Every Day

Stop Caring What Other People Think

Is it important to you what other people think? Did you purchase that brand new car so that your neighbors will see it in the driveway?   

Did you put in an in ground pool so that it would be the first one in the neighborhood? 

Did you send your children to an expensive college because that is what all of your friends are doing? 

Are you or your children walking around in $200. sneakers and designer jeans because of the label? Do you spend $500. or more on your purses?

Do you shop at Whole Foods because it is the in thing? Are you buying organic because all of your friends are? 

I could ask a ton of these questions but you get the idea. I have seen so many people get into serious debt and even lose possessions or their homes because they did all of these things when they couldn’t afford it. Many of them kept up with their friends and neighbors because they cared about what they thought.

Stop caring about what other people think of you. Don’t ruin your budget because you are trying to impress someone else. No one’s opinion is more important than your own family finances.

If you can’t afford all of those luxuries that is okay. If you have the cash then go for it. But do it for you and your family. Don’t do it to impress a friend or neighbor. Chances are that many of those friends and neighbors who have those things are in debt up to their eyeballs. 

You don’t need designer clothes to look nice. You only need to be clean and neat. But if you just must have them, shop the thrift stores and consignment shops.

You can also have a beautiful home by keeping it neat and clean. You don’t need every decor they have at Pier One or even Home Goods.

We are guilty of always buying brand new cars but we keep them for 10-15 years and maintain them well. However I think the next car we buy will be 2 years old or more. Let someone else pay the big depreciation on it. 

We put in the in ground pool because we had saved the cash to pay for it. Our children got many years of enjoyment out of it. We didn’t purchase it for some kind of status symbol. We actually thought it was a frugal way for them to have enjoyable summers in their own backyard. We didn’t see a need to spend thousands of dollars on vacationing somewhere else. When we did do vacations they were frugal and well thought out like renting a camp.  

My sons had the choice to go to a state college or mid range tuition room and board college. One son chose to go to community college. We paid cash. One son chose to go away to a more expensive college. We paid cash with the exception that he took the unsubsidized Fafsa loan every year. Would we have gone into debt for them to do it? No, plain and simple. Could my one son have gone to a 4 year school from community college? Yes, but he chose not to. Just in recent years as his career has progressed, he decided to go for the 4 year degree. I am very proud to say that he has one more course to take and he graduates. Hubby and I paid for our own college. 

Your children don’t have to go to expensive colleges to get a good education. I have seen kids go to community college only. And I have seen some then transfer to a 4 year state university. They are making out well in life. The degree will get your foot in the door for a job. But years of experience I believe are more valuable once you are doing the job.

So many kids are getting out of college with thousands of dollars of debt that it will take them years to pay off. So many of them are living with their parents because they can’t afford to live out on their own. You have to ask the question “Would they have been better off learning a trade and working in in those years they spent in college?”  How far ahead would they be if they hadn’t incurred thousands of dollars in debt? 

Believe me when I say that my kids did not wear expensive jeans nor did we. Levi’s were cheap and wore like iron. I do have to admit that I had a $250. purse but it was a gift. Would I buy one today? Nope.

If you can afford to pay cash to shop at Whole Foods or buy organic food, go for it. But if doing that is causing you to pay with your credit card or is being done to impress someone else, you are being foolish with your money.  

Always do what is right for your family! Don’t get into a financial bind because you want to impress someone else.

So right this minute, STOP caring what other people think of you.

9 replies on “Stop Caring What Other People Think”

Hi, AD, this is Chris. Your article today made me think. It took me a long time to not care what other people think of my lifestyle. I think it is from my childhood where I was always in the smart classes, but one of the few kids from a working class background, so always felt inferior. Through the years so many of the folks we were friends with at church didn't live the kind of frugal lifestyle we did. We did have some friends in the neighborhoods we lived in, but many times I was one of the only stay at home parents. I also didn't understand how other people could afford things that we couldn't at the time. I did find when the Great Recession hit, that our frugal lifestyle became more in fashion, plus started to see that some people really couldn't afford their lifestyles. It was about that time where I found you, and a group of friends in my town in an online mom's group who also lived like we did. I finally found "my tribe", and then it didn't matter what my other friends thought, and I didn't care if people thought I was weird. Fast forward to today, and everything we have gone through has been so worth it. I love my life today. As an example of my new found freedom, I posted a picture on my facebook Sat. of the toys I got for our granddaughter in a local neighborhood sale (high end) and I didn't care who saw it. Thanks for the article, I agree with what you said, and found it thought provoking for my life.

Hi Chris,

We seem to have similar childhoods. Thanks for sharing. It was amazing how many people flocked to frugal blogs during the recession. It truly is so freeing to be totally debt free and pay off everything including the mortgage. I am so glad you know that feeling, my friend.

Chris again. I kept thinking about this yesterday, and wanted to mention that the other thing that really helped me be content was a conversation I had with our priest, and then for Lent that year I made a big effort to be grateful for what I had. It really helped my mindset and I would recommend doing to anyone who is struggling with this like I was. Every day for 40 days I wrote down 1 or 2 things I was grateful for, and the practice of doing this helped change how I saw my life. It was a little thing, but helped so much.

This snuck up on me a bit when we first had kids. Eventually, it was clear that we would decide how to prioritize our spending & who cared what anyone else was doing. We do have different priorities. For example, we take our kids skiing & on vacations we all enjoy. But, we make sacrifices to do that & plenty of other tradeoffs, & we're okay with that.

Our kids occasionally will ask for something extremely expensive. The answer is always the same. If you want to earn the money yourself to pay for it, go for it. I will remind them how much their activities cost, and that's what Mom & Dad are funding. For big ticket splurges, they are on their own.

Hi Hawaii Planner,

We all eventually make that realization. Everybody does things differently and as long as they can afford it that is fine. You are teaching your kids a valuable lesson.

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