Tuesday, April 26, 2016

I am rich and have the perfect relationship!

First of all, I hope you don't believe the header you just read. I used it because I want to call attention to something I have been noticing lately on social media.
If you look at the picture below, you'd think "aww...such a happy couple and they're going out on a date." What you don't realize is that this date was planned at least a month in advance because let's face it, babysitter fees are not cheap. 

I follow quite a few pages on social media. Specifically, Instagram and Facebook. Over the last few months, I have found myself comparing what I see to my real life. Humans are very visual by nature. When it comes to believing something, people would rather see than hear about it. 

Social media has grown tremendously in the last few years and a lot of people (myself included) have taken advantage of it in helping to reach more people. I have used it as a way to connect with other like minded people and also as a way to document life in general. 

However, in the last few months, I have caught myself comparing different aspects of my life to what I have seen on Social media. Some of the sites I follow have featured elaborate weddings that have me wondering just how these people are able to afford such a big wedding when J and I had to budget and save up for 16-months to have a debt free wedding. 

I have also seen young people post pictures of their very nice expensive cars. I don't drive a hooptie. Not by a long shot but seeing young people drive expensive often foreign cars makes me wonder just how they were able to afford so much at a young age while I am still trying to live debt free. 

Let's not forget the lavish and frequent travels and the awesome and endless posts about just how in love their are with their lives, husband/significant other. Those posts make me wonder "geez, J and I often have one good argument at least once a week so perhaps we're not all that in love?" or "wow...3rd vacation this year huh? Would love to..." 

A while back when I was in college and during my first year of graduate school, I racked up a TON of credit card debt. As in to the tune of almost $10,000. Mind you, my parents paid for college and I had both a scholarship and assistantship to fund 75% of my graduate education so there was absolutely NO NEED to have that much in credit card debt outside of using the cards to purchase things I had no business buying on credit.

It took me moving back home with my parents to save on rent (thanks mom and dad!), paying $500 a month towards my debt, bagging my lunch EVERYDAY. Using a "need it versus want it" approach for all purchases to pay off the debt in about 3-years. 
After that ordeal, I promised myself I would NEVER again live on credit. If I can't purchase it on with my own cash in the bank, then I certainly don't need it. Thankfully, it has been 16-years and I have been able to stick to that promise. This also means that J and I have to spend wisely and budget for everything. Our yearly vacations are planned well in advance, we are always looking for groupon deals for online purchases and/or using eBates. I do a lot of comparison online shopping as well. 

Don't get me wrong. I hold nothing against someone who has and uses a credit card wisely. I give people the side eye though when they use their credit card to "keep up with the Jones" 

J and I have had several discussions about how our perception of what we see can be skewed from reality. Like the couple who has a seemingly perfect marriage may look so on social media but be trying hard/working on their relationship in real life. Or the person who purchases a new car may have decided purchasing a home is just not at the top of their priority list and they have no immediate expenses. 

The truth is we all put our best foot forward when interacting with our peers. But if you dig a little deeper, you'll quickly learn that not all that glitters is gold. 

I am writing this post not to point fingers at others but as a reminder to myself and certainly to others that you shouldn't let social media influence you to the extent that you can't distinguish between reality and perception. We may think we know what's going on with others but the truth is, the only reality we can absolutely 100% know about is the one we are living. 

I am learning each day to work on ME and not focus on what others are doing. My life isn't all peaches but it is my life and I am thankful to God for it everyday. 

I'd love to hear from you. What are some of the things you've seen on social media that's made you question your own life? Was it a positive or negative influence?


  1. We had to save 15 months for our wedding to ensure that we paid everything in cash. I often hear about people who had these extravagant weddings who are still paying for it years down the line. That's so insane to me.

    It's funny but social media has just only allowed me to see how the saying the grass isn't always greener is absolutely true. Growing up my parents drilled in us not to compare ourselves with others and I can say that it has really helped me as an adult. I never find myself jealous or feeling like I need to catch up. I believe in living beneath my means because life is so fickle. One day you have something and then the next you don't.

    For me, I live by the saying that everyone is fighting their own battles. Nothing you see is really as it seems unless it is your life. So for me, social media has only allowed what my parents taught me to ring even more true. And I can imagine that those with an entitled personality are having a difficult time with social media and keeping up. We have a duty to teach the young ones that not everything we see is real and that life is good but certainly not perfect.

    1. Nice! So happy to see that there are others out there who also had long engagements in an effort to save up for a wedding.
      Your parents are very wise people and definitely gave you the best tools for navigating life. Trying to live life to please others or keep up with others is just not even worth it.
      Happiness doesn't come from outside but rather from the inside. And yes, living below your means is ABSOLUTELY the best way to go because it minimizes stress should things change quickly when it comes to finances.
      Thank you for your comment :-)

  2. P.S. Loved this post and your thoughts on this!

  3. I think I paid around $1000 for my wedding and that included the biggest purchases of the dress (bought on Ebay) and the food (catered from a BBQ joint). I didn't have a professional photographer, I had family and friends take pictures and record videos.

    I used to be one that compared my life to those I saw via social media. I stopped doing that when I learned to appreciate what I have. I believe that what is meant for me to have, I will. If I'm wanting something simply because someone else has it, I have a talk with myself and ask - "Is this something that I really need"?

    Financially, I try to save, especially for emergencies. I had my (now) husband contribute the max towards his 401k and I have all types of insurance in case he gets sick, faces unemployment, etc. However, after losing 2 important people unexpectedly (my previous husband and mom) in my life and wishing I had done this or that (before they died) but didn't because I was too concerned about costs, I buy what I want (within reason) and plan little trips here and there. Trips don't have to be overly expensive if you're willing to research and plan.

    A lot that I see going on today, especially with the younger crowds is like Faith stated, those with a sense of entitlement. It seems to have been made worse since social media has come on the scene. A lot of kids these days don't want to work, do chores, etc. I know a lot of parents who feel the need to go into debt to make their child(ren) happy simply due to pressure and not wanting their child(ren) to be singled out. Bullying is at an all time high, especially cyber bullying among the younger crowd. The bullying among adults is a whole nother topic.

    1. This is so true! Which is why I also still plan on taking vacations each year. It is a must! We also budget for having fun and those are not optional. I always tell my husband that we work hard for what we earn so we have to also be able to enjoy it without always being stressed out.
      I agree with your comments 100%. Especially with adult bullying.

  4. There is a popular saying in reference to social media... Don't compare your everyday to someone's highlight reel. But what we are seeing is the highlight reel. For some we don't (and won't) see what goes in behind the scenes to get what they got. I do it often. But use it as motivation to strive to be the best me.

    1. That saying is definitely very true. A lot of people think what they see is the entire story which is what makes it sad that a lot of people try to keep up with others when what they are seeing isn't entirely reality.
      Thanks for your comment!

  5. i constantly have to remind myself that everyone's journey is different and not to compare myself to others. I've watched close family get themselves into debt unnecessarily, so I learned very young that debt isn't always my friend. Our wedding like southurnprincess cost us an equivalent of $1000 on my in laws farm and they catered it amazingly and I plan all our holidays at least a year in advance. Keeping up with the Jones just isn't worth all the stress...but golly, they sure do look like they are living the best life :-p

    1. Amen! Kudos to not living beyond your means. That is always awesome to hear/read that people aren't letting what they see on social media influence their spending lifestyle. And it most definitely is NOT worth the stress. I remember being very stressed out when I had so much debt. Thankful I am no longer there.
      Thank you for your comment!

  6. J, I love reading your outlook on this. Social media is just a new way to highlight things that we were doing already anyway but they weren't emphasized.

    My take on this is always, live your best live and don't compare yourself to others. You don't know their whole story and frankly, their story is not your story. When I see people on social media doing their thing or showing off (whatever we want to call it), I am like good for you. If it's something that I like, I totally copy the idea and if I don't care for it I just move on with my life.

    I don't even waste my energy to analyze their social situation and what they had to go through to show whatever it is. Also, one picture cannot possibly give the whole picture of someone's life it's clearly (at least I hope) the best snapshot of that event.

    Social media has its amazing perks, it connects us in a way that we couldn't have ever imagined but it also has it downsides. I look at the positive and keep it moving :)

    1. You are so right! I love that you always have a brighter way to look at things. That's why we are friends outside of social media :-D. I definitely cheer on those who are doing their thing. Like my pastor says, "if God is blessing my neighbor, I won't hate because it means he is in the neighborhood which means I'm next."
      I love your outlook on things. Stay positive!


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