Smartphones, laptops, and apps are part of your everyday life, but it may time for a digital detox.
Technology makes our lives easier, but it also comes at a cost. From Black Friday deals to super savings, we’re bombarded with information promising a better life.
As a result, there are constant temptations to spend as advertisements flood inboxes or pop up on social media. A digital detox can act as a spring cleaning to help you achieve your financial goals.
Research shows that doing a digital detox and avoiding smart devices for a week can reduce our exposure to harmful blue light, improve sleep quality, and boost well being.
It’s also a great way to set spending priorities, stop getting emails from stores with tempting deals, and be more present in our financial lives.
1. Live in the Present
Most of us live with a smartphone in our hands. We have apps for fitness, cooking, transportation, TV, photography, bill pay, and more. But unfortunately, when our screens engross us, we pay less attention to the world.
This also applies to how we spend money.
For example, we’ve all been guilty of ordering food when we already have food going to waste in the refrigerator. Likewise, we buy more clothes because they’re “on sale” or it makes us feel good about ourselves when we have closets and dressers stuffed with things we could already use.
Amazon Prime makes it easy to click and buy and have the item show up the next day. Advertisements make us want to buy something right away instead of taking a step back to figure out if we really need it or if it just makes us feel good.
This means that many of us are throwing away a lot of money due to the lure of technology. Doing a digital detox can help you focus on what you have and what you need. It can foster a more minimalistic rather than materialistic mindset.
While you might not be able to escape screen time if you work remotely or in a traditional office setting, there are things that you can do to reduce your time in front of the blue screen.
For instance, set your phone aside when you’re done with work and engage with the real world outside instead of the virtual universe. Go for a walk. Cook a meal. Call a friend. Go to a museum. Spend time with your family. Or work on that personal goal you’ve always wanted to achieve.
Not only can a digital detox improve your mental health, but it can also help cut down on unnecessary spending and leave more money in your accounts every month.
Becoming Minimalist has more great trips on how to get started.
2. Go Green
Most of us live a plugged-in life without thinking. We keep our phones charged like they’re our lifeblood. Unfortunately, running out of battery can spell disaster.
Many people charge their phones overnight and top up battery juice multiple times daily. Most people turn off lights and TVs at night but leave their phones running. Since this is such a normalized part of life, most of us don’t realize that this constant connectivity impacts the world around us.
All this constant charging uses electricity. Keeping your devices plugged in day and night can make your electricity bills soar. It also impacts the environment as natural resources are used to power utilities.
Cutting down on smart device use and unplugging electronics once charged can save you money by reducing your electricity usage. In addition, if your family and friends decide to join you in a digital detox, you can save more money while helping save the environment.
3. Reduce Advertising
Sitting in front of a screen, you won’t escape advertisement exposure. Sponsored posts, email campaigns, and ads tailored to your searches, purchase history, and preferences are everywhere. Marketing influences users who shop online, play games on their device or scroll through Instagram, Tiktok, or other social media platforms.
Since 2018, more people spend their lives online consuming media than watching television. This means that companies have changed their advertisement strategy. They design eye-catching advertisements to reach their target audiences and grab their attention.
Screen time is such a big part of our daily lives that it’s a good idea to ease into reducing time spent on our devices rather than going cold turkey. A simple way to begin a digital detox is to start going through your emails and subscriptions.
Many of us subscribe to companies, stores, products, and news websites that we don’t even use. It’s also a bigger temptation to spend more money when we are constantly bombarded with advertisements for everything from fake eyelashes and home décor to shoes, games, jewelry, spa products, or crafts.
4. Help Develop Impulse Control
Over time, exposure to the same products or brands can erode your impulse control. When companies expose you to their merchandise repeatedly and often, it makes the purchase feel less impulsive. We start telling ourselves that it is okay to buy these things.
That means people are more likely to buy if they don’t feel guilty. Experts say that spending excessive time on our phones increases our ad exposure. This reduces control and makes it harder to avoid spending.
Once you recognize this fact, you can learn to practice controlling impulse buys. Reducing exposure to tempting brands can also help you resist these marketing ploys.
By unsubscribing to store emails, you can reduce your screen time, reduce information overload, and save more money for the things that matter to you.
5. Ditch FOMO to Save More Money
We’ve all experienced FOMO, or the Fear of Missing Out. From overseas vacations and exotic homes to designer clothes and the latest gadgets, our devices give us a million options that make us thirst for high-flying lifestyles.
When we log onto a social media platform, celebrities and influencers living their best lives flaunt items that promise to make us just like them. Exposure to these online lives can fill us with envy and make us want to buy the things that will give us a similar lifestyle.
As most of us know, these products and experiences aren’t free. Before you know it, your FOMO can end up with a hefty price tag. Taking a break from social media can reduce exposure to influencers, advertisements, and products that affect your mental wellbeing and flatten our wallets.
Instead, reducing technology usage can allow you to set a time limit on screen time. A digital detox can declutter your life like a mental spring cleaning and help you focus on your hobbies, interests, family, or friends. A digital detox can reduce impulse spending, give you more mental clarity and focus, and enable you to save your hard-earned money for specific experiences and goals that are important to you.
Image by [Cozine] via [Shutterstock.com].