Watching social media without doing anything can lead to overspending

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We’re used to kids giving in to peer pressure – but parents too can fall victim to the “everyone does it” mentality when they’re on social media.

Financial advice website Credit Karma reached out to parents to find out more about their biggest struggles.

The survey revealed intense feelings of FOMO, or fear of missing out, and people admitted that social media and other outside pressures were pushing them into debt, according to data editor Maizie Simpson. and news at Credit Karma.

More than half of parents responding to the survey, commissioned by Credit Karma and conducted by Qualtrics, said they spent money they didn’t have on non-essential items or experiences for their children. Parents said they borrowed money, turned to credit cards or took out loans to pay for these things.

The site surveyed 1,000 American parents over the age of 21 online in May. Most of the parents surveyed have children under the age of 18.

The survey defines non-essentials as anything that is not necessary for survival.

“Another thing that really stands out,” Simpson said, “is that a quarter of parents said seeing other parents doing something on social media made them more likely to spend money on those things. “

In other words, all the other parents do.

“We think of social media as something that gets young people to do things, but it has a similar impact on parents,” Simpson said.

Reasons for overspending include fear of being judged by friends or other relatives. Some parents have expressed concern about their children being judged by their peers.

At a time when a quarter of Americans of all ages and demographics lack emergency savings, Simpson says this behavior leading to debt is concerning.

“We knew it was a trend, but we were surprised at how big it was,” Simpson said. “That the majority of parents in the United States are doing this is quite shocking.”

Overspending seems to be accompanied by another behavior: keeping secrets. About a third of parents don’t tell their partners when they’re in debt, Simpson says. They don’t tell their children either.

Financial experts say parents need to prioritize and base their spending decisions accordingly.

Once you’ve chosen college and music classes as important goals, set aside money regularly, says Ken Moraif, Certified Financial Planner and Senior Advisor at Money Matters. “If there is money left, then and only then should the money be spent on something else,” Moraif said.

Watch these expenses

Kids are expensive, says Todd Hoffman, CFP at Steward Partners. Families need to control their spending in these categories if they are to achieve their longer-term goals.

Tuition

First, the most important school decision. If you have limited resources, Hoffman recommends considering whether it makes sense to pay for a private school or to put that money aside for college.

Some public schools have specialized programs, such as the International Baccalaureate, that are worth considering. Faith-based schools can offer appropriate programs and cost less than other private schools.

Holiday expenses

Everyone needs a vacation, Hoffman says, recalling some favorite memories of leaky tents and crowded station wagon seats from his own childhood. A trip to Disney would have been fabulous, “but it wasn’t planned for my family,” he said.

Spending too much on extravagant vacations at the cost of more urgent things is a huge mistake, Hoffman says. There are activities and getaways to suit every family budget, without resorting to credit card financing and the debt that goes with it.

Gifts and parties

Like holidays, gifts and parties should be for kids, not parents. “It’s not about outdoing your neighbors or having Instagrammable photos to post on social media,” Hoffman said.

Clothing, games and events

When you add up clothes, computers, games, online subscriptions and special events, it can add up to a considerable sum. “Remember, spending online is still spending real money,” Hoffman said.

That means your Netflix, HBO, and Disney Channel subscriptions can add up. Once you add in the monthly cell phone bills and some concert tickets, the costs can spiral out of control. Recurring monthly expenses can derail your plans, Hoffman says.

“Parents often just have to say ‘no,'” Hoffman said. “Buy what your budget allows and spend time teaching your kids the value of money and how much luxury goods really cost.”

Learn more about personal finance:
Women who want to start a business should avoid these mistakes
If You Overspent This Summer, Do These Five Things To Boost Your Finances
5 things single parents absolutely need to know

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