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Here’s why social media is making you overspend

Last year, Lissette Calveiro went $10,000 USD into debt to become an Instagram Influencer.
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By now, there’s a good chance you’ve heard about Fyre Festival. The infamous event made front-page news back in 2017 and was the subject of two critically-acclaimed documentaries released this year.

In case you’re not up to date on the Fyre Festival; it may go down as the biggest social media flop ever.

Promoted as a luxury musical festival – with a sleek social media campaign starring Instagram models and YouTube influencers – Fyre Festival ended up a complete failure with attendees who paid thousands of dollars being offered cheese sandwiches and make-shift tents instead of the luxury food and accommodations that they were promised.

It’s clear that Frye Festival relied less on facts and more on social media and the power of FOMO (fear of missing out) to entice people to buy tickets. And while you may not have bought tickets to Fyre Festival yourself, there’s a good chance that social media and FOMO have tempted you to overspend in other ways.

As aspiring social media influencer Lissette Calveiro once said, “Nobody talks about finances on Instagram.” So, while browsing your online social media feeds, consider the following:

 

Those epic trip photos

Let’s be realistic, travel photos on Instagram are some of the best things out there. Sure, many of them are heavily edited, but for a brief second, you get transported to a new destination. This quick break from reality isn’t necessarily a bad thing either since it can serve as inspiration for your next trip.

The issue is when you take social media too far. Last year, Lissette Calveiro told the New York Post that she went $10,000 USD into debt because she wanted to become an Instagram Influencer. That money went towards clothing and trips just to make her Instagram profile look perfect. Anything for the ‘gram right?

That may seem excessive to most people, but some people do irrational things based on what they see on social media. It’s serious FOMO and sometimes people can’t help themselves.

While there’s nothing wrong with spending on travel, it’s important not to get swayed by social media alone and book travel plans impulsively. Instead, gradually build up a travel fund and put a percent of your income in it every month, comparison shop flight tickets, and search for travel hacks online that’ll help you save while abroad. You can also fast track your travel plans by using one of the best travel credit cards in Canada, many of which offer sign up bonuses and points on your everyday spending that can be redeemed for free flights or hotel stays. Be smart about your spending, pay off your bills every month, and you’ll be rewarded for it.

If you don’t currently have the money to travel, consider disconnecting from social media during prime vacation periods or unfollowing profiles that trigger your travel spending urges. Another tip; follow accounts such as @BrokeMillenial that offer advice on how to better manage your finances as well as motivational reminders about how you shouldn’t trust everything you see on social media. You could also follow fun social media accounts that post relatable memes about the money struggles we all share and poke fun at celebrity influencers to help bring them back down to earth.

 

Great photos, terrible food

Interestingly enough, there are many restaurants now that cater to social media as part of their business strategy. The reason is simple enough: get people talking on Instagram and you’ll get free advertising. In turn, you’ll get people through your door and tons of profit, right? Sure, it might be good for the short term, but if you’re serving food that isn’t very good, people aren’t going to come back after they’ve taken their photo.

While it makes sense for restaurants to try this strategy since we now live in a world where the amount of likes you get is important to some people, but this just proves that social media gets us to spend more money.

If you’re going to spend money on dining out, have a strategy in place. Keep a close eye on reviews to ensure you’re heading to restaurants for the quality of their food and not just for the buzz they’re making on social media. It’s also recommended you set a maximum budget that you can spend on food and drinks, opt for lunch plans instead of dinner for the cheaper menu options, and encourage a friend or partner to split a plate instead of spending on a menu item for just yourself. If you do regularly spend on restaurants, you can also equip yourself with one of the best cash back credit cards to pocket some extra savings on all your meals.

It’s also worth noting there are plenty of social media profiles that you can follow to encourage you to cook Instagram-worthy meals at home instead of paying a premium at expensive restaurants, such as Tasty and FoodNetwork.

 

Can social media make us spend less?

Oddly enough, social media can also encourage us to spend less. You may have seen a recent influx of images of folded clothes on your social media feeds posted by people inspired by Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix. As a tidying expert, Marie Kondo encourages people to declutter their homes. When people start going through all their stuff, they quickly realize that they’ve spent too much money on things and vow to change their ways.

How much do people spend on material things? Everyone is different, but there was one episode where the person featured had a collection of shoes which cost them over $20,000.

Sometimes people let their debt get out of control before they take their finances seriously. This can be a huge issue since the interest you pay on credit cards can wreck your budget. To get around this, you could apply for a balance transfer credit card since it would reduce the amount of interest you pay for a set period of time. Just make sure you’re paying down your debt ASAP.

 

Final thoughts

Intentionally or not, social media is a factor when it comes to our spending. It may influence where we spend our dollars, and, in some cases, it makes us overspend. Although it may appear that people on social media are having the time of their lives, it’s important to remember that they may be going into debt as a result.

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