Social media provides plenty of perks — like witnessing a former colleague's work milestone, or finding and keeping in touch with long-lost relatives and friends — but there are also downsides.

When it comes to our money, for example, about a third of Americans admitted that social media influences their spending, causing them to spend more than they should to keep up with their peers.[1] Meanwhile, almost 40% of adults spend more money on experiences than essentials like bills, partly because they want to share those experiences on social media.[2]

Here are some steps you can take that might allow you to continue scrolling while still keeping your bank account in order.

1. Don't Spend To Keep Up With Others

Studies show that people who anticipate future spending temptations improve their ability to make better financial decisions.[3] Translated into a social media scenario, this might mean expecting feelings of jealousy or “keeping up with the Joneses” to trigger your spending impulse — particularly around times of traditionally high spending, like the holidays or summer vacation — and finding ways to stop the habit.

For example, you can practice pausing before every purchase to compute how much time you’ll need to spend working to make up for it. Pausing can also force you to contemplate how much it's needed and if you'll still use it in a month or a year. By anticipating how you might react to how other people appear to be spending their money, you can be prepared to stop your own (often unnecessary) buying.

2. Limit Your Social Media Engagement

There are ways to curb your social media engagement without giving it up completely. You can hide, change the location of, or delete your social media apps from your phone (this won’t delete your actual accounts; it’ll just make the sites harder to visit).

You can also institute shorter social media “breaks” where you actually give up these sites for a specific period. To do this, you can turn off notifications on your social media apps and use the timer function within the apps to set an alarm, which will let you know when you’ve used the app for a certain amount of time each day.

At the very least, you can mute or unfollow the friends, influencers, and advertisements that spur you to spend the most.

Follow accounts and people who boost your self-confidence and champion a non-materialistic lifestyle. You may find that making a conscious decision to fill your news feed with content that encourages a simpler lifestyle, and doesn’t necessarily make you want to shop, can make all the difference.

3. Practice Gratitude

There are many benefits to introducing gratitude into your life. Studies have shown, for example, that practicing gratitude can boost self-confidence, improve patience and resiliency, reduce jealousy and, perhaps most importantly when it comes to money, make you less materialistic.[4]

Bringing a little gratitude into your life doesn’t have to be time-consuming, either. Keeping a journal of things that make you happy, extending small acts of kindness, and writing short letters or notes to loved ones are all easy ways to remember how much you have to be thankful for. In turn, these tactics can help you to overcome emotions that cause overspending.

4. Stay Social in Real Life

Keeping up with your virtual connections is fine in the short-term, but it’s our real-life connections that keep us grounded. Not only will spending time in person with your loved ones help you forge deeper bonds, but it will also detract from the time you usually spend scrolling through social media.

If that’s not enough to get your social skills stirring, a study[5] that surveyed what human relationships are worth in dollars found that increased social activity amounts to about $131,232 a year in life satisfaction.

5. Budget for Your Spending Habits

At the end of the day, if the above suggestions still can’t stop you from scrolling and spending, consider working your FOMO into your monthly budget (assuming you still have your other bases and financial goals covered) so it doesn’t send you into debt. Just remember that we get less happiness from buying things when we're financially stressed,[6] but spending on others — i.e. donating to charity or giving back — does bring us higher levels of happiness.[7]

Also remember that what we chose to share on social media doesn’t show the entire picture.

Focusing on your own financial goals — both short- and long-term — should be your main priority when it comes to what you spend your money on. If you're looking for more personalized guidance in the realm of budgeting, consider speaking with a PNC financial specialist today.