Keeping Up with the Joneses Will Keep You Broke!

Big houses, big cars, big ticket items…..we see it, we want it, but should we really have it all? We’ve all been there…..your neighbor returns with a shiny new 52 inch flat screen television and all of a sudden your 32 inch just isn’t that shiny anymore.

Or what about your friend moving into a large home behind the pearly gates and now your traditional ranch home seems a thing of the past. But before you make another big purchase there are some things you first must consider!

Can you really afford it?

Yeah its okay to get approved for a home loan that will eat up most of your income, but if a disaster hits, will you really be able to afford it? I can recall my first home purchase, I recently graduated from college – young and ready for the world! I will never forget my loan officer approving me for a $200k home loan, but after wise counsel I decided to utilize less than ½ of the approved amount to purchase my first home. As a result, I was able to have a low mortgage payment, a nice home to fit my needs and even extra money to eat!

The Mercedes is nice, but can you afford the upkeep?
Listen, with every large ticket item, comes with a cost. A bigger house – a bigger utility bill, a more expensive car – a larger maintenance fee. Yes, you may be able to afford it now, but you must also factor in the cost of maintaining the item down the line.

Do you really need it?
Before making any major purchase, sleep on it first! Think about it, do you commit to a relationship before knowing about a person first? If you see something you really like, take a moment, step back, and pray on it if you need to! Keep in mind you are making a financial commitment so you want to make certain you are able to live with your decision for years to come.

Listen, for every item on the market, there is someone somewhere selling the item for a lesser cost. Utilize apps such as Shop Savvy to find the lowest cost on most items. The cool thing about this app is that it allows you to scan the item and it will locate the lowest cost in your area or online. Also, don’t forget to utilize websites such as or to locate new or slightly used items for a fraction of the cost.

Remember, Your Choice Your Future!

Kemberley Washington is a certified public accountant and a business professor at Dillard University. She writes the personal finance column “Money, Power, Respect” for The New Orleans Tribune and Follow her on Twitter or connect with her on Facebook or subscribe to her blog at


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