Woohoo! Work’s done and you rush back home to do pretty much what you did all day at office. Get onto your social media pages. You undress in record time, grab a cup of coffee, and make yourself comfy in your chair, which was specially designed to withstand sleepless nights of stalking profiles and generating memes.
With social media practically running our lives nowadays, we seem to be blissfully unaware of the gradual toll it seems to take on our finances. You may scoff at this notion, but how many times have you pulled out your Credit Card every time you saw a ‘Mega Sale’ ad flashing at the bottom of your screen? Or how many times have you immediately ordered a brand-new outfit just because someone on your friend list put up pictures showing off their designer wear complete with pouting selfies?
In fact, you may not know it, but social media is fast becoming a wallet-drainer of epic proportions, especially among the youth of today. With things moving so quickly in the virtual world, we seem to scramble at every turn trying to keep up in any way we can. If you’re still scoffing behind your coffee mug, we’ve put together a list of 5 ways social media could destroy your finances in the blink of an eye.
- Peer Pressure
If peer pressure at school, college or work wasn’t enough, now we have to contend with it in the virtual world. With people absolutely falling over themselves to put up pictures of their new gadgets, cars, clothes, food etc., uploading images of their exotic vacations, or just generally having a ‘great time’, social media users seem to have taken it upon themselves to practically outdo each other.
You might have seen your friends flaunting their new phones or cameras on Facebook, and before you know it, you’re entering your Credit Card or Debit Card details on the first shopping website you can find. You may have even blown a hole in your savings just to take a few duckface selfies at a night club so you can upload the images onto Facebook. All this to show everyone what a ‘happening’ dude or dudette you are.
Additional Reading: 5 Bad Credit Card Habits You Need To Change Right Now
- Subliminal Advertising
Sure social media is pretty handy for keeping in touch with people and getting an insight on what drives the world batty. But let’s be clear about one thing. Social media is an advertiser’s wet dream. Every single social media site from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram and everything in between is absolutely crawling with ads.
Whether they’re in your face or slyly popping up at the corners of your screen, you can be sure they’re targeting your subconscious with three words: ‘Buy! Buy! Buy!’ Even if you dismiss these ads, the sheer frequency with which they bombard your senses on a daily basis is enough to make you unknowingly reach for your wallet and splurge on all kinds of things. Before you know it, you’re buying scuba diving gear for your bathtub.
Additional Reading: Six Ways To Curb Impulsive Shopping
Online gaming, especially gaming on social media sites, is a virtual monetary black hole. There have been umpteen instances of kids using their parents Credit Cards to pay for ‘rewards’ or access to ‘higher levels’.
In fact, there was a case of a child in the U.K who stole his mother’s Credit Card and spent over $1,400 on the gaming app Farmville. And that’s not all. Both kids and adults nowadays have taken their addiction for social media gaming to ridiculous levels, with both sides spending massive amounts of money just to see if their carrots have grown on their cybernetic farm.
Additional Reading: Credit Cards And Your College-Going Kid: Is It A Good Combination?
Come on. Let’s face it. A massive percentage of social media users are on these sites simply to meet someone. Nothing wrong with that of course, especially if you haven’t been able to get a date since…..forever. However, while sites like Facebook and Tinder do help you meet new people, it could also lead to you shelling out way too much money than necessary.
Every time you head out on a date, you’re bound to spend some cash, and the more dates you’re on, there’s every chance you’ll start getting out your Credit Cards simply to keep up appearances. Not a very good space to be in. It’s no wonder all your single friends are loaded.
Additional Reading: Personal Finance For Teenagers
- Bogus Links
Social media sites are also a breeding ground for hundreds of thousands of scamsters, who, truth be told, seem to come up with incredibly innovative ways to relieve you of your money. The most common method, of course, is the tried and tested ‘bogus link’ scam.
Scores of people all over the world fall prey to these online vultures simply by clicking on a link they suddenly find in their inbox or even embedded in the comments on their own social media pages. Before you know it, your financial details are in the hands of a group of hackers and your bank balance has plummeted to sub-zero levels. Remember, curiosity killed the cat, so exercise extreme caution when faced with suspicious links.
Additional Reading: Save Yourself From Fraud Traps
If you find yourself plagued by any of these social media pandemics, do yourself a favour, switch off your computer, and read a book. You’ll be amazed at how healthy your finances are the longer you stay away from your computer. And while you’re at it, switch off the Wi-Fi on your phone, you sly fox.