Day 10: How To Stop Spending Money Trying To Impress Other People

“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.”  ~Will Smith

When attempting to live a frugal lifestyle there is one truth that we must accept…in order to stop useless spending, we have to stop trying to impress other people. From clothing to cars, neighborhoods and schools, gadgets and gifts, the pressure to impress others is there.

The problem is it’s often difficult to pin down exactly what it is that will impress someone. In our current society, fashions change so quickly, trends are in and out, and it’s quite possible that by the time you purchase that new gadget the next generation’s on the shelf a few days later. Now, because of this, if we’re not careful, we end up living our lives constantly disappointed. All the while, useless spending, debt, and jealously begin to take over.

And the saddest reality is, everyone else is trying just as hard to impress you that they don’t even notice all that you’re doing to impress them.

It’s a vicious cycle, isn’t it!

What truly impresses you about someone?

No doubt there are those people in your life that you are totally impressed by. But are you impressed by their material possessions or is it their creativity, character, and values that caught your eye?

If it is the unseen qualities of our lives that impress people the most, then what do we already have in our possession that we can use to make an impact without spending a dime? Here are a few suggestions to get you thinking:

  1. Give freely of your time and energy. There’s probably no better way to impress someone than to give of your precious time and energy without expecting anything in return.
  2. Prioritize family. When we prioritize our spouse and our children other people take notice and are genuinely impressed by our devotion. Spend time together, do things everyone enjoys, and invest in each others lives.
  3. Discover and develop you gifts. Do you know what impresses me? When people live out their passions. When they have discovered their God-given gifts and are working hard to develop them. We often refer to this as authentic living…I just call it “being you.” You are a very special, unique, one-of-a-kind individual, embrace it. 
  4. Put off consumerism. Stop trying to live like everyone else. Turn off the TV, reduce shopping trips, learn to do it yourself. Start talking about the homemade laundry soap you just made and the people around you will be impressed.
  5. Speak encouraging words. There are already so many negative and violent people in the world. Be different. Use every encounter you have with someone else to speak a word of positive encouragement into their life. Yes…even if you don’t really like him/her…find something nice to say.
  6. Find time to listen to others. I’m always impressed by those who listen. Just like all of you impress me everyday by listening to my crazy thoughts and ideas! No really…in our world where the ability to multi-task is king, find time to stop and listen. Put down the cell phone, turn off the TV and listen.
  7. Inspire. What if we cared more about inspiring others to greatness than we did impressing them? What then? How could that change our society? Let’s not try to impress others…let’s inspire them!

Now It’s Your Turn

Daily Goal:
Write down ways in which you can stop spending money trying to impress others.

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  1. We were invited to a friend’s 40th birthday party recently. 150 guests attended an a weeknight, some from 2 and 3 hours away. Person after person and her inlaws stood and told how this woman had blessed them and their family by her selfless giving of time and bringing meals when they were sick, and how they had changed themselves just by being her friend and seeing her life. THAT is what we should be striving for!

  2. I would love to see this as the new ‘Golden Rule’ for our society! Great post!

  3. I recently came across a lecture that discusses this, and how we view success.
    Here’s a quote from Alain de Botton:
    “What is a snob? A snob is anybody who takes a small part of you and uses that to come to a complete vision of who you are. That is snobbery. The dominant kind of snobbery that exists nowadays is job snobbery. You encounter it within minutes at a party, when you get asked that famous iconic question of the early 21st century, “What do you do?” And according to how you answer that question, people are either incredibly delighted to see you, or look at their watch and make their excuses. Now, the opposite of a snob is your mother.”

    the full talk can be found here:

  4. I absolutely love your posts that I get every day. I actually look forward to sitting down at my computer and checking to see your insight for the day. You have taught me so much, and I truly appreciate it. I feel like I am becoming a better wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. But of all your posts, this one is the most inspiring so far. I am printing this and posting it on my bulletin board to remind me of what life is really about. I try to strive for these things everyday, but it is nice to have a little reminder. Thank you again for the time you have put into your blog. You really are touching people and changing lives.

  5. Mary Chilcoat says:

    The quote was credited to Wil Smith but I’m pretty sure it was Wil Rogers who coined that wise phrase.

  6. Good ideas.
    Your quote is from Will Rogers, not Smith

  7. A very good read for everyone.

    Continue inspiring others. Remarkable.

  8. anonymous says:

    basically, after reading the list, it still boils down to treat others how you wish you would be treated by others… or more simply, do unto others as you would have done unto you
    or the other basic one.. try to notice what you admire most in a person, and practice THAT behavior..

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