Single and Settling In

Single life has its own unique challenges, personally and financially. Hear how these bloggers are making the single life work for them.

Keeping Up With The Jones'!

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Being on a budget is hard enough without having to worry about what everyone else has, and what everyone else can do.  Let's face it, first of all, the Jones' may very well be paying for all their fun with credit cards; sinking deeper in debt themselves!  Second, when you are done with your DMP think of the immediate additional "income" that you will have.  Once your debt is gone, that money can go toward having a little fun with no debt strings attached.So, I believe that the Jones' in my neighborhood, are not all that. 

The problem I do encounter is keeping up with them at work.  It is hard to be on a budget and still attend power lunches, and drinks with the management team. How do you say no? 

I have always been proud of my accomplishments professionally and pride myself in being able to handle myself in many situations among a variety of professional-types.  It is hard to go to the nice restaurants at lunch and not be able to justify ordering the steak, or when you go out for drinks and everyone takes turns buying a round, you can't always disappear when it's your turn. 

So what do you do?  You can still run with the "big dogs" but not get yourself in the dog house with extra spending. Here are a few tricks for mingling without the pressure.

  • Keep snacks in your desk. Dry cereal, fruit, energy bar, etc. These come in very handy when a last minute "let's go out to lunch" is sprung on you by your manager and you don't want to say - sorry, I'm broke or nah, I got some PB&J. Have a snack before you leave, eat a light lunch (salad, some soup, or a light sandwich) and if you are still not satisfied you have your PB&J when you get back.
  • Dinners can be worse than lunches. Usually you're lunching at a place that has some specials. Dinner can amount to a $30.00 meal very quickly - especially if you include drinks. I usually order a glass of wine and a soft drink. That way you don't have to rely on your alcohol beverage to be the same that you quench your thirst with. Silly? Maybe, but it works for me! How about appetizers instead of a meal? For $9.00 you can order chicken fingers or an appetizer platter and be completely full. For $15.00 sometimes the actual entrée doesn't even fill you up.
  • Skip dessert. Of course it looks good. Of course it will be good, but there is no justification to spending that much on a piece of pie or a scoop of ice-cream - wait until you get home and have something in the freezer on stand-by. Chances are once you leave the atmosphere of the restaurant, you won't want anything anyway.

You can still enjoy your time climbing the corporate ladder.  Just remember that those times when you bought a round, or tried to impress by picking up the check, sure, it was nice and made you feel important, but chances are no one is going to remember it when it comes time to evaluate your job.  They'll remember you by the conversation you brought, or the funny stories you shared - not by how much money you put down on the table.  After a while, you start to ask yourself - who are these Jones' anyway! 

  • Screw to Jones' ! Why bother keeping up with them in the first place ? Put your family and yourself first.

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  • If you search Google for "The Joneses," you get results like keeping up with "them" has bankrupted people, that "they" are what we use to define our level in society, and that people use "them" to determine if they are successful or not. But, no one can

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