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Keeping up with the Joneses

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Feb 11, 2019 - 2:00:37 PM

mander

USA

2770 posts since 10/7/2007

Having lived out of a car with two children in diapers in the middle of winter... I think I'm rich. I have a house over my head, I have clothes on my back. I have food in my stomach. I have an electric blanket to keep me warm at night. No, I don't have money to throw away, but my needs are met, which is a lot more than lots of other people have.

That said it can be a bit of a bumper to be on the poorer side of one's neighborhood. The majority of my neighbors make five times or more than what we do. It drives me crazy when they come over and cry poor and want my husband to work for free to be "neighborly." It drives me crazy when those who make so much more than we do expect me to "treat" them to gifts during the holidays. These people walk away disappointed.

It hurts to tell friends, no, I can't go run off with you to do this, that or whatever. I've let them pay a couple of times, but it changes the relationship. They start to treat me like an employee instead of a friend. "Okay, I'll pay for your movie ticket, but then you have to help with the garden..." And somehow, their ten dollar movie ticket is worth three days of gardening work? Excuse me?

I wouldn't say no to having more cash someday, but I can't say I'd spend it on "keeping up with the Joneses."

What about you? Do you feel like you're on equal footing with your neighbors? Do you wish you were? Glad you're not?

Feb 11, 2019 - 2:10:37 PM
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Owen

Canada

2955 posts since 6/5/2011
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I spend virtually no time concerned about what my neighbours may or may not have... although I sometimes wonder how my neighbour [2 person household] on one side has 2 full garbage cans for weekly pickup when my wife and I usually have about 1/3 cu. ft.  I've been known to ask my wife: "What are we doin' wrong?"  sad

Edit: I take some pride in my ability to reuse/recycle/rebuild/etc.  wink    Now... if we could only get our municipal government to "walk the walk."   sad

Edited by - Owen on 02/11/2019 14:13:43

Feb 11, 2019 - 3:21:35 PM
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Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

22295 posts since 8/3/2003

I agree with Owen: I don't care what my neighbors have or don't have, think or don't think. However, if one of them needs help, I'll do what I can to help them. My neighbors are all much younger than me and have children, so we definitely don't run in the same circles, so our lives are completely different. I don't know what I'd do if I had neighbors that I was friends with. Probably same as I'm doing now.

I'm in a knitting/crocheting club where most of the women I think probably have less than I do. That doesn't seem to make any difference to any of us. We enjoy each other, talk about our kids, our spouses (if we have one), our illnesses, our likes and dislikes. We occasionally go out to eat and most of the time it's each one pays for whatever they eat. If it's just a couple of us, sometimes I'll treat, sometimes someone else will, but it all pretty much evens out.

I have enough money to buy groceries, pay the bills, keep the house up, have a decent car and some cash left over for whatever. That's all I need. I don't have to have a flashy house, a brand new car, designer clothes, etc. Let those people go in debt just to look good. Not me.

I have friends that I run with and I have knitted slippers and hoods and different things for them, but they have done nice things for me, too. One woman brought her husband over to fix a leaky faucet for me. Saved me the cost of a plumber. Another took me out to lunch for knitting some stuff for her. No one takes advantage of anyone, at least not in our group.

Feb 11, 2019 - 3:24:59 PM
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68063 posts since 5/9/2007

When my neighbors and friends ask for help I help them.When I need help they help me.

Feb 11, 2019 - 3:43:45 PM
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50478 posts since 12/14/2005

Print up some business cards, offering your and Hubby's general services, at 15% above what you agree is fair.
Then add

" FREE ESTIMATES. TEN PERCENT DISCOUNT to Friends and Family"

right there on the card.

Answer your phones "SAL & HUBBY'S HELPFUL HANDS.  How may we help you??"

Give free estimates, get it in writing.

File all the proper paperwork, run it like a business.

 

THEN, if anybody expects you to work for less, you might want to  use a phrase which rhymes with

Duck SHOE, Glass Bowl!

Feb 11, 2019 - 3:56:42 PM

donc

Canada

5704 posts since 2/9/2010
Online Now

The Joneses have no value to me. I will admit that 30 years ago I was a little more conscious of what other people owned. When we moved into this house in 1979 it was a working blue collar neighbourhood so we were a good fit. Today its upwardly mobile fraternity brothers or trust fund babies. Everyone is a good neighbour and we watch out for each other's property but we are not cozy with anyone. Some have $1 million mortgages. We don't. I have no desire to trade places with anyone. They drive BMW's and Teslas. We have an 11 year old Toyota Matrix. They travel the world. We drive around western Canada and the northwest U.S.. To me vacations are a fresh new state of mind. Traveling to trendy far away places doesn't always achieve that. I'm rich for what I have but I'm certainly not rich for what I own.

Feb 11, 2019 - 4:04:15 PM

613 posts since 9/13/2018

My closest neighbor( at least a quarter mile) is a multi millionaire. Made a fortune in furniture store chains. Their house is out of this world cool. All landscaped professionaly and tended to constantly. I’m not sure I have the couth to live and entertain in that fabulous home. They’re actually really nice people, but we do much better trading cigars every now and then, and just keeping to ourselves

Bruce

Feb 11, 2019 - 4:22:24 PM

68063 posts since 5/9/2007

I've had some of the same neighbors or their descendants since the 50s.

It's great to feel like we're all in this together and any help is just a phone call away.

Edited by - steve davis on 02/11/2019 16:24:23

Feb 11, 2019 - 5:05:27 PM
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figmo59

USA

28502 posts since 3/5/2008

As far as I can see...

The Joneses...ain't up to me standards...


Some of the finest people that I have evah knowen.. were far from rich...

Honest kind hearts...

Not all the Joneses.. have got that much............ :0/

Feb 11, 2019 - 5:33:58 PM
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oly

USA

1256 posts since 5/27/2006

Well my wife and I live in a double wide mobile home, we've raised two kids and two grand kids. We now own our house and property outright, plus a lot next door to us. I feel we are the richest people in our neighborhood. I still shovel snow for our neighbors and they do the same for me. One neighbor mowed my lawn after I'd had hernia surgery. We are just your normal blue collar neighborhood. We look out for each other.

Feb 11, 2019 - 5:36:11 PM
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265 posts since 4/22/2018

I've never had neighbours treat me the same way as yours have mander, even if I lived next door, I'd be distancing myself from anyone who wanted to treat me like that. Money doesn't come into the equation, I suspect some have more than me but no one seems to take income into account or use it as a leverage tool. I learned a valuable lesson a couple of years ago when an 80 year old neighbour asked me to,pick up a sack of compost from the garden centre for her, it was less than $4 and when I dropped it off I tried to tell her it was ok and forget the cash - she insisted that she pay because if she didn't, she would feel like she couldn't ask me for a favour again... Made perfect sense to me after she put it that way. We all put each other's bins out, clear snow, look out for our young kids etc but when it comes to money, it's all up front and even Stevens.

Feb 11, 2019 - 5:54:47 PM

Brian T

Canada

14905 posts since 6/5/2008

I don't care what the neighbors think. Plus they're unsociable at the best of times. Some of them are really wealthy but again, I don't care how they live. They only live for themselves, never to lend a helping hand.
I can cover all my costs with some left over. I feel secure, that's enough.

I've met the financial whiners. Nothing is ever good enough. Short arms and deep pockets.
One time, the old man and his spawn were arguing about the brand of stereo to put in the new combine. That was my cue to go home.

Feb 11, 2019 - 6:03:19 PM
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bubbalouie

Canada

11860 posts since 9/27/2007

Mander I was going to post about Chinese elm on your hedge thread.

My Grandfather grew it & it was easy to root the branches in a bucket of water.

Horse high & hog tight. You need a sturdy hedge trimmer.

Good fences make good neighbours. 

We keep an eye out for each other around here.

Feb 11, 2019 - 7:36:06 PM
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chuckv97

Canada

37997 posts since 10/5/2013

I always prefer to live in the slums so’s I can feel better than my neighbours

Feb 11, 2019 - 9:22:29 PM

Brian T

Canada

14905 posts since 6/5/2008

It's become a little bit of a joke here. The 'Jonses' are dead.
I had reason to claim that the north end of this village was the "mature" end.
Dead geezers and live geezers, maybe 0.5 people per house on each street.
Thing is, it's very quiet and all the living expect it to stay that way.

I think that we are all well-to-do in the sense that we can live within our means.
My trees are the biggest for more than a block in any direction.
Bring your own chair. Don't ask for permission to sit in the shade and have a beer.

Feb 12, 2019 - 2:20:57 AM
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phb

Germany

1537 posts since 11/8/2010

I just know that when I'll be rich, I'll have a house so big that I'll have no neighbours because the nearest place will be so far away.

Feb 12, 2019 - 3:30:31 AM
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2810 posts since 12/6/2009

All I can say is, thank god God gave me a good pair of hands and a strong back and a pea brain large enough to repair things.,,,
Adding to what Steve had said, there was a time when neighbors helped neighbors and good for Steve he still has those neighbors. My neighbors now since I moved from Cow Town are lucky they can open a can of tuna fish without help. All day around this neighborhood I see commercial vehicles…Plumbing, Electrical, Roofers, and Gutter Cleaners, etc. etc. and 80% don’t even mow their own lawns. Their kids are carted to Soccer, Hockey, and d Tennis. No kid is ever seen outside playing in the dirt. I asked a neighbor once one summer because I hadn’t seen his kid around….she said, he spends all day on the computer…eessshhh (summer time ?). Another neighbor found out I played Banjo and asked if I could teach her son as he liked the sound of Banjo. I talked to him for a half hour about what’s involved but I could at least show him how to get started and lent him a banjo. He brought it back a week later and said “it’s too difficult” and I had only showed him chords.
“Times are a changing” it seems money is the driving force to life. Life would seize if there were no dollar bills.
My favorite Osborne Brothers line….. “How many girls today churn butter, how many do you know who might know how”.
You can tell what money has done by what is available all around in the way of human needs that are now stocked on shelves.

Feb 12, 2019 - 4:51 AM

mbuk06

England

7110 posts since 10/5/2006

Neighbours still help each other round here.

I can understand where Mander's question is coming from because social research does indicate that our sense of wellbeing is partly informed by comparison with those around us.

But for that to be a 'useful' comparison we have to examine what people are comparing; almost invariably a dull lack of imagination means that comparison is with what we 'see'- the outward display of 'status' not the far less accessible intimate, inner sense of contentment: happiness and wellbeing. That material aspect is a very poor indicator of anything other than a person's need to project which is itself a negative indicator in relation to their capacity for intimacy. In our society material display is a more accurate indicator of a persons level of debt. And in our highly insecure modern workplaces where significant exposure to debt can turn in an instant from an apparent 'status' to a volatile and destructive financial millstone. How many times do we need to see the tragic narrative replayed of the consequence of loss (or even the potential of loss) on those apparently 'confident' yet acutely vulnerable individuals who measure everything in terms of their visible status? That it is one of the clearest precursors to suicide and violence inflicted on family in those individuals and should tell us all we need to know.

Sensible people form communities, through which help their neighbours, are helped in return and understand that external comparsion with material circumstance has no meaning.

Edited by - mbuk06 on 02/12/2019 05:06:13

Feb 12, 2019 - 5:30:30 AM
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4924 posts since 9/16/2004

Nope, I'm not Jealous of the wealth of others and am thankful for what I've been blessed with.

However, I do despair over the plight of the homeless and the abused. 

Edited by - Frisco Fred on 02/12/2019 05:32:45

Feb 12, 2019 - 6:50:33 AM
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68063 posts since 5/9/2007

I don't have any idea how much my neighbors are worth.That doesn't enter into my relationship with them...they're just people with their own good and bad points.

Feb 12, 2019 - 11:45:09 AM
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Paul R

Canada

10955 posts since 1/28/2010

I didn't have to keep up with the Joneses. I married one.

Feb 12, 2019 - 4:23:45 PM

8797 posts since 8/22/2006

Keeping up with the Jones's well if you are trying to keep up with my family you would have to have a family of six with a father who worked a a gas station all his life we lived in 235 federal government housing. If it wasn't for a determined mom to push  us kids to work,cutting yards during summer there would have been no new clothes to ware the next school year. Ok so my childhood wasn't the best but we didn't go hungry nor without a roof over our heads but the experience taught me to be glad of what you got there is always someone worse off than you and payoff your debt. Borrowing money is not wise and save even if it's a little over time that little will be a lot. Being frugal is not a bad thing saying no to reckless spending. At my age I retired house and cars are paid for now if my health will hold out to collect my meager 401 savings.

Edited by - 5B-Ranch on 02/12/2019 16:31:37

Feb 12, 2019 - 6:08:03 PM
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Brian T

Canada

14905 posts since 6/5/2008

What about the people who "appear" to be rich until you learn that it's all credit?
They get wiped out, flying too close to the flame. They never quit. All hat and no cattle.

Feb 12, 2019 - 6:36:38 PM
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Chris Meakin

Australia

2130 posts since 5/15/2011

The houses either side of us are rented. The two up the back are owner-occupied. We (and the neighbors to some extent) just had the dilapidated 30 year old wooden fence replaced with 2.1m high steel colorbond fencing. I've heard some horror stories regarding shared fencing costs, but I found organising this job was really quite easy. I have no idea what my neighbours are worth, but I'm glad they're pretty easy going. The owner of one of the rented houses is so impressed with the job, as is her new neighbour, they are both getting a full fencing job done.

Feb 13, 2019 - 12:17:54 AM
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265 posts since 4/22/2018

My neighbours are sheep. Makes for some pretty dull over the garden fence conversations but on the whole being rounded up into a trailer and taken to the abbatoir thing, I do feel slightly smugly superior.

Feb 14, 2019 - 11:47:05 PM

3806 posts since 9/9/2010

In PA, we have gotten some not so nice comments since we have some things that are not common for the area. One way to keep up is to try to intimidate others to make yourself feel better, I assume, based on this.

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