How becoming an 'influencer' is costing some people everything

How much would you spend to get that perfect selfie?

Would you book a trip somewhere iconic? Buy new outfits? Get hair and makeup especially?

Well, a study by Hanover Insolvency found one person in eight is spending beyond their means to look better on social media or for a date.

Adam Deering, Hanover chief executive, said: "While there's no harm in aspiring to live a certain lifestyle and to wanting achieve your dreams, people need to walk before they can run.

"The results of our survey show that it's still too easy for people to get credit and get themselves into bad debt problems."

Adam, who's helped celebrities including Kerry Katona and Simon Webbe who have ended up in financial strife in the past, added that it was a problem that's getting bigger.

"We’ve seen a big rise in the number of people who’ve found themselves in crippling debt through attempts to maintain a certain profile and appearance, whether that’s on social media or while playing the dating game," he said.

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"Things can spiral out of control very quickly."

Whether it's friends or famous people, we are being driven by envy over pictures of other people's possessions.

This isn’t just an issue in the UK either.

A report from the US National Bureau of Economic Research last year suggested that there was an “increasing observability of consumption”, with people being pushed to keep spending more in order to keep up.

They pointed to the rise of different ways for people to brag about their latest spending, whether that’s on a holiday or a hat, with the body suggesting that social media was almost entirely organised around consumption.

This is in no small part down to ‘influencers’, who may be being paid in order to promote certain goods or services.

In essence, whether it’s our friends or famous people, we are being driven to spend more and more money.

Little surprise then that as this spending is going up, our debt levels are also on the rise, while the amount that people put away in savings is falling.

The amount we owe has jumped over the last year.

Deering’s study found that a significant number of people in debt don’t track their direct debits or monitor their accounts online.

This head-in-the-sand approach makes it far harder to manage your money properly, but much easier to lose track of exactly how much you have spent ? and what you have left until payday.

Whether you want to call it peer pressure, or the fear of missing out, seeing what other people can (apparently) afford through their social media posts can clearly drive many of us to stretch our own finances to breaking point simply through envy.

So what can you do to ensure that your love of likes isn’t accompanied by a maxed out overdraft or credit card?

Putting up barriers to make it that big harder for you to spend money quickly online is a good idea.

So for example if you find yourself particularly liable to splashing out on Amazon, turn off one click ordering.

Similarly don’t let your browser save your card details, which means you can quickly autofill when ordering online.

Hopefully because it takes you that bit longer to actually go through the process of spending the money, it will make you think more carefully about whether it’s really a good idea to do so.

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