How to Stay Broke by Keeping Up with the Joneses

I’m not exactly sure who the Joneses are, but we all know what they have- the latest and greatest smart phone, luxury car, and designer clothes.  Are you always trying to keep up with the Joneses?  Well you can stop now because they’re broke!

I think most people get that desire inside periodically to have the next greatest thing.  I know I always did as a kid.  I wanted the new bike, latest video game console, or MP3 player.  Instead of investing in my future, I invested in what I wanted now even though it would be outdated within six months. 

I want to share a few ways with you on how Haley and I are saving money by not keeping up with the Joneses:

  • Smart Phones

It’s tempting to want the newest smart phone when it comes out.  Conveniently, they come out at least once a year to keep you coming back for the new features.  I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have a good quality smart phone, because you should have what suits your needs.  What I am saying is that you shouldn’t buy a new one every year just because your friends have it.  In my opinion, smart phones have not really changed too much since they came out over a decade ago.  Whether you have a phone that came out this year or two years ago, you’ll still be able to text, browse the Web, and call (if you still do that).  A phone is just a tool, and it will not dramatically change your life if you don’t have the latest model the week it comes out. We usually keep our same model around 2-3 years and then get a model back or two once we do upgrade.

  • Living Expenses

Haley and I have lived in a couple of different apartments since we got married in 2015.  We thought about moving last summer because we were extremely close to being debt free. We figured that we “had room in the budget to upgrade” from our built-in-2005 townhouse to a brand new one. We even toured a few of the brand new apartments in our neighborhood!  We looked at one specifically that had about 100 square feet more with newer appliances and décor- and it was $600 more A MONTH than we were currently paying!  I will be completely honest with you- it was sincerely tempting for a little bit and we really did contemplate it. However we calculated that “upgrade” would cost us $7,200 extra just in rent a year. So since we’re only paying rent right now and not building equity, we decided to skip the extra frills and put that $7,200 towards the down payment of our house.

  • Cars

This is the hardest one for me.  I’ve always been a car enthusiast and love looking at the new models that come out each year.  We actually just went to an auto show this past weekend, and it was hard to limit myself to buying just 3 (ha-ha)!  Jokes aside, this is something that many people could save a LOT of money on. A brand new car can depreciate over 10% just by driving it off the lot!  Instead of buying a new car, consider buying a used car that’s a few years old.  I bought my Acura TSX in 2014, and it was 8 years old at the time.  It still runs really well, and I haven’t had to make any major repairs. 

I would like to dedicate an entire post in the future about how to save money when buying cars, but hopefully the few ideas we gave you here are a good start. 

Keep this in mind when making big purchases – just because you can afford the minimum monthly payment, doesn’t mean you should buy it. The Joneses are broke because they look at how many minimum monthly payments they can squeeze in, not how this will affect them in the long run. Don’t be like the Joneses!

-Josh Klaas

If you would like to read more about our story, click here.

Posted by Josh Klaas


This was a great read! I will say that it is important to keep in mind, even though it’s a little cliche that the grass is not always greener. You’re right, the Joneses are broke!! Because we are always broke trying to live up to an invisible unattainable standard. It’s better to live simple and experience financial freedom. Great job, best wishes

Josh Klaas

Hi Davona, thanks for reading our post! Totally agree with what you said, turns out the grass you already have is green if you water it! Thanks for your comment and have a great day!

I don’t know who the Joneses are. Maybe it’s an American or Canadian in joke. I get the point later on. I like the part about affording minimum payment doesn’t mean that’s how much u are worth.

Dr A Koh

Josh Klaas

Hi Alex! Yes, it must be an American thing! 🙂 Thanks for your comment and checking out my post! Have a great day!

Mr. MFC @ Morning Fresh Cent

Hi Josh. Keeping up the Joneses is a very slippery slope. I am currently living in California and with all the celebrity sightings and entertainment news, many people want the latest gadget, fashion trend, or accessories. Another one is eating out at the newest upscale restaurant. Thanks for sharing some tips!

Josh Klaas

Hi, thanks for your comment! Yes – I can imagine how tempting that would be! It’ll be worth it in the long run though! Have a great day!