Social media is a multi-billion-dollar industry where ordinary people become overnight sensations and companies cash in on people’s apparently insatiable need to be constantly connected.
The many different platforms have enhanced our lives by making us feel connected and that our opinion matters. Yet what if all this sharing has a dark side?
How to tell if social media is causing you to spend more than just time
Here are some questions to determine if your overspending is caused by social media.
- Do you constantly check to see what your friends bought?
- Are you spending more time than usual on social media?
- Do you feel anxious, jealous or dissatisfied with life after checking social media?
It used to be just the neighbors and co-workers some people tried to keep up with or outdo. Now it’s everyone in your social circles, posting about their latest luxury cruise “just because” or posting beautiful pictures of their latest $100,000 kitchen remodel on Pinterest. It might not even be people you “know,” just people you follow (and envy) online.
This might not even be a conscious choice; you might be overspending just to keep up appearances. You might splurge on a $2,000 sofa because you saw one online, even though it’s way out of your budget. You think it is OK because of the special financing, but you can quickly get in trouble if you miss even one payment, because the interest starts accruing from the day of your purchase. Suddenly that $2,000 sofa balloons into $3,000, and you are still paying on it for months or years after you bought it. (This debt isn’t just adding up interest — it could also be harming your credit. You can find out by reviewing your free credit report summary on Credit.com.)
Resentment could be another byproduct of social media. You see all the seemingly perfect people online and you wonder why your life isn’t like that. You feel like it’s not fair, so you spend the $600 you managed to save for your emergency fund on one wild shopping spree. Then when a true emergency occurs, you have nothing left besides a few cool posts on Facebook and some new clothes or furnishings.
The truth is, you don’t know everything behind the photos and posts. The couple with the gorgeous beach house, two perfect kids and adorable puppy? Their finances could be in worse shape than yours. You only get to see the surface or mask they choose to post. Basing your own desires on what you perceive is like falling for the Wizard of Oz’s tricks. It’s time to see what’s behind the curtain.
Facebook funding scams
How do you turn it around? First, How to Clean Up Your Credit Report
This article originally appeared on Credit.com.