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Let’s talk social media. It affects virtually every aspect of our lives these days. Understandably so, as social platforms have become a convenient way to keep in touch, see what’s going on in our friends’ lives, hear about the next big festival, and catch a glimpse of that new dog/wine lover graphic tee. If you’re a Millennial, you’re probably being influenced by social on an hourly basis. Did you know that 49% of our generation say social media impacts their everyday purchasing decisions? 49%!

Which begs the question: Why are we all so driven by what we see on our Instagram feed? What makes us spend excessively because of it? And most importantly, what can you do to keep it all in check?


Millennials seek out a sale, and the social media advertisers know it. 46% of young social media users are looking for promotions as they scroll. 42% of Millennial Facebookers are following retailers just to receive the promos. We’ll do just about anything to get free shipping. Join a loyalty program? Sure! Wait on slower transit times? Why not. If there’s a promo code box in the online checkout, we won’t stop searching until it’s filled in for some savings.

Shopping small and often:

The younger generations are much more likely to shop frequently, for little things. Online purchasing is where it’s at. Who has time to go to the mall these days? We’re buying from Amazon, shipping items to our houses, and getting groceries delivered to our front porch. We’re on our technology to get it all taken care of. Unfortunately, impulse shopping is only too easy to do from the comfort of your loveseat. Millennials love the convenience of it all and buying online has never been easier.

Recommendations carry a lot of weight:

It’s a sharing world out there. If friends tell us all about their new favorite product, we’re much more likely to buy it than if we see it displayed on a billboard. We’re heavily influenced by reviews, ratings, comments, shares, and stars. 71% of us are more likely to make an online purchase if the product or service is recommended by somebody recognizable. Even strangers have a big influence on our actions, so long as the content is solid and genuine (looking at you YouTube).

Marketing customization:

Marketers and advertisers are on to us for sure. They hone in on our clicks, shares, comments, and likes, and push even more content our way. Celebrities and familiar faces are being added to our feeds wearing clothes we already love, carrying bags from websites we scrolled through yesterday, and wearing shoes our friends told us to check out over lunch.

It’s a visual universe:

We’re all guilty. Millennials share the best, most polished, highly filtered, happiest parts of our lives through images. It’s how we communicate with each other. It’s also quickly becoming the new frontier of the old “keeping up with Joneses.” Instead of envying your next-door neighbor, or that perfect family on a magazine cover, we’re compelled to spend more money by what we see in our social feeds. Even though we know our friends’ lives can’t possibly be all roses and sunshine, there’s still a very real sense that others are living it up and we’re being left in the dust. The result? Millennials are driven to spend on items we wouldn’t even know about if it weren’t for that pic we glanced at last night before hitting the sack.

What to do about it all:

At McKay Wealth, we’re big believers in you getting the most out of your life. In order to make that happen, it’s extremely important to be mindful about your spending and savings habits. Here are a few tips on how to navigate your social media life without wrecking your bank account:

  • Do a 5-minute money review each day. Glance at your accounts (credit cards, online banking, investments), and see how things are getting along. It will help keep your financial situation in mind as you go about your life.
  • Avoid the “I’ll just pay it back later” mentality. Particularly with credit cards, people get lulled into overspending with the plan of paying it off at some later date. If you don’t have the money now, hit pause on buying until you do.
  • Keep your spending on luxury stuff in check. While Millennials are less inclined to spend on big ticket items, we’re easily persuaded to dole out $100 here and there on shoes, concert tickets, yoga pants, and gifts. Take a breath before you complete your online order.
  • Have a financial plan. Set some short and long-term goals to work toward over time. It will help keep you from going off the spending rails.
  • Remind yourself that what you see on social media isn’t reality. It’s a prettied up, brushed up, filtered, and cropped kinda-sorta-reality. You’re doing just fine.
  • Don’t overcomplicate things. Most of us do better with simplicity, particularly with finances. Budgets can be very useful, but if you have one that’s too hard to follow, you’ll just lose hope.
  • Hold yourself accountable without beating yourself up if you make an occasional money error. Everybody slips up every now and then.

Sometimes you just need an objective person to get you back in line if you’re spending habits are out of control. If we can be of help in any way, we’d be happy to do so.