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Want to Improve Your Finances? Try a Digital Detox to Help Reset Your Spending Habits Thumbnail

Want to Improve Your Finances? Try a Digital Detox to Help Reset Your Spending Habits

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic smartphone usage has increased dramatically and reached all time highs as more people lost their jobs, were furloughed or adhering to stay-at-home orders.

Smartphones have plenty of benefits however, they can also be bad news for your budget. In fact, the combined global monthly amount that consumers spent on apps and games peaked in May 2020 at $9.4 billion, a 25 percent gain on the monthly average in 2019.1 

While that’s all fun and games (no pun intended), it may be time to do a “digital detox.” Below we discuss why this may be good for you mentally and financially. Continue reading as we also discuss five good tips to help yourself unplug.

5 Ways a Digital Detox Can Save You Money

Way #1: You're Exposed to Fewer Ads

When you have a screen in front of you, whether it is a phone, IPad, TV, etc., you can’t avoid being exposed to advertisements. From sponsored content on social media to well-targeted email campaigns, advertisements are everywhere.

According to a recent report, 2018 was the first year that people around the world spent more time-consuming media on their computers and smartphones than on television.2 Due to this many companies have changed the way they advertise. Companies are now gearing their marketing efforts toward online platforms with the goal of grabbing the attention from online shoppers, gamers, and social media users. 

Due to the increase in online marketing, spending less time online will automatically reduce the amount of ad exposure you’re receiving on a daily basis. As a result, there will be less temptation to purchase impulsively.

Way #2: It Builds Your Impulse Control

When you are exposed to the same brand or product over and over and over, it can wear down your impulse control over time. The more often you see something, the less “impulsive” the purchase will feel. Recognizing this fact is an important part of resisting any purchasing temptations.

In fact, studies on smartphone usage have shown that your impulse control is lessened with excessive use of your phone.3 Since everything is right at your fingertips, it can be harder to say “no.” Therefore, by spending more time away from your devices it can help build up your impulse control and remove the temptation altogether.

Way #3: You Won’t Experience FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

By logging onto Facebook or any social media platform, you are exposing yourself to the on goings of others' lives. Social media influencers flaunt new products or share their latest travels, friends post about taking weekend trips and wearing fashionable clothing, whatever it is your connections are doing right now, you’re seeing. This exposure could easily trigger the feeling of wanting to do the same thing or buy the same things as those who are sharing on social media. FOMO is short for “fear of missing out,” and it’s a very real phenomenon. You start to envy the people that you see living these lives and want the same for yourself. 

Of course, most of these experiences or products aren’t free. Therefore, your FOMO could soon translate to a need to spend money to achieve a similar result. If you didn’t log on in the first place, you wouldn’t experience those feelings, which will save you money by removing the temptation from your life. 

Way #4: It Can Help Realign Your Priorities

Do you find yourself mindlessly perusing shopping websites, and the next thing you know you have unnecessary items in your cart? If so, you are not alone. While this can be harmless, it causes unnecessary temptation to purchase these unnecessary items.

By spending time away from your phone or computer you are freeing up for more time to spend with family and friends. Also, with more free time on your hands you could learn a new hobby such as golf, fishing, reading, etc. These types of activities can bring you a much-needed mental break as you realign your priorities and reassess what’s most important to you.

Way #5: It Gives You Back Your Free Time

One of the biggest benefits of a digital detox is that you will create a lot of free time in your day. Think of all that you could do with more hours back in your day? You could get more exercise or start a side hustle, focus on home improvement projects and more. 

5 Steps to Start Your Digital Detox

How do you begin this process? A digital detox can be quite a lifestyle change, but there are ways to get started and continue on with the new habits you are forming. Below we discuss five ways you can start your digital detox and help improve your finances.  

Step #1: Write Down Your Hobbies & Interests

First, start by making a list with all the things that you like to do that does not involve a device.

Are there things you’ve always wanted to accomplish but never seemed to have the time to do so? Creating a list of things you are interested in or want to achieve can serve as motivation to stay off of your phone. Also, the money that you would normally spend online can now be used for your new hobby or project. 

Step #2: Count Your Screens

Doing a digital detox doesn’t just refer to your smartphone. It can include every screen in your life including your tablet, laptop, Ereader, smartwatch, gaming device, etc. It will probably surprise you how many devices you use on a daily basis.

Step #3: Ease Into Your Detox

For most, there are some logistical issues with trying to quit technology “cold turkey.” You need to connect with your families, friends, schedule meetings, work from home and complete other important tasks on your devices.

A good technique to use in order to ease into your digital detox is to start by setting specific times when you want to avoid screens, such as first thing in the morning or right before bed. In fact, studies have shown that the blue light is harmful to your eyes and increases your alertness at night, making it harder to fall asleep and ultimately to wake up in the morning.4 

Step #4: Determine Your Screen Allowance

As mentioned above, there are instances in which you simply must use your device for work or to connect with others. If this is the case, you may find it helpful to utilize an app, there are apps that can limit your screen time and allowance.

These apps can help you to focus on the moment and quit mindless scrolling once you have sent that email or important text message. 

Step #5: Get Back to Basics

Think back to the days when there were no smartphones, smartwatches, or any other device. What you did before the era of smartphones and devices? Put away your Apple watch for a while and use a regular wristwatch. Switch to an analog alarm clock in the morning, so that you don’t have to have your phone alarm right next to your bed. Instead of reading books on your Kindle or Tablet, go back to the library and get the hard copies. It’s going to be a lifestyle change, however, going back to the basics will set the tone for your digital detox, as well as making your transition to disconnect easier. 

While there is more involved when it comes to improving your finances, a digital detox can be an effective place to start. If you utilize the tips listed above, you should slowly see your finances start to improve.

  1. https://www.marketingcharts.com/digital/mobile-phone-114746
  2. https://www.wpp.com/wpp-iq/the-state-of-digital
  3. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0241383
  4. https://www.sclhealth.org/blog/2019/09/why-it-is-time-to-ditch-the-phone-before-bed/

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.