You can scroll through social media for entertainment, catharsis, or to just pass time. You might spend more money than you have.
According to a new NerdWallet study, 65% of Americans think that social media is responsible for the increase in overspending. Five tips for avoiding social media scrolling that can harm your finances.
1. Waiting for the wish list
A survey found that 18% of Americans regret buying something because they saw it on social media. Social media makes it easy to make impulse purchases, especially when purchasing from the app. What is one way you can avoid this? Wait for your wish list.
Make a list with everything that you see on social media and want to purchase. Wait to buy. You decide how long to wait — a week, a month, or even just 24 hours. If you wait a while before buying the item, the urge to buy it may fade. Let the initial excitement wear off, and make a decision with an open mind.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should not buy what you desire. You can avoid the buyer’s regret by adding later to your cart.
2. Assess the item before the sale
Nearly three out of 10 Americans (28%) claim to have made a purchase based on a social media deal or promotional code. Limitations can make you feel more pressured to act now. And we love a deal. Deals are available more often than you think, so it is worth thinking about whether or not you would buy the item you plan to purchase if it weren’t on offer.
You should buy things you need or want at discounted prices. It’s not enough to just buy something because it is on sale. You would pay the full price. It’s probably best to pass on this item if you don’t want it.
3. Limit late-night scrolling
Nearly one fifth of Americans (or 19%) have made purchases late at night, between 10 pm and 4 am because they were inspired by something on social media.
After a day filled with decisions, you may find that your defences are down as soon as you begin scrolling through your favorite social media apps. According to the American Psychological Association, “purchasing behaviour has been proven to be susceptible to willpower degradation.” This means that as you exert your willpower during the day, it may make you less inclined to do so when you see an attractive social media advertisement before you go to bed. Check your apps early in the morning to prevent impulse purchases.
4. How much can you spend?
In the survey, 15% of Americans said they had purchased something outside their budget after seeing it on social media. One way to curb this is by knowing how much you can spend on wants within your budget.
This budget allocates 50% of income to needs, 30% for wants and 20% towards debt repayment and savings. If you are impulsively considering buying that Instagram item, consider whether it is in your budget. Then go for it. Add it to your list of things you want and save money for it if it’s not on there.
5. Follow Unfollow
One of the most effective ways to reduce social-media-inspired purchasing is unfollowing or muting the accounts that influence you to buy, intentionally or otherwise. It is easier to prevent overspending if you remove the temptation before it happens.