Like most other millennials, I’m an avid social media user. My favorite social media sites are Reddit, YouTube, and TikTok, which I just discovered a month ago and haven’t been able to put down since. I’ve been scrolling through TikTok for an hour before bed and have mainly watched interior design clips.
I’ve noticed that consuming lots of decorating content on TikTok has made me want to buy more home decor. Although I’ve tried to limit myself and stick to a reasonable budget, my wallet is still a bit lighter as a result of watching these videos.
Social Media Causes Many Millennials to Overspend
I’m not the only one who feels tempted to overspend by social media. A survey by Allianz Insurance found that 57% of millennials have made an unplanned purchase because of something they saw on social media. Another survey by Charles Schwab showed that 48% of millennials and 41% of Gen Z have spent more money than they could afford due to the influence of social media.
Considering how many banner ads and product placements there are on social media, I’m not surprised it influences us to impulse buy. But quitting social media cold turkey probably isn’t a viable solution for most of us. So how can we still enjoy the social media platforms we love without hurting our finances? Here are a few potential solutions.
How to Stop Overspending Because of Social Media
Limit Your Screen Time
Giving up social media altogether isn’t realistic. Many of us have to be on social media because of our jobs, myself included. But limiting your screen time can help reduce the number of ads you’re exposed to on a daily basis and curb your social media induced spending.
Curate Your Feed and Follow Frugal Influencers
Another strategy that can help you avoid social media impulse buys is curating your feed. Following brands and influencers who frequently advertise products will only tempt you to impulse buy. Spend some time curating your feed and unsubscribe from accounts that are bad influences.
Once I realized I was spending more money because of the decorating videos I was watching, I unsubscribed from interior design accounts. I can still use the interior design hashtag on TikTok to watch those videos when I want to. But I won’t see those videos on my “following” page every time I open the app, which will hopefully reduce my urge to shop.
The question of what to replace those accounts with is harder to answer. Personally I like to follow frugal internet personalities who give great money-saving tips. Frugal Fit Mom and Graham Stephan are two of my favorite personal finance influencers. There’s also a big simple living movement happening online right now, especially on TikTok. Since minimalist and simple living influencers don’t make consumption-oriented videos, they may be a good addition to your feed if you’re trying to live a more frugal lifestyle.
Fight FOMO With JOMO
Studies have shown that one of the reasons social media causes millennials to overspend is because of the fear of missing out. When you see your friends or influencers you follow going to concerts or jetting off to Europe, it can make you worry that you’re not having enough fun, formative life experiences.
Instead of letting the fear of missing out scare me into spending more, I try to fight FOMO with JOMO—the joy of missing out. The reality is that we can’t do everything in life. There are shows we’ll never get watch, hobbies we won’t get around to trying, and countries we’ll never be able to afford to visit. We all have to prioritize and choose what’s most important to us. But that’s not a bad thing—it’s an opportunity to be selective and curate a life we love.
Instead of focusing on the things I’m missing out on, I try to reframe FOMO as JOMO and feel gratitude for the things I do get to experience. This helps me avoid feeling down or impulse buying plane tickets when I see an influencer posting about their international vacation.
How do you combat the influence of social media on your finances? Share your tips in the comments section below!
Vicky Monroe is a freelance personal finance and lifestyle writer. When she’s not busy writing about her favorite money saving hacks or tinkering with her budget spreadsheets, she likes to travel, garden, and cook healthy vegetarian meals.