Americans are now averaging 11+ hours per day hooked up in some way to the Internet. Even if you are working (and not checking social media) for a full eight hours per day, that still leaves at least three hours for watching cat videos, uploading filtered selfies, checking out pictures of your ex’s new fling from a beach vacation, and of course, online shopping.
That much screen time could be bad news for your budget — and great news for online marketers.
Think about it. How often have you gone online to just look up one little thing and ended up buying something you hadn’t planned to purchase? Or perhaps you signed up for a newsletter to get more information about something else that piqued your interest? A newsletter that will eventually lead you through a sophisticated sales funnel, built according to studies done by behavioral psychologists and persuasion specialists, that will ultimately end with you making another purchase, or clicking another link, leading you further down the proverbial rabbit hole.
By the time you reach the offer triggered by the original newsletter signup, your purchase is less a decision and more a knee-jerk reaction to hit that buy button. At that point, you’re not really thinking about the consequence of another chunk of change getting tossed onto your debt pile.
But let’s stop for a reality check.
It’s 2016. Interest rates have been rock-bottom for nearly a decade. We are finally seeing some tentative moves towards raising rates, which is great news for savers, and bad news for debtors. Chances are, given current trends, interest rates are going to get higher.
What does that mean for you? Take a couple of minutes to click on this link to check out Ready for Zero. This is one of my favorite new financial tools that pulls together all of your debt information, arranges it in order of highest to lowest interest, and then calculates the payoff plan based on how much you can pay towards your debt every month. One of my favorite features is the way it shows you how much you currently pay in interest every day. The change of a few percentage points on your credit cards can extend the amount of time it takes to pay off your debt and also increase the amount of interest you will pay.
This makes 2016 the best year ever to climb out of debt and get focused on saving.
Easier said, than done right? Because just being aware of the pitfalls of online marketing won’t automatically help you start saving. In fact, navigating all of the information the Internet can provide about savings can be overwhelming, and the number of choices can even stall your decision-making process. I’ll explain further how to cut through Analysis Paralysis to start your saving in Part Two of The Internet and Your Money.
For now, don’t let the impulse buys, targeted advertising, FOMO, and YOLO stop you getting your debt paid down. If you want tips for cutting your junk spending (like disabling Amazon one click, deleting saved credit card info, and creating a secret Pinterest board for your next lifestyle upgrade), check out Episode Three of my podcast right here: Cutting the Junk (Spending). If you want to find out more about my favorite financial apps and tools, here is a link to a list on my website: My Favorite Tools for Life and Business. Don’t forget to tune back in for Part Two to find out how to jumpstart your saving and build up your wealth!
Jennifer Turrell is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.