‘Insta’nt Gratification? Australians Are Blaming Social Media for Debts worth Thousands of Dollars


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Many Australians are racking up debts worth thousands of dollars for social media popularity and instant gratification, according to a media report.

A growing number of Aussies are burning holes in their pocket, just trying to “keep up with the Joneses,” according to Nine.com.au.

Quoting a new research, the digital publication reports that nearly a third of Aussie jet-setters are left “with one major holiday hangover.”

27-year-old Fiona Melbul said she had taken a loan for a six-week trip to America even when she knew she couldn’t afford it.

“My brother said ‘I’m going to Disneyland’, I said ‘You’re not going without me!’ So I got a loan,” Melbul told Nine’s TV program ‘A Current Affair.’

“I think the trip, all up, costs about 8K. All on credit.”

Psychologist Christine Bagley-Jones attributed the trend to the urge of people trying to keep up with friends, family and social media ‘influencers’ showcasing their “good life” online and believing that spending will lead to happiness.

“It (is) just like fast food, not very substantial and nutritious, you’ve gotta keep going back for another hit,” Dr Bagley-Jones told A Current Affair.

“We’re connected all the time and we’re constantly being reminded of what other people are doing, and that status-envy and downward comparing leads us to strive for this other life that’s not our own,” the psychologist added.

Melbul reckons her American holiday snaps are, in fact, probably worth $10,000.

“You take those 10, 20 shots to take the perfect one, post on social media, then you kinda wait for your friends to see it. Then you get all those comments of them being jealous. Makes me feel good that I can do that,” she said.

At one point of time, the desire for “social media perfection” even saw her credit card debt going up to $20,000.

Another woman Angela Jeans was left financially broken as she “wanted to keep up with the Joneses.”

“ I liked nice things and I liked buying nice things all the time,” she said, describing the feeling of “immediate satisfaction” every time she bought clothes.

The mother of two eventually ran into a $60,000 debt, and is now working as a “money coach” to help people who are in debt.

“Instead of taking your credit card out, just take cash instead and hide your credit card. And plan for the future, like have future goals,” she said.

“So instead of ripping out the credit card to buy something else you’ve seen on Instagram that you like, think about the trip to Vietnam that you might want to have with your children. Make that a goal.”

Dr Bagley-Jones explained that spending spree was related to “instant gratification – you do get a little rush when you spend – your mind starts to release the dopamine and seratonin that gets us all excited.”

“But it’s short lived, and the long-term consequences are quite devastating for some.”

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