Forget the Joneses. Keep up with the Smiths, their frugal neighbors.

We've all heard of 'keeping up with the Joneses.' But maybe its time for a new, more frugal family to enter the lexicon. 

Melanie Stetson Freeman
AndrŽe Collier Zaleska works in her garden in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston in 2011. Hamm recommends 'keeping up with the Smiths' – neighbors interested in community involvement and friendships, rather than flashy possessions.

We’ve all heard the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses.” I think it’s time to add a new but similar phrase to the lexicon.

The Smiths are the frugal family you know.

They don’t drive the new car. They drive an older one.

They don’t wear flashy new clothes. In fact, the husband seems to often be wearing the same suit. It’s a nice suit, but it’s not the latest, sharpest thing.

They’re often at community events. Sometimes they seem to have some kind of role in helping put that event on.

They seem to know lots of people in the community. In fact, you know them because they introduced themselves to you one of the first times you ever saw them and they often say hello to you.

Their house is usually an older one that’s well maintained and, if you ask them, you’d be very unsurprised to find that it’s paid for. They usually have a garden, too.

This profile immediately brings to mind a few people in my area. They’re wonderful people, each of them. They go out of their way to help others, to know them, and to make them comfortable.

Almost always, people like this turn out to be the ones with a lot of money in the bank or are well along the road to getting there.

The thing is, they’re just not flashy.

Keeping up with the Joneses means accumulating gadgets and shiny new things. Keeping up with the Smiths means focusing on accumulating net worth.

Keeping up with the Joneses means having the right associates. Keeping up with the Smiths means having lots of friends.

Keeping up with the Joneses means never having enough because there’s always more that you can get. Keeping up with the Smiths happens when you realize you already have plenty.

I used to dream of being one of the Joneses. Any more, I’d be happy to be a Smith.

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