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Our web diva, Ann Marie read this and could totally relate to the last 2.
"Even now that I am out of college, I still struggle with the idea of comparing what I have to those around me. I think, well if they have it, why can't I? I work hard. Then I stopped and looked at my first credit card statement and went, well if this is what they have to deal with every month, stress, worry, fear of how are they going to pay that plus rent, bleep it, I'd rather sleep at night then deal with this."
“‘Must be nice,’ is my mom’s favorite catchphrase for anyone who bought a new house, or took a vacation to Florida. It got to the point where I cringed when I heard that statement. It was pure ‘comparisonitis,’ but in a way it made you the victim because it suggested you couldn’t have these things yourself, and instead should begrudge others who did.”
What Causes It: “Social comparisons are normal and her mom was right that it ‘must be nice’ to be able to buy a new home and take vacations,” Alpert tells us. “Her statement though, suggests a hint of jealousy and/or anger.” Though these emotions might motivate someone in the short term to make changes, he explains, they’re ultimately draining, not a good motivator like setting your own goals to pursue because you truly want to achieve them.
How to Shake It: “Keeping up with the Joneses will only allow you to be as happy as the Jonseses,” Alpert cautions. Money comparisonitis is the real, toxic behavior of constantly comparing yourself to those around you, and the first step to getting past it is forgiving yourself: It’s totally normal. In fact, a study of data collected since 1970 shows that we base our self-esteem more on the money we make compared to others, or our relative financial status, than on our actual financial picture. If you’re concerned that you might have money comparisonitis, take our quiz to find out.
“My parents never looked at prices–when I asked my mom how much gas was costing her when gas prices were getting out of control in Los Angeles, she told me, ‘I don’t know–I never look.’ We bought everything immediately, at full price, because my parents always felt that the time it takes to find a discount isn’t worth the money you would save. Now that they’re nearing retirement, they’ve started seeing how much money they could have (and maybe should have) saved over the years.” -Audrey
What Causes It: Not everyone sees the value—or the joy—in seeking out the best deal. “For some people, there is great satisfaction in knowing they got the absolute best price on a product, and that outweighs any amount of ‘wasted’ time and energy. For others, it just doesn’t feel worth it,” says Alpert, who explains that they may feel more uplifted by the temporary thrill of immediate gratification.
How to Shake It: Nobody’s saying you have to be an extreme couponer if that doesn’t appeal to you. Splurging—in the right way—can actually be good for your finances. But depending on your financial situation, and your budget, you need to know when it’s OK to treat yourself and when you’re just throwing money away that you could be able to save. One good way is to enroll in our free Take Control bootcamp, which will teach you how to set boundaries—and long-term financial goals—for yourself.