It used to be that you had to look in your neighbor’s driveway to see what shiny new car he just bought. You would hear about the Caribbean vacation when you visited for dinner. And you heard about the new job promotion in the annual Christmas letter. In the age of social media, however, you find out what your friends, family, and neighbors are up to almost instantly.
Facebook constantly reminds us that our friends are getting newer stuff and traveling to fun places. And businesses that focus on selling all that stuff know that these seeds of discontent that are sown when we compare ourselves to others can lead to more sales for them. Many online retailers offer an easy way to share information about your purchases with just the click of the mouse to immediately upload the details to your social media accounts.
But despite how you learn of other’s splurges, the age-old adage that you shouldn’t try to keep up with the Joneses is still good advice. It is never a good financial strategy to spend money you don’t have on things you don’t really need. So go ahead and like that status update, but be sure to spend time counting your blessings and knowing what is best for you and your family.