose everything. What the hell!!?? These were the very same people that we were modeling our lives after. ***insert gut check***
I think that this was probably one of the most valuable lessons that I have ever learned, and ironically it has been preached to me my whole life…” Never judge a book by its cover”. Unfortunately Mrs. Jones is not willing to take any advice or admit that there could be a different way, she is unwilling to stop the spending and unwilling to get a second job because “she doesn’t want to give up her weekends” gimme a break! No one wants to give up their weekends! I sure as shit don’t but I also don’t want to be drowning in debt for the rest of my life!
What an Askhole…..
Mrs. Joneses is what we call and Askhole….You know who they are….they are the people who constantly ask for advice but never listen to any of it. I feel like ever since she has caught on to what Travis and I are trying to accomplish she calls me up asking for advice, but is unwilling to change any part of her life to help herself out, I will also point out that Mr. Jones feels the same way that she does. She is constantly giving me a hard time for working so much and gets really upset when I decline going out to the bars on the weekends because we are trying to pay off debt. Mr. Jones has even mentioned to me that people are supposed to have debt, yeah that’s great but I don’t want to be one of those people…we don’t want to be those people! We want to teach our kids how not to make the same mistake that we have made and how to respect money and stay away from debt.
The cost of keeping up
As we reflected we realized that the cost of trying to keep up the “the Jonese” was pretty catastrophic to our family. Not only did it bring us to nearly $230,000 in debt, it cost us a lot of time that we will never get back, and it will continue to cost us for the foreseeable future until we get this debt paid off.
Now, I want to make it clear….the decision to spend money and get into debt was ours and ours alone. I am not blaming “the Joneses” for anything and trust me there are many more “Jonese” out there, but it is definitely a perfect example of trying to live someone else’s life and very important life lesson scenario that we will be able to teach our children about not worrying what other people think.
P.S. Would you believe that the Joneses have stopped calling and stopped wanting to hanging out with us? I guess that we really don’t live up to their standards, but you know what? I’m ok with that J