Keeping Up With The Joneses - The Dollar Stretcher
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The Dollar Stretcher blog will explore people and money.

Keeping Up With The Joneses

Saw an interesting movie the other night. Normally it wouldn't have caught my attention, but the subject is more than appropriate for Dollar Stretchers. It's called "The Joneses" starring Demi Moore and David Duchovny. The plot revolves around Moore and Duchovny who parent the typical upper-middle income family. The trick is that they're not really a family. Rather they're a pretend family that has been hired to move into a neighborhood and conspicuously consume in an effort to encourage others to spend more. They rave about how various purchases have made them happier and are measured by how much consumption goes up in the neighborhood.

Dollar Stretchers won't be surprised at how the story ends. I won't spoil it, but will say that all the supposed consumer related happiness fades when the reality of debt begins to hit home.

Although the plot seems strange at first, it's really not that far removed from companies who try to get 'first responders' to adopt their products and then influence those in their social circle.

It's far from the best movie I've seen this year, but was an interesting view. You might enjoy it, too (but, fair warning, it's probably not appropriate for your children).

Keep on Stretching those Dollars!




Jaymie said:

Just watched the movie this week-end.... free borrow from the library (not counting the tax dollars paid to the town I live in which support the library  :).  It just takes one or two incidents for a so-called perfect life to unravel, and those incidents don't have to be catastrophic either.  

In real life how does conspicuous consumption make you feel?  Envious?  Happy?  Filled with anger?  A longing for a different life?  Wonder at what others homes look like?  Wonder at what others lives look like?  Are they really as they appear or are they hiding a secret too?  

It's a fluffy movie, but it made me think about the lives of soccer moms, executive dads, distant grandparents.  What are your thoughts?

August 15, 2011 11:05 AM

Gary said:

I feel sorry for people who try to keep up with the Joneses. The game is set up so that they CANNOT win. No matter how much they acquire, there will always be something that they don't own yet. And smart marketers are creating more things for them to buy each day. So even if your debt doesn't overwhelm you (which is quite likely for most of us), you've gotten on a treadmill with no end. And, the pursuit of all those things makes it harder to do what's important in life. Exploring the world around you and sharing your life with loved ones.

August 15, 2011 3:14 PM

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About Gary

For more than 25 years, Gary Foreman has worked to manage money effectively. Prior to starting The Dollar Stretcher, he was a financial planner and purchasing manager. While helping clients manage their hard earned money as a financial planner, he applied commonsense, time-tested techniques during the turbulent 1980’s. The experience convinced him that you didn’t need to hit the lottery to accumulate significant wealth. Following that, Gary had an opportunity to learn more about how to get the best value for a dollar spent in the corporate world. As the Purchasing Manager for a computer manufacturer, he was responsible for supervising over $10 million in annual purchases. Gary began The Dollar Stretcher website <www.TheDollarStretcher.com> and newsletters in April 1996. Over 300,000 readers benefit from the time and money saving ideas presented in The Dollar Stretcher newsletters each week. His mission is to help people "Live Better for Less". He also provides private label newsletters for companies wishing to provide money saving information for their clients and/or prospects. Gary lives in Florida along with his wife of thirty years and their two children. Much of his time is spent working with the men's ministry of his church. One of their ongoing projects is the "Holy Smoke BBQ" which sells bbq on Friday nights with the profits going to support local foster kids and orphans. When he has a free moment you’ll find him restoring a Checker station wagon nicknamed “Two Ton” or cruising in a '65 Impala SS Convertible with doo-wops playing in the background.

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Gary is a former financial planner and purchasing manager who edits The Dollar Stretcher website <www.stretcher.com> and newsletters. You can follow Gary on Twitter.com/gary_foreman
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