This is not just another “quitting social media” article that talks about how weaning myself off social media “rejuvenated” me or “gave me a new life.” One of the factors behind why I quit social media, especially Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, was because I got so addicted to scrolling through my phone until a point that my thumbs hurt and went numb (which is no good). But in all seriousness, here are the two ways quitting social media has unintentionally helped me spend less, while happily sipping on my green tea.
1) Reduce impulse and immature spending
I can’t not mention how I used to be the kind of person who would be lured into clicking each product post that popped up on my Facebook feed, particularly beauty and “slimming” products. I’d spent way more than I should on slimming products that I saw on social media, be they slimming teas or pills because I was so desperate to lose some weight at that point in my life.
I labeled them as impulses purchase because I never really took the effort to do my own product research and verify the information proclaimed by the seller (yikes!). I just saw some positive comments below the feed and didn’t put in a second thought at all. I would just think, Shut up and take my money. And to be clear, none of those products worked by helping me permanently shed pounds — I gained everything I lost back in no time.
Now, looking back on how much I had spent on those products, it was nearly a staggering RM1,000 ($256 USD)! That was my hard-earned money from my part-time job (I am still an undergraduate) as a supermarket promoter, earning RM100 ($25.60 USD) by promoting and standing all day long! Imagine what I could have done with that money instead — maybe a five-day trip to Bangkok, or even better, put it into my fixed deposit account to earn interest on it?
Now that I am not engaging with those products feeds anymore, I no longer sink into such a cycle — “out of sight, out of mind.” As for now, I have adopted a healthier lifestyle by incorporating intermittent fasting (shout out to Chelsea!), successfully dropped a dress size, and am keeping the pounds off with almost no money.
2) Less “keep up with the world” spending
Have you ever come across some posts of your friends eating an “Instagram-able” dish at a fancy restaurant? Or an article tells you that you should do this and watch that movie (all activities involve you spending money)? I bet you have.
When I was still extremely active on social media, I couldn’t help but to put those food “recommendations” I was given under my “to-eat” bucket list and proceed to cross them off. I proudly defined the process as “food hunting.” Guess what? In the end, I uploaded a similar food photo on my Insta or just Snapchat them, after paying a price of RM22 ($5.60 USD) for some home-made vanilla ice cream waffles drizzle with chocolate sauce. The cup of latte art I’d post cost RM15 ($3.85 USD). Were they delicious? Yes. Did they worth my RM40+ with charges ($10.30 USD)? Not really.
A friend of mine is a victim of this as well. She likes to visit fancy cafés, and she still does. She ordered what I deem as overpriced coffee and toast, took a photo and uploaded it, all because she stumbled on a food blogger’s feed that convinced her to try that specific place out. Of course, she also determined the place to be overrated.
Clearly, one does not have to completely quit social media just to save a few bucks. Everyone who quits does it for a personal reasons, and I have mine, too. But the above are some of my takeaways alongside quitting social media, which I for sure did not anticipate in the beginning.
We all fall prey once or twice to such circumstances. We often feel obligated to keep up with what other people are doing on social media (if you do not, here’s your applause!) in order to be able to integrate socially, to have some new topics to open up a conversation. But you don’t need much of those to maintain a relationship — you can get along just fine without the inessential spending activities. However, I do admit that indulging yourself once in a blue moon is a must for your overall well-being. I am not asking you to live a hyper-frugal life, but look out for the social media content that tricks you into spending more. Most of all, money-wise, see if it fits into your budget so you are not being side-tracked by the idea of getting more likes.
Lek is a 22-year-old Malaysian Media Studies undergraduate who loves to be in her pajamas anytime possible, and who once wanted to be a journalist but is currently doing an internship in a media planning/advertising company.
Image via Unsplash