If you’re anything like the average person who spends almost two hours a day on social media, according to a 2015 Statista survey, you’re probably on social media sites and apps a lot. This means you’re among Twitter’s 310 million active monthly users, Instagram’s 400 million users and Facebook’s 1.65 billion active monthly users, posting and browsing daily.
Before you launch Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, there are some reasons you might want to pause — especially if it means they’re costing you money. Here are seven surprising ways your social media addiction is taking a toll on your bank account.
1. It’s Affecting Your Career
There’s been several instances of people getting fired over things they’ve posted on Facebook and other social media platforms; don’t let yourself get added to that list. From posting photos from that party you got drunk at to complaining about work, everyone has had “status update regret” before. That’s why thinking before you post is probably a good idea.
You should also think about how what you’ve posted on social media might affect future jobs — whether you’re searching for a job now, or will be in the future. Over half of all employers go online to research candidates on social media, according to a 2015 CareerBuilder survey.
So the smart move is to keep it clean: Avoid posting, or delete, any questionable photos, status updates with curse words, spelling and grammar errors, or complaints about current employers. You never know when careless posts could cost you a job — or your next big salary.
2. You’re Falling Victim to Scams
Don’t fall prey to sharing your personal information with anyone over social media for any reason. It’s also a good idea to look out for shopping scams, such as purchasing clothing and not knowing what you’ll be getting, or being offered a job to sell on Facebook or Instagram.
“These businesses lure potential team members with the promise of being able to do marketing solely on social media. However, they usually require [you] to purchase a large amount of product in advance and recruit others in order to make money, meaning spending money is necessary to turn a profit,” said Jasmine Goodwin, owner and social media consultant for Socialbright Media.
To avoid these scams and others, Dasheeda Dawson, director of digital marketing for daily deals website Tanga.com, suggested not providing any personal information to anyone on social media or messenger platforms.
“Beware of scammers that will leverage information from your social profile to contact you via another medium,” Dawson said. “Facebook and Instagram both give users the discretion to report individual posts on their timeline. While you should use this last tactic sparingly, this is the most effective way to bring attention to a suspicious user on a social platform.”
3. Social Media Ads Pull You In
It’s easy to get sucked in by advertisements on social media, especially when those ads don’t even look like ads (thanks, Instagram). Many of these ads are targeted to you, and users like you, specifically, so they can be very tempting.
Instagram and Facebook ads are targeted at you based on your location, browsing history, shared personal information, your interests and more, TechInsider reported. If you keep that in mind, it might be easier to avoid clicking through and buying something you don’t need to begin with. Don’t let someone else dictate what you spend your money on. It’s as simple as that.
4. You Want What Your Friends and Celebrities Have
How many waist trainers did you start seeing on Instagram after Kim Kardashian posted a photo of herself wearing one? A lot, probably. After all, it became a social media trend. That’s because Facebook and Instagram tend to invoke consumerism.
It’s “I want what she has” syndrome, and it doesn’t just start and stop with celebs. When a friend posts a photo of a new dress, expensive makeup or perhaps even a new car, it might influence you to go out and buy one, too. And if you don’t have the extra cash to spend on these expensive items, Instagram or Facebook can really start to cost you. Even if you can afford some luxuries, spur-of-the-moment spending isn’t healthy.
If you spend less time lusting after the next big thing the Kardashians post on social media, or those $600 pair of Yeezys your friend just got, and more time investing in your future, you’d be much better off — and so would your bank account.
5. It Could Be Bad For Your Health
If you fall asleep reading posts on social media, you might not realize how harmful that can be for both your sleep and your eyes. Staring at the blue light from your tablet or smartphone might cause long-term eye damage if you’re not careful, and this digital eye strain can lead to expensive doctor’s visits or treatments for nearsightedness or other issues later on in life, reported DigitalTrends.com.
Stop staring at the screen, and give your eyes a break often to prevent any persistent health issues. Next time you’re lying in bed and want to scroll through dozens of Instagram and Facebook posts, resist the urge.
6. You Pay for Followers and Engagement
It’s easy to get wrapped up in making an online presence for yourself, or your brand if you have one. You want more followers, more likes and more comments — and that can lead you to wanting to buy followers or engagement for your social media accounts.
“I’ve worked with clients who have asked about buying followers, likes and comments,” said Aristotle Eliopoulos, social media specialist for 9thCO. “None of these businesses that ask you to buy engagement are fraudulent — beyond the moral point — but … a user buying followers expecting for these users to legitimately like, comment and respond to your content [should know that] these are bots that provide a number to your account … nothing else.”
Although you might get an initial boost in the number of people who follow you, in the end, it won’t help you get more engagement if they’re all just bots. Save your money and don’t waste it on “fake followers.” Just focus on creating your own engaging content, and grow your audience organically.
7. You Accidentally Posted Some Financial Information
Although you should be cautious when posting personal information to social media in general, posting your financial information — whether accidentally or not — can also have severe consequences.
Never post a photo of your credit card, debit card, checks or any other financial info. If you post financial information on your social media accounts, especially photos of cards, your bank accounts or even your identity can be compromised. And if your bank accounts are compromised, you could be out a lot more than a few bucks.
Now, the next time you pull out your phone to innocently browse Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or any other social media apps, think twice. Know what you’re sharing, don’t over share, and don’t just click on any cool link or photo that pops into your feed.