Personal Finance

These Weren’t the Broke Joneses

Many of us have heard the famous quote often attributed to Dave Ramsey, “Stop keeping up with the Joneses. They’re broke.” It is supposed to be inspirational  and remind us that often the grass only looks greener on the other side. But what about when it actually is?

One of the biggest struggles I have had for a long time is wanting a new house. Every time I visit a friend or neighbor, I return with “new house fever”.  I am blessed to have many wonderful opportunities to network with individuals with high-salary careers through my various volunteer and charity work. The downside of this is I am constantly fighting of house envy. Normally I find one or two things in each home I visit that isn’t desirable for me (distance from my work, who wants to clean such a large home, etc). Or I tell myself that they probably are the broke Joneses.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I was invited to three different homes.The first one was my absolute dream home. If I were to list everything I have ever wanted in a house, it would be that one.  I joked with the host that he should help me convince my husband to move. He laughed and then actually shared solid financial advice on how he was able to purchase this home and two others. Yeah, he wasn’t a broke Mr. Jones.

The next day, my best friend invited us over to her incredible home. I have seen it before but this was the first time my kids were with me. She let them play outside in her spacious backyard as we sat in lawn chairs to make sure they didn’t fall into the pool.She did not have to tell me her financial story. As a single mother, she purchased a modest home when the housing market was at it bottom. She met and married the love of her life a few years later. Together they sold both of their homes and were able to purchase the amazing home they have. Mr and Mrs. Not Broke Jones.

Then on Sunday, I picked up my daughter from a friend’s house. Her family had recently moved and I was given the tour of the new home. Once again, they had an incredible backyard with a beautiful pool. They were able to purchase this new home and are renting out their previous home. Potentially they are the broke Jones, but somehow I don’t think so!

Seeing my kids play and run around in all three backyards has ignited a fierce desire in me. I want them to have daily access to a backyard!  Our backyard is parallel to a main street and I just do not feel it is safe for them out there. Also no matter what we have tired, grass refuses to grow. Literally the grass IS greener (and alive) on the other side. This whole year I have been focused completely on paying of my current mortgage. The honest truth is, I don’t want to live in this house forever. Try as I might, I don’t think I will be content here in the long run. Seeing these three families have wonderful homes makes me feel like it is possible and not a completely crazy dream to have. So I think I am going to go for it.

My crazy dream: 2019 – New House and rent out current home, 2022 Pay of Current home, 2034 Pay of new home. Lets do this!

I am curious what your thoughts are. Any advice for me? Am I crazy? 🙂



12 thoughts on “These Weren’t the Broke Joneses

  1. Wanting a backyard for my son drive me into home ownership, and I still love our tiny home with a great yard even though it hasn’t been the best investment (thank you American housing bubble). I’m also starting to consider someday having this one as a rental, but more because we will soon be kid-free and able to live in a city again (we don’t want to make him change schools now). I’ll be watching your journey and cheering you on!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your planning skills. Wondering- are there small things you can fix/change etc to re fall in love with your current home? how about a new fence in your back yard to eliminate that main road fear? Getting a landscaper in to deal with grass? Thinking of ideas to make this home somewhere u can love. I know personally we like to travel and be able to do all the things to create memories- – big lavish home is not a first for us- we love our small condo 🙂

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  3. I have similar things in life I envy at times and it’s difficult. I look around and see all the “stuff” others have and think “how do they afford it” as I pay my student loan debt every month. It can really affect my perspective sometimes. On a positive note – I suggested to my husband about 3-4 years ago that we should remove the bushes in the backyard because the rose bush (close to the door) draws bees. He blew me off 100%. Three years later he had a brilliant suggestion to pull out all those bushes to make room for a garden. I told him I thought “his” idea was great. Your husband may come around to your ideas when you least expect it. 🙂

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  4. Dave Ramsey frequently cites “keeping up with the Joneses” as a bad thing because it comes from a place of malcontent with one’s own situation. The individuals who are never content in life always chase the next thing regardless of the debt that it puts them in, because these folks believe that “stuff” makes them happy. This is bad.

    In reality, I have never found “stuff” to make me happy, and I don’t think anyone else will truly make that claim at the heart of the matter once they look back in retrospect on all the things they bought hoping to obtain happiness. Rather, serving others (not ourselves) is what truly makes us happy, as backwards as that may seem at first glance.

    With that said, if you want to “serve” your family, or others, by buying a bigger home with a bigger yard so that your children can be safer, so that you can invite others over to enjoy the space together with you, and/or so that you can serve others in different ways by it….stick to your guns, develop a financial plan with the help of an advisor, DO IT!! Otherwise, as you mentioned, it will simply be a larger place to clean…which will most definitely make you unhappy.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. The grass is greener literally on the other side….haha. I feel ya. I CANNOT get grass to grow in my hillside backyard. I can not wait to have a big flat backyard. Comparison is a dangerous road I struggle to stay off of everyday, especially while trying to get out of debt! Do what you feel is right in your heart and make sure it agrees with your wallet and then I guess you can’t go wrong!
    If you want you can check out our journey as well!

    Liked by 1 person

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