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You’ve met them before. Actually, they’re the family living like no one else only a few houses down from yours. Mr. Jones drives the Bentley, and Mrs. Jones drives the Mercedes. Their house is picture perfect, their yard is the best in the neighborhood, and their children are so polite, they make the von Trapp kids look like heathens.
The Joneses are the envy of social media. They throw the best parties, drive the nicest cars, have big screen TVs in every room, sport the latest smartphones, and go on the most Instagram-worthy vacations. But the question is . . . how can they afford it? And even more important—is life just about keeping up with the Joneses?
The Truth About the Joneses
Want to know the truth? The Joneses are broke. That’s b-r-o-k-e with a capital “B.” And we’re not saying that so you can feel better about that old beater car (with the rusted-through floorboards) you’ve been driving around since Y2K. Remember—the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Sure, it may look greener, but are you willing to go into thousands of dollars of debt each year for the nicest lawn in the neighborhood?
Here’s the thing: 78% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.(1) Basically, that means almost 8 out of 10 people probably can’t afford the home they’re living in and the car they’re driving. They might not even have the cash to cover the next emergency that pops up. Kind of crazy, right?
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So, why are so many people going into so much debt? To be honest, it’s about comparison. Rachel Cruze talks about this in her book, Love Your Life, Not Theirs:
“I had to come to terms with the fact that I was caught up in comparisons. I was chasing someone else’s life instead of enjoying my own. I was letting someone I had never met influence not only how I was going to spend my money, but how I was going to live my life.”
—Rachel Cruze, Love Your Life Not Theirs
We want what we don’t have to impress people we probably don’t even like. In the world today, a fancy car and a big house are the standards of success. But is that what it’s really about? Not a chance. It’s about contentment. If you’re really content with what you have, you’re likely not going to be on the lookout for the next best thing that will bring you “happiness.”
What Does It Mean to Live Like No One Else?
Live like no one else now, so later you can live and give like no one else. But what does that even mean? It means no more comparing your house with the neighbor’s house, not going out to eat four times a week, and sticking to a budget.
It all comes down to two words: focused intensity. If you want to live like no one else, you have to stay focused on your goal. And if your goal is debt freedom, the sacrifices are worth it. But living like no one else looks a little different for everyone. For most, it looks like cutting out all of the extras, selling so much stuff the kids think they’re next, and not seeing the inside of a restaurant unless you’re taking orders.
If you want to live and give like no one else later, you have to learn how to live a little . . . weird now. Sure, your family and friends will wonder what came over you. And the word no will be your new best friend when it comes to all those expensive social outings.
Just like Dave Ramsey says, “No one accidentally wins at anything. You have to pay a price to win, and you don’t win if you don’t pay a price.” And the price of getting out from under those chains of debt might seem high now, but in the end, it’ll be well worth it.
Benefits of Living Like No One Else
If you’re like some people, you might make a pro/con list when you’re about to count the cost of your next big decision. But let us assure you, if you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, the pros will far outweigh the cons when it comes to deciding to get out of debt. Here are some of the benefits of living like no one else:
1. You’ll gain more self-control.
You may have heard this before, but adults make a plan and follow it. Children do what feels good. When you’re living like no one else, you’ll be following your plan with ease. No longer will you be swiping that credit card at the mention of the word sale.
2. You’ll radiate confidence.
When you’re not focused on keeping up with the Joneses, you’ll be surprised to find that you’ll stop caring what other people think and even pinpoint the people who are keeping you in debt. It’s about chasing your goals and building a financial legacy for your family, not about the car you drive or even if you’ve got a fancy gold card.
3. You’ll become more goal-driven.
Listen, you’ve already made the best goal ever: to get out of debt. So once you’ve achieved that, making and setting goals for yourself just gets easier and easier. You’ll learn how to set smart goals that you can measure and then run hard to achieve them. And it all starts with becoming debt-free.
4. You’ll give generously.
The best part of living like no one else is the fact that you can start giving like no one else. When you’re no longer throwing your paycheck to your past, you’re freed up to start living and giving the way God intended.
5. You’ll leave a legacy.
Imagine leaving an inheritance for your children, your grandchildren—and heck!—maybe even your great grandchildren! When you’re living like no one else, you have the ability to set yourself up for the retirement of your dreams, give generously, and make plans to leave a legacy that will change your family tree.
How to Live Like No One Else
So now that you’re sold on living like no one else . . . what does that even look like? It starts with counting the cost. Like Dave said above, you have to pay a price to win. And that price is different for everyone. But the best thing you can do is decide to change. That’s exactly what Keith and Emily did.
Keith and Emily were trying to be the Joneses. “We couldn’t do anything halfway. We couldn’t just have any apartment—we had to have a downtown loft apartment. We couldn’t just have any car—we had to have a convertible, a brand-new convertible,” Emily recounted.
“Just like Dave says, everything that took our parents 30 years to achieve, we wanted it right then,” Keith said.
After taking Financial Peace University, everything changed. They knew they had to make some big sacrifices if they wanted to get out of debt and change their future. So that’s exactly what they did. “All of the tears, all of the frustration, all of the anger—it was so worth it because now there’s just peace and freedom,” Keith and Emily said. Talk about living like no one else.
Keith and Emily learned how to save, budget, and pay off debt after they took their first Financial Peace University class. Now, they’re debt-free and changing their future. Are you ready to stop keeping up with the Joneses and start living like no one else? Check to see if there’s a local Financial Peace University class meeting in your area.