Keeping up with the Joneses

In a highly pressurized world we live in, the popular catchphrase "Keeping up with the Joneses" can have a devastating effect especially for the economically disadvantaged members of the society. Indeed when one's lifestyle is compromised because the "benchmark" status of successful living tends to be a comparison of what my friends or neighbors have that I also need to have, the dosage of stress and unhappiness increases by tenfold.

The catch phrase "keeping up with the Joneses" was popularized and has become a household expression when cartoonist, Arthur R. Monand created a comic strip with the same title in 1916. The comic strip was published in the New York World and ran in American newpapers for 28 years. Soon after, the catch phrase has been adopted as titles in books, films and even musical comedies.

Eighty-four years on and "keeping up with the Joneses" continue tobe a part of someone's dictum in life. Realising this, an idea came to mind to challenge this popular saying and instead of "keep up", why don't people try to "out smart" the Joneses.

One may ask how this can be done and if it's workable? I think so. Be the judge as you read along.

Ways to outsmart the Joneses:

1. Domestic Living:

Often to be at par with the Joneses, brand names of electrical whitegoods, cars and other household items conspicuous to the naked eye must be in the same league. But have you considered changing the mind set for items that the Joneses would not pay attention to but can save you heaps of money. With a bit of creativity you may consider the following:

  • Buy laundry or dishwashing liquid and even tomato sauce with generic brands. Once you fill the existing empty containers, no one will know that what you have got is a "no name" brand.
  • Be a "sales, sales, sales" and heavily reduced item buyer. Time strategy is a good key of success.
  • Consider going factory direct when purchasing a home item of your choice.
  • Being a handyman would always come in handy. An option one should not miss. If you can create your own masterpiece and save tons of money, go for it.

2. Professional/Personal Living:

The status of "keeping up with the Joneses" in the professional world or personal life tends to be a dilemma more to women than men. Moreso, when it comes to fashion and design. The constant question of "what am I going to wear tomorrow" haunts a lot of women who want to keep up with their colleagues. Or even the question of how much my friend has spent on her wedding can be trouble some for others. It is a timely perspective to reflect that people come to work to do the work and happiness cannot be bought by money.

  • Some fashion designs created by Gucci, Chanel, or FCUK can also be found with a similar style but cheaper cost in affordable shops. Stella McCartney's fashion designs are now being made available at Target stores.
  • Not all that blings is real. Try to wear accesories with the make-believe feeling of a million dollar's worth.
  • Why buy when there are shops that rent it out? Not a bad idea when fashion changes as quickly as you can discover.
  • Have you considered the Opshop?

So is there a remedy? Definitely!

All of the above suggestions when taken to heart can really outsmart the Joneses but only if you try.