Social media has profound impact on our relationship with money in many ways, lets invest some time into understanding them.
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What constitutes a 'healthy' relationship with money
Understanding how money functions is necessary for having a positive relationship with your finances. It entails using your money to invest in things that will support you in the long run, maintain good health, and live a less stressful life. Financial freedom and emotional wellness are the result of a healthy relationship with money. So how is social media affecting our ability to develop this healthy relationship?
Everyone else is living the dream
Social media allows us to constantly compare ourselves and our lifestyles to others. This is some cases can lead to inspiration and motivation, though for many it leads to feelings of envy and inadequacy, which is made worse by the power social media content has to romanticise almost anything. Seeing others constantly post about their lavish lifestyles, exotic vacations, and expensive purchases online can lead to increased spending in an attempt to keep up with the perceived financial status of others.
"Sadly, some are envious of things, relationships and lifestyles that don't even exist"
The influence of advertising
Social media has been a utopia for brands looking to advertise their products since its early days and this has only grown exponentially with apps such as Tiktok and Instagram. By constantly bombarding users with advertisements for expensive products and services, it can be difficult to ignore. Now consider the effect that paid sponsorships can have, with users favourite creators telling them how amazing a product or service is. It's borderline impossible to resist being influenced to put whatever product it is to the top of your wish list. Even if you previously never considered it something you want or need. Furthermore financial misinformation can also be found on social media. For instance, a lot of social media users might run across posts promoting investment opportunities or get-rich-quick schemes that turn out to be sacms.
The overwhelming power of trends
If you regularly use Tiktok, you have probably seen something about the newest and 'most aesthetic' thing that people are wearing, whether it be some new headphones that came out or a particular style of tattoo that seems to suddenly be everywhere. This is nothing new of course, trends have been influencing people for an ungodly amount of time, however with the addition of social media into a lot of people's daily lives, it's become almost inescapable. Not to mention the formation of an entirely new ecosystem online with its own trends and niches. It feels like a constant marathon of purchasing the next coolest thing to keep up with everyone else. Ironically, almost everyone else feels exactly the same way you do.
So, what can be done?
Well the simplest answer is to limit exposure to social media, reducing the amount of time you spend on social media can help to limit its impact on your finances. Set aside specific times of the day to check social media, and stick to them.
That being said, most of us already know that so lets go deeper. Be mindful of your comparison habits, on social media, its easy to compare ourselves to others, but doing so can be detrimental to our self-worth and spending habits. Instead take some time to discern and focus on your own financial objectives and development.
"A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it, it just blooms"
Finally, you need to celebrate your own milestones. Social media can pit pressure on you to constantly improve your lifestyle, it's important to recognise your own accomplishments in your own unique manner. Focus on experiences and memories that are important to you rather than spending money on expensive items to you demonstrate your accomplishments.