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I reveal the secret tricks that Instagram uses to keep us all spending

Keep your wits about you

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My Frugal Year is the anonymous instagram account who has broken all the rules to talk candidly about money. About how much she's spent and how much she really regrets spending it. The mum-of-two will be revealing a weekly diary here on HELLOMAGAZINE.COM, detailing her battle with debt and sharing tips on how she's reducing it.

Last week, I told you that getting into debt is too easy. This week, I’m going to tell you why. We live in a world where everything is geared up to get us to part with our hard-earned cash - and our remaining credit balance - with increasing ease and decreasing consideration. In the last few years, Instagram has transformed from a place to post heavily filtered photos of your lunch, into the world’s most effective marketing platform, with top influencers able to render a single product a sell out within hours simply by posting with a swipe up. Here are the sneaky tricks that Instagram deploy to get you to spend more... 


Constantly bombarding

The frequent fashion and beauty hauls, home renovations and #gifted luxury holidays that fill our feeds make us feel inadequate, which in turn makes us impatient. We want that Aesop hand wash, those subway tiles, the must-have Gucci pumps, and we want them all right now. There is no longer time to save up, to budget or to consider value, because we’re being constantly bombarded with the message that everyone else has it all, and we’re trailing behind. It’s the ultimate keeping up with the Joneses.

Shopping Tags

Thanks to shopping tags on Instagram, you can be sat in that black and white spotty Zara dress, admiring your La Redoute rug with your nostrils full of a Jo Malone candle, all within just a few clicks - and it’s about to get even easier.

Instagram Checkout

The introduction of Instagram Checkout later in the year will mean that you can shop without even leaving the app, and it’s likely to have a function for storing your card details for future purchases. The marketing bods at Facebook HQ call this ‘removing friction’ from your shopping experience - but most of us need that friction in order to think about whether we really want something or not.

READ MORE: The confession: #IamNotMyDebt

When you get rid of the friction, what you’re left with is a slippery slope into overspending. The harsh reality is that retail and online brands don’t really care whether the money you give them is coming from your salary, your savings or your close-to-maxed-out Amex card.

They want to make it as easy as possible for you to make that purchase with one eye closed, and they’ve spent too much on Facebook ads and influencer budgets to let you slip through their fingers at this final hurdle.

The good news is that once you’re aware of it, you can start to make more informed choices about what you do and don’t buy - and even what you do and don’t like.

Social media is a great place to discover new brands and products, but just because you’ve seen that flipping rug in a hundred insta-famous living rooms, doesn’t mean it needs to go in yours. I have it on good authority that it curls up on one corner, anyway.

Take hold of your finances

This week, before you make an impulse purchase via social media, STOP and write down THREE reasons why it’s worth your money. If you can’t think of three, don’t buy it.

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