This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

The high cost of keeping up with the Joneses

In late 2004, Kim Parr and her family upgraded their lifestyle with a brand new home in a rural area. As an optometrist with a higher-than-average salary, it seemed like the natural thing to do. After all, Kim's husband had a secure (albeit lower-paying) job in education and their combined household income was finally in the six-figure range. They had earned it.

Unfortunately, the Parrs soon found that their new home needed much more than a roof and four walls. In fact, it desperately needed landscaping -- things like sod, trees, a sprinkler system, and fencing. Of course, their new yard required a certain amount of upkeep so they had to buy all kinds of lawn-care equipment, including a John Deere riding mower.

Those empty rooms needed furniture too, but garage sale finds weren't going to cut it in their brand new home. Of course, other expenses began to crop up as well, including things like hardware, curtains, and decorations.

But that wasn't all. Once they bought their new house, they splurged for shiny, new cars and chose to upgrade into a newer, shinier model every few years. Then there were things like mountain bikes and skis and trips to Las Vegas or Denver, along with whatever else the family wanted. From a distance, it looked like the Parrs were living the dream.

When the Joneses are broke

Despite outward appearances, the Parrs had a dirty little secret. In addition to perpetual car payments and $70,000 in student loans, they had managed to rack up almost $30,000 in credit card debt in just a few short years. "We just financed everything because we thought we could afford the payments," said Kim.

At a certain point, according to Kim, they had so many payments that all of their income was going toward them. They knew they had to change, so they did. Kim and her husband sat down together and created a plan to tackle their debts one by one. It all started with Kim taking a second job and funneling every cent she earned toward each balance until it was gone. They also created a budget and cut out any extra expenses that weren't furthering their goals.

The Parrs paid off every cent of their consumer debt over the course of a few years, and now they're debt-free aside from a small mortgage. She now blogs about her journey toward early retirement at ( get it?), and says she's much happier than she was when they had all the "stuff."

"Life is so much better without consumer debt," said Kim. "We worked hard to earn a good income. The difference now is that we have a purpose for that money, and it feels so much better to watch our net worth grow instead of seeing all the money go toward debt."

1 of 4

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $95.18 1.64%
FB $117.44 -0.95%
GOOG $692.33 -0.84%
TSLA $232.32 -3.92%
YHOO $36.02 -1.40%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,750.91 -140.25 -0.78%
S&P 500 2,063.37 -18.06 -0.87%
NASDAQ 4,763.2240 -54.37 -1.13%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs