In the past few months, I've noticed that people in my family are spending more money on Facebook. Some people have the impression that Facebook is free. However, buying credits allows people to use a virtual currency to pay for game upgrades.
I can see in my own family that Facebook is becoming a bit of an expense, which is I was extremely interested when I read about a new Facebook study.
A recent article by The Exchange cited a study that suggests spending time on Facebook could weaken a person's self-control. That means they may not only pack on more pounds, but increase their credit card debt. The study, "Are Close Friends the Enemy?" was published in the Journal of Consumer Research.
The researchers found that how much time a person spends on Facebook correlates to their increasing credit card debt as well as higher body mass index.
Playing my own money game
After noticing the Facebook charges on my credit card statement, I didn't tell anyone in the family to stop playing Facebook games. Instead, whenever I see a $10 charge for Facebook, I pay off the debt. Then I make a $10 charge to our mortgage company to pay down our mortgage. Whenever we make blatantly foolish purchases with our credit card or with cash, I immediately pay an equal amount toward any of our consumer debt. I use it as a way to trigger me to do something positive. Obviously if we ever started spending too much of our discretionary money on Facebook or other foolish things, I'd have to call for a credit card lockdown.
Understanding emotional spending
I'm fully aware that people in my family can be emotional spenders. According to researchers, people who spend time on Facebook feel they have accomplished something and want to reward themselves. They may either eat something as a treat or purchase a reward. I think some people also buy or eat when they feel depressed or inadequate. Since we don't want to accumulate any debt, we set aside about $30 a week for purchases that make us feel better.
Avoiding online shopping
When I noticed other people in my family were spending money on Facebook, it reminded me of my old online shopping habits. I used to look forward to Cyber Monday, the big shopping day after Black Friday. However, now I realize shopping online is too much of a temptation for me. I am too mesmerized by all the hypnotic advertisements and the photographs, special offers and deals. I was able to reduce my clothing and household spending expenses by $500 for the year by simply putting a lockdown on my online shopping. I'm also getting more exercise by stepping away from the computer. I won't tell other people in my family not to shop online, but I know I'll never purchase any "virtual credits" on Facebook.
I think spending money on games and an occasional book or other online purchase is harmless. In fact, some big ticket items can be purchased for a lot less money when they are purchased online. However, I tend to be cautious about spending money. With the rising costs of staples such as food, it's difficult to justify purely hedonistic and wasteful purchases.
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