It’s easy to feel like everyone has more money than you. We live in a world of conspicuous consumption, where people flaunt everything from fancy cars to designer clothes to luxury vacations both in real life and on social media. But whenever I feel like everyone is rich but me, I try to take a step back and put things into perspective.
Real Talk: Not Everyone Is as Rich as You Think They Are
There are so many people in this world who are struggling financially — they just don’t share it on their social media accounts. According to new data from Nitro, 80.9% of baby boomers, 79.9% of Gen Xers and 81.5% of millennials are in debt. There are also 39.7 million Americans who live in poverty, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau. It’s the pressure people feel to appear wealthy that drives so many of us to spend above our means — there’s a saying my grandpa always repeated: “A fool and his money are soon parted.”
I try to always remember that things aren’t as they appear when it comes to how much money people have. Some of my own family members who were extremely wealthy appear to be the poorest if you judged them by their car, home, etc. That just shows that you should never judge a book (or a bank account) by its cover.
What To Do When You Start Feeling Financially Sorry for Yourself
Even if you rationally know that everyone isn’t richer than you, it’s still hard not to feel that way sometimes. Here are some steps to take to prevent those negative feelings.
1. Limit Your Use of Social Media
One easy way to get discouraged is to start comparing yourself or your life to someone else’s. It’s hard in the day of social media not to think everyone is killing it. That’s why I limit the time I spend on social sites. Allow yourself to check your accounts only a certain amount of times per day — ideally only once or twice — and stop mindlessly scrolling at every chance you get.
2. Help Those Who Are Less Fortunate
Another great thing to do when you’re feeling sorry for yourself financially is to go and help someone less fortunate than yourself. I’ve made a point to volunteer and help others as much as I can. It’s something my dad would always tell me to do whenever I got down about my life. Not only does this help put your own situation in perspective, but it’s a rewarding experience that will improve your mood.
3. Boost Your Income
It almost goes without saying, but one of the best ways to feel richer is to actually be richer. Although this seems easier said than done, there are plenty of things you can do to make more money. Pick up a side hustle during your downtime that allows you to monetize your skills and interests. This can be anything from driving for a rideshare company to bartending to walking dogs to freelance writing. Learn new skills that make you more of an asset at work, and negotiate a raise — or move to a different company that will pay you more. If you feel like you have more earning potential working for yourself than for a company, take the leap and start your own business. These changes — big and small — can add up to more dollars in your wallet.
4. Stay Focused On Your Own Goals and Accomplishments
I work hard every day to stay positive and focused on the goals I’ve set for myself, and remember how lucky I am to have so many wonderful things in my life. The greatest thing a person can do to help themselves have the life they dream about is to chase the wins in their life and focus on the positive.
Click through to see 101 ways to make money without a 9-to-5.
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Gabrielle Olya contributed to the reporting for this article.