In 2022, the influencer marketing industry ballooned to $16.4 billion, a nearly 70% increase compared to 2020.1 From direct-to-consumer mattresses to meal kits and clothing, you’ve likely ran across a few of these collaborations while browsing on apps like TikTok, Instagram, or YouTube. You may even be one of the 7 out of 10 Gen Zers or millennials who’ve purchased something because of an influencer or celebrity’s social media post.2 While it’s okay to treat yourself every once in a while, it’s important not to let these influencer-inspired purchases affect your long-term financial goals.
Parasocial relationships and your spending habits
A parasocial relationship is defined as a one-sided relationship developed with another person, often a celebrity or influencer. This emotional connection can increase the persuasive power these individuals have over your wallet and may make you more likely to buy what they’re selling – whether that’s a certain lifestyle or an actual product. You may feel like your purchases are supporting them and their content, which you enjoy, or you may aspire to the same lifestyle as them.
Why de-influencing is the way to go
Your wallet is feeling the burn
While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying someone’s content and supporting them with your likes, comments, or occasional purchases, you need to be realistic about what you can afford. Creators, whether they’re aware of it or not, are often selling a lifestyle. It may involve the newest sneakers, expensive skincare, or even a $50 water tumbler. Don’t chase a lifestyle at the expense of your long-term financial well-being.
Trend cycles are moving at a breakneck pace
The rise of fast fashion and short-form content platforms like TikTok whipped the trend cycle into a frenzy. So much so that what was popular three months ago may feel like old news today. This accelerated pace makes it nearly impossible – not to mention expensive – to partake in every trend.
Instead, focus on using what you currently have and invest in pieces and products that will last. This way you’re not throwing money at trends that burn twice as bright but half as long.
Micro-trends aren’t environmentally friendly
The popularity of micro-trends currently blazing across TikTok or Facebook will soon fizzle out, leaving purchases – sometimes recently made ones – obsolete in the eyes of the masses. One of the culprits at the core of this sentiment is fast fashion, which fuels today’s engine of overconsumption.
Fast fashion brands make mass-produced, cheap clothing in the hopes you’ll participate in just one more trend. But these shopping trips can add up over time and leave you with low-quality garments that often only last the life of the trends themselves. That’s because they’re often designed to be worn once or twice – and the environmental impact is significant. It’s estimated that the fashion industry is responsible for more global carbon emissions than international flights and maritime shipping combined.3
Spending habits may affect your mood
While influencer-inspired spending may boost your mood in the short-term, this behavior can actually contribute to unhappiness.4 Too many credit card swipes could compromise your financial stability and generate more money anxiety. Plus, social media may prompt you to compare yourself to others and lead to feelings of inadequacy.
While you may be able to eliminate temptation altogether by removing apps from your device, doing so may not feel realistic. Instead, consider limiting your screentime and implementing a 48-hour wait period before making a purchase. In doing so, you can de-influence your finances and reel in spending habits.
General Electric Credit Union members enrolled in Online Banking or our mobile app can use Money Management to review their spending habits across all accounts – both those with GECU and those at other financial institutions – all within one visual dashboard.5 Use this tool as you work to de-influence your finances and keep your budget on track!