How Social Media And FOMO Are Driving You Into Debt


FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out) can leave you in debt and with financial regret. We are living in an age where we can follow the lives of friends and strangers on social media.

We face a constant barrage of photos of fancy brunches, concerts, luxurious vacations, over the top weddings, new cars, #OOTD (outfit of the day), and more, and the pressure to keep up is higher than ever. However, the reality of social media is that it only shows one side of people’s lives. People rarely show the mundane things in their lives or the tough stuff, creating an illusion of constant glitz and glamor. Unfortunately, this illusion creates a tremendous amount of pressure to “keep up”, which often involves a lot of spending on eating out, fancy cocktails, vacations, the latest technology, and new outfits – all things that come at a great expense and can hinder you from achieving important financial goals like saving for retirement, being able to purchase a house, or building an emergency fund.

So, how do you keep up without going into debt for the sake of some great Instagram shots?

Factor Fun Into Your Budget

Look, no one’s saying you can’t have a little fun and treat yourself once in a while! But the key is finding a balance between having fun while still putting money towards savings and paying down debt, not accumulating more. Take time to review your current budget (or create one if you haven’t already). Look at your recent spending habits, whether you’re meeting important financial obligations such as paying money towards outstanding debts, and how you can make adjustments. It is important to leave some room in your budget for things like entertainment and dining out, but by setting a reasonable spending limit for these things, you can avoid getting carried away in the moment.

If you have your eyes on a bigger expense such as a vacation, be sure to plan ahead. Estimate what expenses will be involved and make a plan to put money away each month to work towards this goal. A well thought-out budget makes it possible to find a balance so you can pay off debt and still have a social life.

Pay Cash, Not Credit

It can be tempting to give into indulgences like a last-minute vacation with a simple swipe of your credit card, but this is a quick road towards unmanageable debt. Even charging smaller indulgences like dinners out with friends can quickly add up faster than you think and leave you with a credit card statement at the end of the month that you can’t afford to pay off. Instead, pay cash for these types of purchases, and if an outing is involved (such as a concert or sports game), bring a predetermined amount of spending money with you and spend that and only that. By paying cash and not credit, you’ll become more aware of your spending habits and learn where you can cut back; perhaps you’ll decide it’s not worth ordering dessert or that extra glass of wine every time you go out for dinner. You’ll also avoid racking up high credit card bills (and their high interest rates). If you properly factor these expenses into your budget, you should have enough money to always pay cash rather than credit and enjoy these expenditures guilt-free!

Learn to Just Say “No”

The problem with social media is it makes everyone’s lives look like a constant barrage of fun – but what you don’t see is the times people decide to stay in and cook at home or the concert they had to miss out on. What you also don’t see is the price people are paying for their extravagant lifestyles – anyone can “afford” nice vacations and dinners if they have enough credit cards, but those expenses will come back to haunt them. Once we come to the realization that social media paints an overly perfect picture of peoples’ lives, we’ll feel less pressure to say “yes” to everything.

While it may feel unfair to not be doing all the same things your friends are doing, you’ll soon come to find that the cost of missing out will more than be made up for in the fact that you won’t be racking up out of control credit card debt. Instead, you’ll be building up savings so that things like a house, a nice collection of wine, a new car, or a retirement full of travel and adventures are all well within reach for your future self. A little bit of restraint now will allow you to indulge in a more fulfilling and meaningful way later.

3 Min Read

7 Must-have Tips to Keep You Healthy and Fit for the Unpredictable COVID Future

With a lack of certainty surrounding the future, being and feeling healthy may help bring the security that you need during these unpredictable times.

When it comes to your health, there is a direct relationship between nutrition and physical activity that play an enormous part in physical, mental, and social well-being. As COVID-19 continues to impact almost every aspect of our lives, the uncertainty of the future may seem looming. Sometimes improvisation is necessary, and understanding how to stay healthy and fit can significantly help you manage your well-being during these times.

Tip 1: Communicate with your current wellness providers and set a plan

Gyms, group fitness studios, trainers, and professionals can help you to lay out a plan that will either keep you on track through all of the changes and restrictions or help you to get back on the ball so that all of your health objectives are met.

Most facilities and providers are setting plans to provide for their clients and customers to accommodate the unpredictable future. The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C. An enormous amount is on the table for this coming fall and winter; if your gym closes again, what is your plan? If outdoor exercising is not an option due to the weather, what is your plan? Leaving things to chance will significantly increase your chances of falling off of your regimen and will make consistency a big problem.

The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C.

Tip 2: Stay active for both mental and physical health benefits

The rise of stress and anxiety as a result of the uncertainty around COVID-19 has affected everyone in some way. Staying active by exercising helps alleviate stress by releasing chemicals like serotonin and endorphins in your brain. In turn, these released chemicals can help improve your mood and even reduce risk of depression and cognitive decline. Additionally, physical activity can help boost your immune system and provide long term health benefits.

With the new work-from-home norm, it can be easy to bypass how much time you are spending sedentary. Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity. Struggling to find ways to stay active? Start simple with activities like going for a walk outside, doing a few reps in exchange for extra Netflix time, or even setting an alarm to move during your workday.

Tip 3: Start slow and strong

If you, like many others during the pandemic shift, have taken some time off of your normal fitness routine, don't push yourself to dive in head first, as this may lead to burnout, injury, and soreness. Plan to start at 50 percent of the volume and intensity of prior workouts when you return to the gym. Inactivity eats away at muscle mass, so rather than focusing on cardio, head to the weights or resistance bands and work on rebuilding your strength.

Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity.

Tip 4: If your gym is open, prepare to sanitize

In a study published earlier this year, researchers found drug-resistant bacteria, the flu virus, and other pathogens on about 25 percent of the surfaces they tested in multiple athletic training facilities. Even with heightened gym cleaning procedures in place for many facilities, if you are returning to the gym, ensuring that you disinfect any surfaces before and after using them is key.

When spraying disinfectant, wait a few minutes to kill the germs before wiping down the equipment. Also, don't forget to wash your hands frequently. In an enclosed space where many people are breathing heavier than usual, this can allow for a possible increase in virus droplets, so make sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Staying in the know and preparing for new gym policies will make it easy to return to these types of facilities as protocols and mutual respect can be agreed upon.

Tip 5: Have a good routine that extends outside of just your fitness

From work to working out, many routines have faltered during the COVID pandemic. If getting back into the routine seems daunting, investing in a new exercise machine, trainer, or small gadget can help to motivate you. Whether it's a larger investment such as a Peloton, a smaller device such as a Fitbit, or simply a great trainer, something new and fresh is always a great stimulus and motivator.

Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine.

Just because you are working from home with a computer available 24/7 doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your entire day to work. Setting work hours, just as you would in the office, can help you to stay focused and productive.

A good night's sleep is also integral to obtaining and maintaining a healthy and effective routine. Adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night for their best health and wellbeing, so prioritizing your sleep schedule can drastically improve your day and is an important factor to staying healthy. Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine. This can help the rest of your day feel normal while the uncertainty of working from home continues.

Tip 6: Focus on food and nutrition

In addition to having a well-rounded daily routine, eating at scheduled times throughout the day can help decrease poor food choices and unhealthy cravings. Understanding the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy can help you stay more alert, but they do vary from person to person. If you are unsure of your suggested nutritional intake, check out a nutrition calculator.

If you are someone that prefers smaller meals and more snacks throughout the day, make sure you have plenty of healthy options, like fruits, vegetables and lean proteins available (an apple a day keeps the hospital away). While you may spend most of your time from home, meal prepping and planning can make your day flow easier without having to take a break to make an entire meal in the middle of your work day. Most importantly, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

Tip 7: Don't forget about your mental health

While focusing on daily habits and routines to improve your physical health is important, it is also a great time to turn inward and check in with yourself. Perhaps your anxiety has increased and it's impacting your work or day-to-day life. Determining the cause and taking proactive steps toward mitigating these occurrences are important.

For example, with the increase in handwashing, this can also be a great time to practice mini meditation sessions by focusing on taking deep breaths. This can reduce anxiety and even lower your blood pressure. Keeping a journal and writing out your daily thoughts or worries can also help manage stress during unpredictable times, too.

While the future of COVI9-19 and our lives may be unpredictable, you can manage your personal uncertainties by focusing on improving the lifestyle factors you can control—from staying active to having a routine and focusing on your mental health—to make sure that you emerge from this pandemic as your same old self or maybe even better.