Are you being influenced into debt?

By Miranda Marquit

Sep 27, 2023

Read time: 3 min

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Whenever you scroll through Instagram or TikTok, it’s common to see influencers using their clout to sell the hottest new item. Sometimes it’s just a video of all the cool things they just bought from a popular website. When you see these items, it’s easy to decide to just tap the button and get in on the trend.

I know, I’ve been there. I‘ve purchased—and thrown away—more than my share of those cool things. And I have the credit card statements to prove it.

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Influencer culture and impulse purchases

It’s fun to keep up with the culture, even if it might set you back in your financial independence goals. Plenty of people overspend in an effort to keep up with social media trends. 

I know what FOMO feels like, as well as the desire to buy a little bit of accessible luxury. You can use Buy Now Pay Later or just put it on the credit card. It doesn’t matter what the product is. Influencer culture makes you feel like you’re going to miss out on something really great, and it’s so easy to go into a little more debt to participate. 

Then, one day, you realize you have too much credit card debt and wonder how it got out of control.

There’s a reason brands like using influencers on social media sites like Instagram and TikTok in their advertising campaigns. According to a study from Meta (owner of Facebook and Instagram), 54% of people make sporadic purchases after seeing something on Instagram. There are 1.35 billion users on Instagram.

That means that more than half a billion people make spur-of-the-moment purchases based on what they see on social media. 

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De-influencing and getting rid of the FOMO

There’s a rising trend that might be for you. It’s called de-influencing, and it’s a way to step back from ‌influencer trends pushing for big spending via social media.

De-influencing teaches you to step away from consumption culture. The first step is to distance yourself from luxury prices by looking for duplicate products, or dupes, that are less expensive than their designer counterparts. Buying those can be a way to participate in a trend without spending quite as much money. The next step is to recognize that you’re still spending money on things you don’t need.

Some de-influencers would tell you that even dupes promote the type of consumption that fuels a climate crisis and takes advantage of people stuck in poor working conditions. Thinking of the impact your purchase could have can help you truly ponder whether it makes sense to keep buying things just because influencers want you to. How to break up with influencer culture and save your money.

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If you’re ready to reduce your impulse buys and improve your financial situation, here are a few tips that can help:

  • Prioritize needs. Review your spending. Pause before making a purchase. Choose to spend your money on things you need.  

  • Automate savings. Use tools that help you save money automatically. Have retirement savings withheld from your paycheck. Automatically divert some of your paycheck to savings each time you’re paid. A tool like the MoLO app could help you save more. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself before taking care of influencers.

  • Re-evaluate your influencer follow list. If you find that much of your feed promotes a luxury lifestyle that encourages impulse spending, shake things up. Unfollow accounts that give you the urge to constantly spend and look for influencers who inspire you or add value to your life. They’ll help you raise awareness and give you a reason to change your habits.

Once I changed things up to feel less FOMO, I was surprised at how well I was able to resist online buying. 

Author - Miranda Marquit

Written by Miranda Marquit

Miranda Marquit is an award-winning freelance writer and podcaster who has covered various financial topics since 2006. Her work has appeared in numerous media outlets, and she is frequently asked to host workshops and appear on panels on topics related to financial wellness. She is the co-host of the Money Talks News podcast and a consumer finance advocate and spokesperson for moving hub HireAHelper.

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