Why Appreciation Matters
It may be difficult at times, to have an appreciation for what you have when you see “the Joneses” showing off their money. It is however worth the effort to take the time to appreciate the things you are able to afford.
Life may seem unfair at times, but I think it’s also important to acknowledge net worth doesn’t define who a person is.
Rich or poor, a person can choose to be thankful or not, it has little to do with how much they make. However, appreciation or lack thereof does affect your money.
Being appreciative means admitting that you have enough. To admit that you have enough means that you won’t feel like the next purchase will make you happy. That alone will keep you from going over budget or spending beyond your means.
You are essentially saving money when you appreciate your belongings.
Don’t Worry About “Keeping Up With The Joneses”
Yes, “the Joneses” may seem to have it all, but you just never know. This is why it’s necessary to remind yourself that sometimes things aren’t what they seem.
Ex. 1: Your best friend in high school got a new volts wagon bug for her 16th birthday party doesn’t mean her parent’s finances are good; in fact they might have gone in debt to give their daughter the car she “deserved”.
Ex. 2: Your brother’s new 5 bedroom house might seem like the ultimate home, but he might be struggling to pay more than 50% of his income to make the monthly mortgage payments each month.
These examples just go to show that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. We may not have what others may have. In reality we just might have what “the Joneses” always wanted; it works both ways.
So quit worrying about “the Joneses” and worry about yourself. You are not them, so find a reason to be thankful to be in your shoes.
You should find things in our life that you ARE thankful for. Yes, it would be nice to have more, but don’t forget to acknowledge when you have ENOUGH.
What I Appreciate
I have an appreciation for how my parents raised me. I, NOW, appreciate all the chores I had to do and for having to pay for many of my own things growing up. At the time it sucked, but now I’m not afraid of work and great at managing money.
I appreciate having thrift stores near by, which have allowed me to go on shopping sprees while staying under budget.
My car may not be the hottest car out there, but it gets my family and I safely from here to there. That is enough cause for appreciation from me.
I could live like so many other Americans out there in a house that costs double my current mortgage, but I’d rather not have more debt. I appreciate the house I own, because it has enough space for my family’s needs and is in a safe neighborhood.
The things that I have right now fit my needs and I don’t feel that buying the latest thing will make me any happier. Especially if owning the latest thing means going further into debt.
I honestly believe if I were to make the poor choice of borrowing money to help pay for a rich lifestyle that I would be in debt and unhappy.
If you are unhappy and deep in debt, then debt consolidation might be an option for you. Read this quick guide if you need help managing your debt.
No one wants to be unhappy, but the truth is that is what you are choosing when you choose to live beyond your means. The opposite is also true, that if you choose to live within or below your means that you will be happier. Remember that you choose the decision, just not the resulting consequences.
It’s All Relative
I once watched part of a Joel Osteen sermon that basically said one man’s blessing may be another man’s burden. The lesson went on to say that buying and affording things is different for everyone; our circumstances are different, so what may work for one may not work for another.
Ex. 1: A mansion may be an affordable home to some, but to the vast majority it would be a burden.
Ex. 2: The price tag on the most expensive car on the lot might be considered chump change to a multi-millionaire, but to a blue collar worker, named Phil, it may be equal to 3 years worth of income. One can afford it and the other cannot.
That’s not to say that the car salesman won’t try to sell the vehicle to both. Both the multi-millionaire and Phil could choose to purchase this vehicle. The only real difference is that this purchase would be a burden to one and not the other.
If Phil were to buy this vehicle he would have to take out a large car loan to be able to “afford” it. At his current job it would take him well over 3 years to pay off this debt. That is a HUGE burden to say the least.
Now let’s say there are used cars on the lot. Phil has found one that would be a perfect fit. It costs $4,000, which he can pay for in cash.
Purchasing this used vehicle would mean the difference of no debt compared to 3 plus years of paying off debt. If he buys the used car, then he will not only have zero debt but also a lower car insurance rate. Phil will also have the freedom to live a comfortable life, if he continually chooses to live within his means.
By recognizing that the used car was enough for him, Phil also, whether he was aware of it or not, exhibited appreciation for what he had. This may be a stretch, but I think that buying what we can afford instead of the things we can’t that we acknowledge we have things to be appreciative of.
We no longer feel the need to consume in excess when we appreciate what we have. We also keep our finances in order as we remain grateful.
The overall lesson to be learned here is appreciation affects your money. When you are grateful for what you have, you maintain healthy finances. Heed these words or “keep up with the Joneses” at your own risk.
Leave a comment: What do you appreciate? Have you ever been tempted to keep up with the Joneses”, but didn’t? Were you better off for it?
Tawnya is the founder of The Dancing Dollar, a blog about frugality & personal finance. She writes about how frugal living can help other individuals & families live [happily] below their means. She & her husband are on the path to pay off their home in less than half the time. Click here to learn more.