We all have weaknesses and I’ve got to say, Facebook is getting alarmingly good at exploiting mine.
Because of the freelance nature of my life – both blogging and stage managing – sometimes I’m financially pretty well off and other times it’s a miracle I manage to make ends meet.
One of the reasons I can usually make ends meet is because I’m like a psychotic squirrel, hiding away my money nuts when I do make extra into savings and investments because I know, metaphorically speaking, “winter is coming.”
That means that I’m pretty good at not spending on random crap. I’m not likely to hit up the mall for fun when I don’t really need something. I don’t generally browse websites.
I do actually have a Pinterest wish list board where I amass the few things I do find online that I like. I pin them over there and can find them again when someone asks what I want for Christmas or my birthday. It’s pretty useful and most of the time, I totally forget the board exists.
It’s nice because it gets rid of the fear that I’ll never be able to find this item again and at the same time, it generally keeps it out of sight, out of mind.
But back to Facebook. Like all the studies about how Facebook makes us feel subpar about our own lives isn’t bad (and true) enough, Facebook now has targeted ads. This means that every day when I sign onto that stupid website, it magically knows exactly what to target me with. It’s never out of sight, out of mind.
Similarly, this is how Pinterest sucked me into buying a pair of Tieks two years ago that I still regret.
Facebook sucked me into buying a pair of Betabrand pants (which I actually kind of love and only wish they had pockets – and weren’t stupid expensive). Facebook is currently trying to suck me into buying a new bra.
I realized that I needed a different method for things like this. They don’t fit in my budget – even when I have high income months, I don’t really want to shell out $200 for a pair of shoes or $100 for a pair of pants. It feels incredibly wasteful.
So I found a way to make it feel not wasteful.
I develop a side hustle specifically for the weirdly expensive item I want. A common one I fall back on is UserTesting. UserTesting lets you critique websites for $10 a pop, but there’s not always work available that you qualify for. Therefore, if I’ m committed to earning about $200 for a pair of shoes through there, it’ll probably take me 2-3 months of constantly having that website running in the background when I’m online and checking whether or not I qualify for the test each time I hear the ding of a new website being added.
If I want to hustle my way there a little faster and have a lot of free time, I can work on transcriptions through Rev and bring in up to $200 a week. I hate doing them, but when I see my shiny prize dangling in front of me and I know that it will have no effect on my bottom line, I feel a lot better about doing it.
By matching things I want directly to how I will pay for them, I feel good about my splurge.