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Fighting Facebook Envy

Have you ever noticed that your Facebook friends always seem to be going on great vacations, checking in at various sporting/cultural events, posting pictures of delicious-looking restaurant food, “liking” various stores, and, at the moment, pining over the soon-to-be-released iPhone 5? It’s enough to make you feel like you’re the only one in your circle of friends not¬†spending a boatload of money on random shit you don’t need.

It’s easy to start feeling a little down on yourself. You wonder, “are my friends making more money than me?” or “they seem so happy spending money, maybe by saving so aggressively I’m the crazy one missing out on life.” Stop it immediately, lest you start feeling so bad for yourself that you go out and spend $400 on an iPhone 5! Remember these two simple facts:

1) They are probably not making so much more money than you are that they can afford to save as much as you are¬†and go on nice vacations and buy expensive things. Whether they realize it or not, they are tacitly saying “I don’t mind working a few extra years so I can afford to buy every new gadget and gizmo as soon as it comes out.” Your goal is financial freedom, right? You don’t want to have to work, you want to reach the point where work is optional as soon as possible. Keep your end goal in mind – buying Apple’s latest devices as soon as they come out and going on European vacations twice a year every year will delay financial independence. But more importantly…

2) You have hundreds, if not thousands, of Facebook friends. If it seems like your friends are always spending money, that’s because they are – as a whole. At any point in time, at least a few of your hundreds of friends are going to be on vacation, eating at nice restaurants, going to concerts, and buying fancy gadgets. Because you’re always seeing posts about these extravagant experiences/purchases, it may seem like all of your friends are always spending money. But if you look at the individual walls of your friends, you’ll probably see that each individual is not always spending money.

2 Responses to Fighting Facebook Envy

  1. With Apple and all the hoopla surrounding the IPhone 5, you can always be the contrarian to your friends and invest in AAPL stock instead ;)

    I know what you mean about the posts, as my brother also likes to do a lot of that. But what a lot of people don’t know is he gets to travel a lot for work, and he accumulates a lot of frequent flyer millage/hotel, so his personal vacations are basically free.

    You’re probably also right about the many who do in fact spend almost all their savings on extravagance. But they will surly pay the price later!

    • That’s a good point – you never know if someone is traveling for work, or if they got some new gadget for a discounted price, or if they used a coupon or gift card to go out to eat. There are a lot of ways to rationalize why your friends’ behavior isn’t necessarily a sign that they’re overspending. (Though I have a feeling most of the time they are in fact overspending ;) )

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