Deciding what to do with your money can be difficult, whether you make it from a side hustle or your own business. Too often, we see what others have, or what others are doing, and assume that we have to react in a similar manner.

Unfortunately, keeping up with the Joneses (or their debt) is one of the best ways to wind up in over your head and dissatisfied with your own situation. Rather than worrying about how others use their money, you need to establish your own priorities.

What Makes Your Life Enjoyable?

Your first step is to stop and consider what brings joy and meaning to your own life. We often get caught up in doing what we’re “supposed” to do. There are scripts we’re given for spending money and living life, starting from when we’re young.

However, not all of us are happy following that script. Additionally, looking at our neighbors, we might have an idea of what’s “normal,” from the number of TVs in the house to the types of vehicles we drive, to the recreational activities we enjoy. It’s easy to get wrapped up in what others do that we don’t stop to think about what we really want.

There’s no reason to try to impress others with our resources and material things if we aren’t happy. Look at the way you spend money, and consider whether or not it’s actually bringing something to your life. If it’s not, see if you can figure out what makes your life worthwhile, and focus on those items.

It’s easier to stop worrying about the Joneses when you are clear on what makes you happy and your life meaningful. I love my family and we have a great time together. And once I stopped trying to order my life to suit their expectations, I became much more satisfied — and better off financially because I was spending as I wanted to.

Look for a Good Support System

Sometimes, you get caught up with the Joneses because they are the people you know. When you hang around with people that don’t have the same interests or values, you begin to adopt their outlook — even if it’s not really satisfying to use your money in the same way.

While you don’t need to completely abandon your old friends and family, you can get a little help overcoming your concern for the Joneses by hanging out with different people. Look for people who share your goals and outlook on life. While I still enjoy hanging out with my family, I also make it a point to associate with other solopreneurs and entrepreneurs who have similar goals to me, and who value the same things. It reminds me that there are plenty of fellow travelers along this path.

It’s a delicate balance to strike, but it can help you stop worrying so much about what the Joneses are doing with their money. In the end, you need to look to your future and figure out what is best for you, and make your financial decisions based on your own values, rather than on someone else’s.

I'm Miranda and I'm a freelance financial journalist and money expert. My specialties are investing, small business/entrepreneurship and personal finance. The journey to business success and financial freedom is best undertaken with fellow travelers.

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