Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay, and whether that's good or bad for your finances depends on how you use and react to what you see and share. Social media has brought us instant access to life hacks and inspiration. Along with those positives, it's brought temptation, debt, envy, and disappointment. Last year, 70% of Americans used social media, and that number will only grow. For better or worse, social media is affecting many people's finances.
4 Ways Social Media Can Hurt Your Finances
Most of us enjoy checking social media feeds to catch up with friends, family, and personal interests. Staying connected can be great, but it can also wreck your finances.
Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) when you scroll past friends doing exciting things or splashing out can make you want to spend more to do the same things. As many as 57% of millennials admitted they spent more than they could afford to keep up with friends, family, or celebrities on social media.
Social media's 24/7 environment means no matter when you check in, you'll have a string of new posts showing you everyone's new activities, purchases, and more. It's hard to rein in your spending when several friends are sharing the haul from their latest shopping sprees or great shots from their recent trips abroad.
Spending time on social media can be like a black hole that sucks you in and suddenly a couple of hours you could've used for a side hustle have disappeared.
Targeted Advertising & Special Offers
Companies know it's hard to resist the impulse to buy, and they set up their stores to make it even harder to resist. On social media, the stores you follow, like, and subscribe to can target advertising directly to you, so things you hadn't even thought about buying are suddenly in your face. With a discount. And free shipping. Who can resist?
4 Ways Social Media Can Help Your Finances
It's not all gloom and doom, though. Social media can also connect you with ways to save some money.
Deals & Discounts
Many stores offer discounts or special deals if you follow them on social media. For purchases which already fit into your budget, these offers can be a great help—as long as you don't buy past your budget with follow-up offers!
You can often use social media to buy and sell, especially in local groups, making you money or letting you buy for less.
Crowdfunding & Promotion
Social media is a natural, low-cost (or free) choice to alert people to crowdfunding opportunities or to spread the word about your business.
DIY and life hacks
DIY tips and life hacks are all over social media and using them smartly can save you in purchases and repairs.
Aim for FIRE
Don't let social media destroy your finances. The only person you need to keep up with is yourself, especially if you're aiming for FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early). You may not get to retire early, but you can keep your finances in better shape and still enjoy social media if you:
- Make a budget and stick to it.
- Set financial goals and realistic steps to get there.
- Save and contribute to retirement accounts whenever possible.
- When you're tempted to overspend to keep up, remind yourself how awful it feels when the bills come due.
- Think long-term and keep the big picture in mind.
- You do you. Don't worry what everyone else is doing.
If you are burdened with high amounts of credit card debt and are struggling to make your payments, or you’re just not seeing your balances go down, call Timberline Financial today for a free financial analysis.
Our team of highly skilled professionals will evaluate your current situation to see if you may qualify for one of our debt relief programs. You don’t have to struggle with high-interest credit card debt any longer.