Social Media Usage in Singapore and How It Causes You to Overspend (2018 Update)

“Eh wait, don’t eat first. I wanna instastory”.

After all, if it didn’t happen if it’s not plastered all over social media.

If you ever found yourself in such a situation, you are not alone. Against a global average of 34%, 70% of Singaporeans are active social media users on the go. This comes as no surprise due to Singapore’s high Internet penetration rate and how social media is great at providing us with our daily dose of entertainment, and offering us with the latest updates on breaking news. While social media networks can be an important tool to enrich our lives, they can also take over and consume us without warning.

Are you living a digital life?

For starters, is checking your social media accounts the last thing you do before you sleep and the first thing you find yourself scrolling through when you awake? Do you feel the pressure to constantly update your Instagram or Facebook accounts to keep up?

Like many addictions, social media addiction has several major drawbacks. For some people, these drawbacks include becoming obsessed with their appearance. They forget what it is like to live a real life. They become consumed with the number of likes they get for the photos they post and in the process, only wish to depict a certain kind of lifestyle on their social media accounts.

Society has played a major role in fueling this obsession: We often judge people based on their social media accounts. We determine how cool they are based on their posts and the number of likes they have managed to accumulate. We forget that no one ever posts their struggles or bad moments.

Driving A Consumer Culture

Social media is not only influencing how we view others and our lives, it is also influencing how we spend our money. Think about it. When you see your favorite celebrity in a dress: “Oh my god she looks so good in it should I get one as well?” Splurging on unnecessary items for fear of missing out. Checking out that new brunch place because it promises Instagram worthy shots of not only the food but of yourself.

An article by CNBC proves the point that social media does have an impact on one’s spending habits.

You do not have to go far to determine whether this research is true or not. Think about the last time you were on Facebook or any other social media network. Now think about what you did during or after your session of browsing. Chances are that one of the things you did was browse Amazon, ASOS or any other online shopping store absentmindedly. We don’t blame you. With Instagram’s recent introduction: Instagram shopping (this feature allows a user to view certain product(s) description and pricing), monetary transactions can now be easily facilitated through mobile applications. Everything is literally just a click away.

FOMO 

The Fear Of Missing Out. Some of us are probably guilty of this, regardless of whether it is done consciously or subconsciously. That being said, it pays to understand that overspending is not just about being enticed by flashy sales ads or the latest trends driven by celebrities. It is much closer to home.

After all, social media gives us first hand exclusives to everyone’s lives. Many people overspend because they want to measure up to the standards set by their friends. They may feel anxious, dissatisfied with their lives, or just plain jealous about what their friends have. There is a need for their humble and average lifestyle to measure up with the extravagant and luxuriant habits of others.

It used to be about outdoing just your family, friends or co-workers. However, now with social media’s greater connectivity, it is about outdoing everyone in your circle. When will this cycle ever stop? You need to post photos of your latest holiday. Your latest kitchen remodel ought to be re-pinned thousands of times on Pinterest. It is about being envied by everyone, even people you may not know.

It may sound like a ridiculous quest, but truth be told, many people are already on it. The sad part is that oftentimes, this is not a conscious choice for many. You may consider it a splurge to spend thousands on an item even though it is not part of your budget. However, you end up paying extra in interest since you were unable to afford it in the first place.

What many people don’t realise is that the posts and the photos don’t tell the whole story. That luxurious holiday at the beach with smiling children and a happy puppy may have been taken on a loan that the family is still struggling to pay. That expensive dress could be covering up the results of an eating disorder.

Ask yourself, are you guilty of overspending due to the lures of social media? If you are, it is time to make a change. If you are not, congratulations! You have not fallen prey to the perils of social media.

Moral of the story: You should never base your desires on what you see or hear on social media. That would be like falling for a trick by the Wizard of Oz.

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