It hasn’t even been a full year since Instagram launched its in-app purchasing feature, allowing us to go from liking an image to buying whatever it is we just liked. If you’ve found yourself buying a little more than your budget can afford, you’re not alone.
When Charles Schwab conducted its 2019 Modern Wealth Survey, respondents identified social media as the biggest “bad influence” in their spending habits. That survey was released only two months after Instagram began offering in-app checkout, which means... well, let’s just say that bad influence has gotten worse.
What can you do if you find yourself overspending on Instagram? The obvious answer is “spend less time on Instagram,” but that’s not always realistic for some of us. If you’re using Instagram to connect with friends and family, or if it’s part of your professional life, you’re not going to be able to just delete the app. (Plus, some of us scroll Instagram as a way to relax. There are a lot of pretty pictures on that thing!)
So, instead of telling yourself that you can never use Instagram again ever, start reshaping your feed so that it includes more images and stories that align with—you guessed it—your personal and financial values.
At Grow, financial writer Aditi Shrikant suggests following accounts that encourage you to save money instead of spend it:
Look for accounts that make you feel good about and reinforce your financial choices. Plenty of users have accounts to help them document their debt-free journey or to share tips on how to pay off large loans or save money.
“Put the item in your cart online and wait — ideally, at least 72 hours,” he advises. “You will, most likely, change your mind about making the purchase, realise you don’t love the item as much as you did a few days before or forget about it altogether.”
If you want to make it even harder to make Instagram impulse purchases, financial advice columnist Charlotte Cowles advises you to remove your credit card information from the app:
One way to build a buffer between Instagram and your bank account is to disconnect all payment methods from your phone. Having to manually type in your credit card number whenever you buy something is annoying, and that’s the point.
Lastly, keep in mind that although those Charles Schwab survey respondents identified social media as the biggest “bad influence” on their spending habits, they also listed family and friends as the biggest “good influence.” If you use social media as it was originally intended—to keep in touch with the people you care about—then you might find yourself spending more time with images and stories created by people you love and less time feeding your Instagram shopping habit.
If you use Instagram to shop, how do you track your spending—and how do you keep yourself from spending “too much”? Have you deliberately reshaped your feed, deleted your credit card information, or instituted other rules or hacks to prevent you from making too many Instagram in-app purchases?