Oh social media…what a blessing it has been to us, right? Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok have created a plethora of ways to connect with family, friends, start businesses, create extra income (or a full-time job), and have changed how we interact in society.
However, social media can also magnify insecurities, reduce productivity, and create unnecessary drama and stress in your life. In fact, social media can actually affect our finances and our budgets!
See how social media can affect your personal finance and see if you can do small things daily to not let social media deter you from your financial goals!
The Comparison Game
Picture it: you’re mindlessly scrolling Instagram and you see the latest post from a friend of a friend who is on (another) vacation…this time to the Maldives! Ugh, and you’re sitting on your couch, eating Chinese food, regretting your career, your salary, and your life situation.
Now, instead of enjoying your Chinese takeout (that you budgeted for), you’re comparing yourself to this “friend.” Comparing your job, comparing your life, and comparing your goals…all because you were scrolling.
Social media means you’re thinking about how to have a life like that person…in the Maldives. Even when you may have just come back from a vacation, such as Cabo San Lucas, Mexico…in your mind, it’s not the Maldives, so that trip to Cabo is now considered “basic.”
Instead of enjoying your evening, you’re thinking how to “top” this friend’s trip to the Maldives and how to finance a trip that may be out of your budget at the moment. What an unfortunate way to think…
Social media has the tendency to minimize our own accomplishments by getting us to compare our lives to others’ and feeling like we don’t measure up to friends, social media influencers, or celebrities.
“Comparison is the Thief of Joy” isn’t just a nice quote that is shared on Instagram (haha); it really does rob you of the joy of accomplishment, the joy of choosing yourself, the joy of putting your goals first.
Keeping Up with the Joneses
Now picture this: you’ve set an amazing budget (done by City Girl Savings, of course), you’re happy with your career and salary (with goals for leveling up professionally), and you’re saving and investing!
Then all of a sudden, you open up Instagram and see a girlfriend from college holding up a “Officially a Homeowner” sign with the keys to her own condo…while you’re still renting—saving for a down payment, but still renting.
What if you see someone else from childhood who is posting a picture of their brand new car, which happens to be the newest model that you’ve been eyeing? What feelings does this usually bring upon you?
Unfortunately, too many people feel like they have to constantly “one up” people on their social feed, to make themselves seem more significant.
Having a Birkin bag means nothing if you don’t have that same amount in the bag (or in your bank account). Maxing out your credit card for a trip for “the Gram” means nothing if you come home to bills that are past due and debt collector calls.
Stay in your lane and your budget…trust me, trying to keep up with the Joneses will keep you broke. Honestly, sometimes even the Joneses have maxed credit cards and no savings!
YOLO and FOMO
In 2022, I’m not sure how many people are still using the phrase “YOLO” (You Only Live Once), but people are still very much still suffering from FOMO, the Fear of Missing Out.
We’ve all been there. Your friends want to go on a girls’ trip, or go see your favorite artist in concert, or check out the trendy new rooftop bar downtown. However, those expenses are not aligned with your City Girl Savings budget or your personal financial goals.
But because we do not want to be the odd one out, we do these things anyway because we don’t want to see pics of our friends without us at these events.
How about this: You’ve been saving, you’ve been making your monthly financial goals, you’re doing all the smart “adult” things with your finances. You’re also feeling like you do not have any space for fun in your budget.
As a way to “treat yourself” for making smart financial choices, you decide to go all out on a shopping spree at your favorite online boutique…because you feel like you deserve it, or have earned it. This may feel good at the moment, but then you realize you spent way more than you anticipated, then the guilt starts to kick in.
This is a cycle that a lot of us put ourselves through…thinking that we deserve to live in the moment and not think of the possible consequences of our brief YOLO moments, because you see everyone else on social media having fun.
Hinder Your Earning Potential
Here’s something that not a lot of people like to talk about, but let’s be honest; a lot of us check our social media while we are working during the day, which can be a huge distraction.
Not just from a productivity standpoint: it can also be a distraction from performing your job at your highest potential by decreasing your focus.
In addition, since most of us check social media on our phones (that’s attached to our hips), sometimes we neglect “recharging our mental batteries” and replacing actual rest and relaxation with mindless scrolling. This can lead to increased anxiety, lower focus, and dim your creative juices.
Yes, as someone with a marketing background, we know exactly what we’re doing! Those Target ads that just mysteriously pop up on your newsfeed after you just had the slight thought of Target…not done by accident, quite the opposite.
Platforms like Facebook and Instagram use targeted advertisements to market products directly to you. This is based on demographics, such as age, location, Google search history, and gender.
The more you like, comment, swipe, and scroll, the more these ads are retargeted to get you to buy more things that you do not need or have not budgeted for.
All in all, social media can, has, and will always be a great way for us to connect, learn, and grow. However, it is important to realize that your actual savings and budget is much more important than “showing” your followers that you can spend like they do.
Related: 5 Tips to Make Saving for Money Goals Fun
Have you noticed that social media affects your spending? How do you deal with it? Let us know in a comment below, and be sure to join us over in our City Girl Savings group on Facebook!
The CGS Team