Seriously, you need to stop caring about what other people think
This page may contain affiliate links: Please read my disclosure for more info.
It Happens to All of Us
We all care about what other people think about us. We all want to impress our significant other’s parents, or maybe we want our manager at our job to see how hard we work and recognize that by giving us a promotion. There are people that truly matter in our lives, and it is important to receive their respect.
But I’m not talking about that type of situation.
I’m talking about caring about how other perceive your value by how you portray yourself financially. Do you wear the nicest clothes, live in the best house, drive the right car, hang out at the right places?
We’ve all been the victim of feeling inferior because we felt that we didn’t have the right stuff to give us status. I know back when I was in college, there was a point where just about everyone had a smart phone, and I was still using one of those Motorola flip phones. There was a time when I was hanging out at a party and a girl actually said to me “You still have a flip phone?!? Get with the times.” Needless to say that didn’t feel very good, and not long after I spent my hard-earned money on a new Blackberry.
Obviously, I had some things to learn.
The idea of “Keeping up the Jones'” is definitely a real thing for most people, even if you don’t realize it. Have you ever thought about why you live where you live, or why you chose the car that you drive? Financially, it would be best to live in a small, cheap apartment and drive a used, 10-year old Toyota Camry, but you probably aren’t doing that. We don’t think we make decisions because of what other people think, but we tend to follow in the same path as our peers.
It’s completely understandable to not want to seem cheap or to desire to live in a comfortable place, but it takes some conscious decision-making to step away from the crowd to do what is best for yourself and not just what everyone else is doing. Because what everyone else is doing is probably spending too much on stuff they don’t really need.
The Truth About “Wealthy People”
There’s a difference between having money and spending money.
Most people are great at spending money. New house, new car, new clothes every month, newest iPhone. The designer lifestyle.
From the outside, it looks like these people are doing great. They may have a good job, which allows them to pay for all of these new things they’re buying all the time. They’re great at spending money, which makes it look like they
“have” a lot of money. But really, every month all of their money goes to their mortgage payment, credit card bill and car payment.
For all of us, this is a cycle driven by only seeing from the outside perspective.
From the outside, it seems like everyone has a lot of money and because people have all of these nice, new things. This makes us feel like we need to have the same things because we have similar incomes. If they can have that lifestyle, then I can have that lifestyle too because I make just as much money.
But what if you broke that cycle?
What if you drove a used car, wore clothes that are a few years old, and didn’t dine out at fancy restaurants every week? What if you saved 20%, 30% or even 50% of your income? Every month you saw your net worth grow and grow because you didn’t care if people thought you didn’t “have” as much money as them.
On the outside people might think you’re “poor”, but on the inside you knew that you were debt-free, saving money every month, investing for the future. Wouldn’t that be great?
Well probably not…. unless you have the right mindset.
Not Caring What Others’ Think Gives You Freedom
You might be thinking “Okay, saving money is great, but that also sounds pretty damn boring.”
But what if you had the mindset that instead of buying a new car, new iPhone or expensive meals, you were actually buying freedom and opportunity?
First of all, once you stop caring what other people think you become free of the mental and emotional burden of having to impress other people all the time. You can do what you want with your money and not give a second thought to how other people will perceive you.
Second and most importantly, by actually having money, instead of just spending it, you get freedom and opportunity to do whatever you want. Want to quit your job and travel the world? Want to be a stay-at-home mom or dad with your kids? Want to quit your corporate law job and become a surf instructor?
Well if you have enough money saved up and no debt then you can do all of that. Whatever you want, whenever you want. Once you have enough money saved and invested to cover your living expenses for a set amount of time, you can spend your time as you please. You’re not dependent on a paycheck to fund your unsustainable lifestyle.
If the paychecks stopped coming in today, and you have to worry about how your going to pay the bills and put food on the table, then your lifestyle is unsustainable.
What You Can Do to Start Caring Less
It sounds easy to stop caring what other people think about your perceived wealth, but it is hard to get started. But it is also completely worth it once you free yourself from the financial burden of caring what other people think. You can now spend or save your money in a way that’s best for you.
If you want to live in a small, studio apartment and drive a used car so you can take month-long vacations to exotic destinations, then that choice is yours. If you want to save as much money as possible so you can retire at age 30 and spend the rest of your life bouncing from city to city, working on your painting and teaching yoga, then that choice is yours too. Stop caring what other people think so you have the freedom to live the life you want.
If you want to make a change, start by associating with like-minded people who also don’t care what others think. Read personal finance blogs like ThinkSaveRetire and MrMoneyMustache, or books like The Millionaire Next Door and Think and Grow Rich, if you don’t have direct people in your life that you could speak with. Maybe just find friends who won’t judge you for thinking and living differently, even if they don’t have the same money habits as you.
Then also make sure you are still spending money on what you value. If you enjoy to travel, make sure you are still taking trips each year. Or if you like work out and stay in shape, keep going to the gym or seeing a personal trainer. Just make sure you are cutting back on spending on things that aren’t important to you, so that you can save more money and have the freedom to do what is important to you.
Do you think it’s important to care less about what other people think? How do you plan to keep saving money without falling into the trap of following others’ spending habits? Leave a comment or send me an email!