Instagram has become a minefield of ads and influencers selling products that you didn’t even know you needed.
And social media has made online shopping even easier than it already was. Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, and now TikTok, have integrated shopping links into ads and posts in an attempt to build their e-commerce business—and to get you to spend.
If you’ve ever purchased something from an Instagram ad, you’re not alone. In fact, 57% of millennials have spent money they hadn’t planned to spend based on something they saw on social media, according to a 2018 study from Allianz Life Insurance. Shopping online also lessens the “pain of paying,” because it can all seem so easy to buy something these days, often without even taking out your credit card.
What is impulse spending?
An unplanned decision to buy something on the spot.
With the temptation to add that virtual shirt to your cart higher than ever, here are five ways to curb your appetite for “social spending.”
- Clear your credit card information from your phone. Even if you get all the way to the checkout stage of the social media shopping rabbit hole, you still have to find your credit card and type out the information before you submit your order. If your credit card information auto-fills, that is one fewer barrier to making that impulse purchase. Try clearing your credit card history from your internet settings.
- Be careful with digital wallets, which store your passwords and card information digitally on your phone. They’re becoming increasingly popular, allowing you to pay in seconds, often with just the tap of your phone. If you use a digital wallet, consider adding just your debit card, which will take money directly from your checking account.
- Set a limit for the amount of time you spend on apps. U.S. consumers spent 74 minutes per day on social media in 2018. Android phones and iPhones let you set time limits on phone usage, and for specific apps.
- Mute people who make you feel inferior. Millennials—55% of them—experience the “fear of missing out,” or FOMO, according to the same Allianz Life Insurance survey, and 88% of millennials said that their FOMO is exacerbated by social media. To minimize FOMO, and the desire to spend money, think about muting or unfollowing the people who never seem to wear the same outfit twice, or who are always going out to dinner.
- Indulge in a different social media vice. Maybe you like to shop on social media before you go to bed or while you’re on your lunch break. While quitting your social media vice cold turkey might be preferable, you may want to switch to another social media vice that doesn’t cost anything. Consider replacing your social media shopping routine with a quick binge of Dr. Pimple Popper videos or a deep dive of the number of comedians making videos on Instagram.
Consideration: It’s okay to splurge once in a while. You can work an occasional Instagram purchase into the discretionary spending part of your budget. Having an actual dollar that you designate for splurges can help.
Of course, the best way to put a stop to social media spending is to delete all of your social media accounts. But if that sounds impossible, consider putting on some of the speed brakes we’ve just discussed.