Credit Debt Killed the Instagram Star: The High Cost of Social Media

Many kids today don’t want to be movie stars—they want to be YouTube stars. But most never get that far. While the biggest “influencers” on social media can make thousands of dollars for a sponsored post, a new study found that 96.5 per cent of YouTubers won’t earn enough ad money to crack the poverty line. And some might go broke trying.

Take Lissette Calveiro (@lissettecalv), whose Instagram profile with 22-thousand followers has cost her $10-thousand in credit card debt. The 26-year-old publicist says she would spend $200 a month on clothes “so she wouldn’t be seen in the same outfit twice,” up to $1,000 on designer handbags and take monthly trips so she could collect geofilters on Snapchat. In her own words: “I was living above my means. I was living a lie and debt was looming over my head.”

New clothes, handbags and trips for Instagram put this woman $10K in #debt. Click To Tweet

“Nobody talks about finances on Instagram”

Thankfully, this story has a happy ending. After moving to New York, a city with very high living costs, in 2016, Lissette was able to rein in her spending by slowing down her Instagramming and living on a budget. With the help of a financial coach and an automated savings app, she paid off all her debt in 14 months. And, as an added bonus, she’s nearly doubled her follower count after telling her story to the New York Post.

But it’s not all about chasing the perfect ‘gram anymore. Lissette says “I find more meaning in what I’m doing. It goes back to me being more authentic.”

Time to take a digital detox?

Some of the signs of financial stress can also appear in social media addiction. If you find yourself anxious or depressed, losing sleep and spending money on clothes or trips simply for the social media snapshots, it might be time to log off your accounts.

Now is also a good time to start tracking your spending and create a budget. Do you know how much money you earn, and where it all goes each month? Setting up a budget, with clearly defined spending limits, ensures that you don’t end up spending more than you can afford, whether it’s on clothes, clubs or trips. And if you do find yourself with a lot of credit card debt, budgeting can also help you put money aside so you can start paying it off.

Here are a few useful blog posts on dealing with the financial pressures of social media:


Have you gone into debt to increase your social media following? Share your story on Twitter using the hashtag #FinancialProblems

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