Don’t let FOMO ruin your finances, future and freedom

In this age of social media and everyone posting every little detail of their every waking moment. We tend to believe the next person is living their best life and that we are missing out on something greater. But the reality is we are comparing the pages of our story to someone who isn’t even a character in our book.

As a person who wants to be financially free, I try to save and sacrifice to reach my financial goals. However, I too find myself looking on Instagram and thinking “It must be nice”. Nice to travel to exotic places, order that expensive wine, buy a home at 21. I mean FOMO gets the best of everybody once in a while. But I refuse to let FOMO hijack my plan and mess with my financial future. But how do we keep FOMO in check?

First, we have to define what FOMO actually is. FOMO is better known as the Fear of Missing Out is a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent. If you still feel like you don’t have FOMO here are a few examples:

  • You think your friends are having a better time, buying better things, or living amazing lives based on the pictures and statuses they post.
  • When you turned down an invite because you made other plans but are checking the posts from the invite you turned down.
  • Or only say yes to an invite because you feel like something amazing will happen and you need to be a part of it.
  • Not saving for retirement because you want to live in the now and feel that saving for a time that is not guaranteed is silly.
  • Laying in bed spending hours surfing Instagram/facebook wishing you were doing whatever someone else is doing.

Some people will get over their FOMO, while others will spend the rest of their lives competing or comparing their lives to the Insta-lives of their friends. Forever on the pursuit of material things and anything else that brings instant gratification. If you feel like you will never get over your FOMO, here are some simple ways you can keep it from ruining your finances, future and freedom:

Be comfortable with saying “No”. You do not have to feel obligated to say yes to every invite you get. If you are tired, sick, made other plans, or just don’t feel like going. Say no with confidence. You are not going to miss out on some cosmic event that changes our existence as we know it. And in all honesty, do you really enjoy sitting at a party knowing you would rather be home in bed because you think something might happen. Try saying no to the next invite you get and see how it makes you feel.

And trust me, I know the effects of not saying no. When I first graduated college (not making a lot of money), I accepted every lunch invite, purchased outfits for parties/events I didn’t even go to and purchased unnecessary things just because. After 3 years of working there I had no emergency fund, no additional savings – Nothing.

If you are like how I was and can’t bring yourself to say no, add a $100 “Fun/Play” line to your budget. Creating this line allows you to budget for fun and it will help you learn how to say no because you only have $100. Now you will have to take the time to decide which events/parties you will go to – which ones matter more. But what happens if I spend my “fun money” before the month is over? Well…Once the budgeted funds are spent there is no more fun until the next month.

In addition to budgeting for fun activities and personal purchases, you should also limit the time you spend creeping on Instagram. When you spend a lot of time looking at what others are doing, you start to think you are missing out on something when you really aren’t. You want to be apart of the group or do what they’re doing because it looks exciting. When in fact, that perfect picture probably took 26 takes and taken a week ago.

Maybe power off all devices an hour before bed and do a digital detox. If your phone is off you can’t constantly check updates. You can also try deleting the apps off of your phone altogether. With the time you normally spend on social media, you can do something more productive – Like read a book or start a blog 🙂

If you are the type of person that purchases items based on the new “it” thing seen on social media or buy something to out do a friend than maybe you should try picking one or two areas you really care about. This way you choose what you will splurge on wisely. When I started my financial journey I identified the key areas that were none negotiable when it comes to bringing joy into my life. I love to travel and explore so I save accordingly. Instead of paying $120 every month for my nails and pedicure, I started putting that into my travel fund. Cancelling my salon appointments puts another $150-200 into the travel fund.

Another thing that is important to me is saving for my financial future and I am a firm believer in paying yourself first. Why? Because I have a fear of missing out during my retirement due to me not saving enough. Even if you save an extra 1% and increase annually until you hit 10%. Paying yourself first is a great way to control how much funds you have to spend now, while also protecting your future finances.

If you feel like you can’t balance living in the moment and your finances, don’t worry because you are not alone. Plenty of people feel that way about their life and finances. Take it slow and try to tackle your habits one at a time. That way you don’t feel overwhelmed and once you have mastered one you move on to another habit. Getting over FOMO and getting your finances in order is a marathon. Just enjoy your journey.

Do you have FOMO? Is there something you do to create balance between your FOMO and finances?