Only Judge Your Financial Progress Against Yourself

The author of one personal finance blog I read paid 100% cash for her house.  Another managed to pay her house off years early; she is 31 and owns her home outright.  Me and my husband?  We are still renting and haven’t yet even earmarked a house fund.

I watch Suze Orman every Saturday night.  It is one of my guilty pleasures.  I routinely see couples my husband’s and my age who are bringing in $10,000 to $12,000 a month.  Right now, because I made the choice to stay home, we are bringing in about $2,100 a month.  In her “How Am I Doing Segment” I often see couples our age who have $400,000 to $500,000 set aside for retirement.  We do have a retirement fund, though it is not nearly as large as that.

If you read many personal finance blogs, you will see authors in all sorts of financial straits.  A few are digging their way out of enormous debt.  However, some are paying cash for everything and achieving great financial goals.

I used to compare myself to the other bloggers, but I realized that was harmful.  Either I was jealous that other people were doing so well, or I felt superior to others who were struggling more than we are.  Neither emotion is productive.  Neither feeling helps me improve my life.

So now I have made it a goal to only compare to myself, to only look at the progress our family has made.  I have created a chart to record all of the money I am earning working at home.  My goal is to make a little bit more each month than I made the month before.  Then I know I am learning and growing and succeeding.

I shared this post at Life as Mom.


  1. You’re so right thank you for the reminder.

  2. I don’t compare myself to other bloggers but I do use them as inspiration.
    If I see someone doing well I feel really pleased for them because to a certain extent I feel like we’re all in this together…to improve our finances for the better.

    Great post 🙂

    • That is another good way to think about it. (I wish I always had such positive thoughts, but I must admit that I sometimes don’t.)

  3. I definitely know what you mean! It is so easy to slip into that comparison stage. I love this post!

  4. Great post! There is nothing productive about comparing ourselves to other people, but I try to learn from other people, that is why I follow so many successful bloggers. I think I know which blogger you are talking about and I follow her because she is so goal oriented and focused. She has a lot to offer that I can learn from and I’m not talking about learning hot to get the best deal at Target, but more about productivity, goals, blogging, etc.

    • I agree. If we are talking about the same blogger, she has done a fabulous job, and I do have a lot to learn from her. Some times, though, I get a bit bummed that I am more than 10 years older than her and we don’t have a house yet. That is when I need to remind myself to only compare to my own progress.

  5. I sooo needed to read this today! We’re a large family of 6 living on a low-income & rent our home also. I routinely see PF bloggers saving “extra” to their savings accounts that are equal compared to what we bring in every month! But I try to be thankful for what we have and save what we can! All you can do!

    • We are also a family of six and Yes it is hard not to compare to a family of 4 or 5. I loved ready this post today because it is what I needed after the few set backs we have had. I start the day with the what I am thankful for today list and do the same thing at night. It helps to focus on the blessing for your family.

  6. You are so true! And this is just what I needed to hear today. We are a family of 4, renters, lower than average income and it was bothering me that we couldn’t save more or didn’t have a house. Thank you for the reminder that I need to look at what steps we are taking with OUR financial journey!

  7. If Mrs. BP and I compared ourselves to just about anyone else we would be particularly jealous. We have more debt than anyone we can think of (other than the U.S. government, lol). We just have to hope we can keep our jobs and keep paying it off, one day at a time. Our salaries are good so we have a fighting chance, at least. Thanks for the reminder that we are all on our own paths, and all trying to help each other the best we can.

  8. What great advice! I love your idea to figure out if a feeling improves your life or not.
    My husband dreads when I go over to certain friends’ houses because he knows I’m going to come home wanting to re-decorate or upgrade appliances. I call it inspiration, he calls it expensive (and usually says “no”).
    We also say “Stay out of Circuit City” because whenever I go to a store like Best Buy or Home Depot, I come home wanting all kinds of new gadgets and such. Things I didn’t know I “needed” until I saw them.
    Thank you for the reminder today!!

  9. Thanks for this post! I can find myself comparing to others in MANY areas of my life and it is not good!

    I agree with Krista that I get inspired by those bloggers. In fact, I wasn’t really interested in dealing with my money issues until I read how other people were taking charge of their money. It was one of the bloggers that you mentioned that got me to wake up.

    However, our successes will all be different. We are all in a better place for taking control vs. letting life pass us by. That might mean a 100% paid for house or $50 in a savings account. It’s all good! 🙂

  10. I saw your blog through “The Saved Quarter,” and I think I have read all your entries! What you have written here is very valid. My Dad always used to say to me that there will always be someone better than you, and you will be better than someone else. That’s life, and it doesn’t do any good to fret or dwell on it!

    That said, I only find myself reading a handful of finance blogs. I gravitate more toward decorating ones. What I see so often is an absolute obsession with money, whether one has a lot or little. I realize that we live in a real world and balance must be achieved, but it is disturbing nonetheless. I think that some live and breathe money!

    We won’t take a penny with us when we cross to the other side! We can’t serve God AND mammon.

  11. PREACH IT SISTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And please please please never believe that every caller into Suze Ormans show is telling the truth. I could call in tomorrow and say ” I have a million in my retirement accounts and I make $10k a month..” It would sound good, it would also be a lie. Her show would be less “entertaining” if she got calls like ” well, I have $10 til payday and I will have to work til I die…… you think I can afford to go to the grocery store this week??”

    Seriously, like everything in life, there are those with more and many many many more with less.

  12. Thanks for sharing this. It is exactly what I needed to hear. I too get down when I think about how far we are behind compared to some of the blogs. They are inspiring, but I try take them in small doses.

  13. Great post. It’s something we should all remember. We live in a small town and most of my friend’s husbands are physicians. Mine is not- he is a small business owner and makes are nice living but no where near a physician. It was hard at first trying not to compare myself to them – going to their homes and seeing that mine could fit in theirs – stuff like that. As you get to know people you realize that things aren’t always as they seem. Most of them have more debt than we do- not including their homes. I had to realize that we are working with less and that’s okay – we work hard to pay off our debts so we can be debt free very soon – we’re doing what we can with what we have and that’s all that matters.

    I also watch Suze Orman every Sat night. It’s takes an effort to not compare. We’re all different.

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