Our obsession with social media is often seen as destroying our real-life social life, breaking the fourth wall between our perception of reality and the digital world, but have you ever thought about how social media hurts your wallet? It can be tasteless to give you the kind of FOMO that forces you to book a “necessary” holiday to St. Barths on your maximum credit card and live a great life like Shelley from accountants, whom you swear, always on exotic vacations. Or it could be as obvious as the Kardashians are actually screen salespeople for Fit Tea – something you’ve submitted to your pantry but still don’t really know what it’s going to do. This is how your social media habits can affect your wallet.
1. By creating a false perception of what your life will look like
Always being on social media can create a huge disconnect between what is real and what is carefully arranged. All in all, when you see shabby meals, cute outfits, and people’s lavish vacations scattered across your Facebook feed, it’s not by chance. Friends, family, acquaintances, and strangers you follow have struggled to capture and edit the perfect images without necessarily reflecting the reality of their lives. A constant chain of these can make you feel your life is somehow deprived – and it may be because you don’t buy coffee-making coffee every day, board a plane to some luxury beach location on weekends, or fill up your Gucci handbag cabinets and Louboutin pumps.
2. By encouraging aspirational spending
Since social media blurs the line between “need” and “want,” you may find yourself inspired to access things that are completely unnecessary – and not within your budget. When you think your life should be in some way based on what you see online, that can motivate you to start swinging money into things that don’t have a business. The non-real life you see online can encourage aspirational spending – i.e. spending on things you don’t need, is outside of your budget, but you feel your life will be in a certain way if you own them. “If I buy this cashmere twin, I’ll be the kind of person who wears cashmere twins together!”
3. You are constantly being made of products and you may not even realize
Sure, it’s clear that the Kardashians are selling you Fit Tea – they’ve pushed those things down your throat on social media. But what about all the celebrities and “famous on the instrument” or YouTube stars who specialize in producing more secret products? Whether your favorite beauty blogger is bragging about a new, expensive spotlight on Instagram or your favorite musician is Tweeting their pictures at a Nike event, virtually every product location you see on a person’s social media account with a large following is alight. Keep in mind that they are being paid an inappropriate amount of money to post this content – funded on the basis that you then go out and spend.
4. Those targeted ads are truly, truly incredible
Have you ever noticed how good Facebook is at filling your feed with the things you want to buy? Targeted ads on social media have boosted their game – Google is following you and things that you can, inevitably want to buy, are appearing in your targeted social media ads. While these ads used to be annoying and uns related, they are now boasting SALES handbags from the site you browsed three days ago. The temptation to buy is real on social media, where opportunities really show up before your eyes every time you log in and scroll.
5. Viral marketing makes you want to travel to another city just to eat a delicious bag phone
Even news stores are creating thirty-two videos designed to make you want to make a purchase, so much so that the concept of “virality” becomes huge. As a product or service becomes viral, your motivation to search and spend increases by an inmate. Viral marketing means quirky, trending products – the kind of things you never even know you need (hint, which means you don’t need) – into your daily life with ease. Without social media, you’ll be happy to never even heard of a cronut. But because of social media, you might have spent at least $5, or even up to $40 on one, right?