Keeping up with the Joneses could be costing you more than you think

There’s a quote that says, “Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you a yacht big enough to pull up right alongside it”.

True if you’ve got that sort of money. For the rest of us, our spending is usually on clothing, gadgets, and cars – the kinds of things that make us happy.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data suggests that consumer spending is influenced by job security and economic factors like interest rates and inflation. Favourable economic conditions certainly lead to consumer confidence and substantially affect how much discretionary income is available. However, isn’t it also about our emotions? How often do you hear statements like, Be the envy of your friendsDon’t miss outToday only…?

We live in a consumer society where we’re expected to keep up with the Joneses. Every time we turn on the television or Google something, we’re bombarded by sales and offers. Then there’s social media; given the lucrative advertising deals Influencers achieve for themselves, plenty of us are making purchasing decisions around the accounts we follow.

It probably seems that the modern world is pestering us with advertising; how easy it is to lose control and find ourselves in debt!

Unlike Yacht-guy from the quote, our finances may be more limited, but there are ways to ensure we stay in control of our finances.


Make a budget and be mindful of it. Think of your budget as helping you make better spending choices to live your best life, rather than a chore. It’s a time-proven technique for more mindful spending, where you may forgo small frivolous spending today, to enable more meaningful purchases and investing tomorrow.

The government’s SmartMoney website provides a free calculator to enable you to create your own workable budget.

Debit, not credit

Use a debit card instead of a credit card. Debit cards can be linked to a bank account or loaded with cash. Either way, you’re using your own money not the bank’s, meaning you can’t spend what you don’t have. There’s also no interest!

Additionally, it’s wise to avoid those Buy-Now-Pay-Later schemes. They’re so easy to arrange, and you can rack up quite a debt without realising it!

Payment plans

Most utilities and insurance companies allow you to set up regular payment plans so you pay a set amount each period. You’ll always know what you’re up for and it’s paid automatically. Your gas or electricity provider can help get you started.

Avoid social media

Ever noticed how after Googling, say, camping equipment, suddenly you’re seeing advertising for tents and camp stoves? Algorithms embedded in the internet record your searches to help advertisers target you through social media.

We get it – it’s tough to avoid social media, but if you’re susceptible to targeted online advertising, you may need to limit your exposure to it – at least for a while.


Avoid the temptation to impulse buy.

Advertising is designed to appeal to our need to fit in, keep up with our friends, to show off. Things you want to buy, but don’t necessarily need, may simply be status symbols. Before you whip out the plastic, ask yourself if a handbag with an Italian label is really worth months on a repayment plan?

If you think you’re going to struggle with any of our suggestions, visit and download their online guide, Managing your money. It’s filled with ideas and advice for getting on track and staying on track.

As for that quote about happiness and huge yachts, those words were courtesy of 80’s rockstar David Lee Roth. Stick to your budget and savings and investment plan, and you might just be able to afford that yacht, sooner than you think!

The purpose of this website is to provide general information only and the contents of this website do not purport to provide personal financial advice. Denaro Wealth strongly recommends that investors consult a financial adviser prior to making any investment decision. The contents of the Denaro Wealth website does not take into account the investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any person and should not be used as the basis for making any financial or other decisions. The information is selective and may not be complete or accurate for your particular purposes and should not be construed as a recommendation to invest in any particular product, investment or security. The information provided on this website is given in good faith and is believed to be accurate at the time of compilation.

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