Consumer Watch: Compare yourself to others and save money

Taking a closer look at how others spend and save their money can help fix your finances. (file)

Trying to figure out if you are on the correct financial track is tough. You are often told not to compare yourself to others, but you can use comparisons to your advantage. This doesn't mean you need to keep up with the Joneses.

Maybe you have developed a budget and do save some money every month, but you aren't sure it is enough. Asking your friends what they are doing, could help you get an answer according to Bankrate's Robert Barba.

“Comparing yourself financially can really help you curb bad behavior and can improve your savings habits as well, “says Barba, a Bankrate contributor.

Amy Welch with the Oklahoma Society of Certified Public Accountants says comparing does work, but you should be cautious over who you are comparing yourself with.

“The problem comes with trying to make sure that you are aligning yourself with the right people, “says Welch.

If you are comparing your savings with friends or family around your age, make sure you have similar income levels. Also, try not to get too discouraged if you are not where you want to be right now.

“The important thing is to try to curb your habits where you can, save what you can, spend less, “says Barba.

Friends with similar goals, can help each other reach them.

Welch says if you are not sure who to compare yourself to, another option is to see a CPA-- or certified public accountant. A professional can tell you where you stand, and how to reach your goals.

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