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This festive season, you don’t have to keep up with Joneses

Social media and society have made it a ’norm’ to show off what you’ve got or where you’re at. The way this would be described today is ’Living your best life’. Picture: REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration/File Photo

Social media and society have made it a ’norm’ to show off what you’ve got or where you’re at. The way this would be described today is ’Living your best life’. Picture: REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration/File Photo

Published Dec 23, 2021

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Many of us like to post everything we’re doing, whether it may be a new haircut, showing off the vacation spot we are on, or buying a new car.

Social media and society have made it a ’norm’ to show off what you’ve got or where you’re at. The way this would be described today is ’Living your best life’.

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Sbu Khumalo, Chief Marketing Officer at African Bank, states that the FOMO (Fear of missing out) behaviour can have a major impact on how you spend your money to keep up with others.

“Keep in mind, social media is designed to show us what we are missing out on,” says Khumalo.

Social media has made it easier for brands and people to advertise. It is an effective way to reach out to people and somehow lure them into buying a product.

Celebrities, such as the Kardashians, have many products and merchandise that they promote via social media.

Many young people feel the need to keep up with others. Social media posts made by those you follow give others the impression that they can afford the ’living my best life’ life. It can be something as simple as a pair of shoes.

“FOMO can easily set in, and before you know it, you’ve ordered a pair of shoes using a credit card. Overspending to keep up with the Joneses can easily get out of hand,” says Khumalo.

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According to psychology, there’s something called the ’mere exposure’ effect. This refers to the idea that the more you are exposed to something, the more you will like it or want it.

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This concept is one of the reasons why people overspend or feel the need to get a particular product. The more you’re exposed, the more likely you are to get it.

Khumalo shares five tips to avoid overspending

1. Balance your intake. Avoid social media sites filled with lifestyles of the rich and famous. Find sites that inspire you and make you feel good instead of sites that make you feel bad for not having what they have.

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2. Look for inspiration to help you reach your money goals, for example, #debtfreecommunity.

3. If social media keeps tempting you with sites that can lead to overspending, say no.

4. Stick to reality. It’s easy to think others are rich because they are posting how they are overspending. However, keep in mind, these people could also be in massive credit debt, trying to keep up.

“Social media is a great way to keep up to date with friends and celebrities but don’t let their lifestyles influence you to spend more and save less,” says Khumalo, “Start using social media to help you fulfil your money goals instead of it coercing you into bad spending habits”.

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