Trying to keep up with modern-day Jones on social media leads to buyer’s remorse for many consumers.
Just over 60% of social media users say they regret making at least one impulse purchase of a product they saw on social media, according to a recent Bankrate survey.
But targeted advertising on social media puts new trendy items at your fingertips, which can make impulse purchases hard to resist, according to Bankrate analysis.
“Targeted ads are getting smarter by understanding what you love and making it easier than ever to spend,” said Andrew Meadows, senior vice president at Ubiquity Retirement + Savingstells CNBC Make It.
Younger generations also tend to be more influenced by digital ads than their older counterparts, according to a August Ipsos poll.
On top of that, social media “intrinsically inspires people to follow their neighbour”, the Bankrate survey reveals. About 25% of respondents said they want to appear successful on social media, which can help them spend more to impress followers.
Additionally, around a third of respondents to the Ipsos survey said the main reason for their last impulse purchase was that they felt “the price was too good to pass up”.
But, “even if you buy something advertised as being on sale, you’re still spending money, not saving it,” warns Meadows.
A “treat yourself” mindset can also trigger impulse purchases, especially for younger generations. Nearly half of Gen Z respondents to the Ipsos survey said the reason for their last impulse purchase online was to reward themselves, compared to 34% of the general population.
While there’s nothing wrong with indulging yourself, “it’s about making sure it fits in your wallet and doesn’t break the bank,” says Bankrate analyst Sarah Foster.
Unplanned purchases could hit your wallet harder than you think. According the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Stress can be another cause of impulse spending. When your brain is overloaded, you tend to rely more on impulses to guide your decision-making, says Michael Liersch, head of advice and planning at Wells Fargo Wealth and Investment Management.
“While we know that in times of financial hardship, we should be more intentional about our spending to ensure we have enough to pay bills, make critical purchases, or save and invest for your future – in times of stress, we can become less intentional,” he tells CNBC Make It.
How to limit impulse purchases
Spending money online is easier than ever, but you can control it. Here are three tips to help you resist the urge to buy on a whim.
1. Wait a day or more before buying
“The key is to put some time between our emotional impulse to get something and the actual purchase,” says Brad Klontz, financial psychologist and author of “Mind Over Money: Overcoming the Money Disorders That Threaten Our Financial Health. “.
Delaying the decision to make a purchase can also help you ask yourself key questions, such as “Is this something I can afford?” and “How will I feel about this purchase next week?” said Klontz.
2. Put the money you would have spent in a savings account
If you decide not to make an impulse purchase, Foster advises you to put the money you would have spent in a savings account.
“That way the money is out of sight,” she says. “You also build up a fund of ‘play money’ that you can use later when you find something you want to buy.”
3. Organize your screen time
“Use social media to your advantage by following accounts that celebrate your values of financial responsibility, retirement, and financial security through savings,” Meadows says. That way, you’ll be reminded of what you really want in the long run versus what you want the instant after seeing a sponsored ad, he says.
Social media isn’t going away anytime soon, so it’s important to understand how it can influence you, says Meadows.
“The more you know about how these networks are selling to you, the more you can focus on things that make you happy beyond double tapping, swiping, or ‘buy now’ temptations,” says- he.
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