Do you ever wonder what it would’ve been like to wear hoop skirts and elaborate wigs, day in and day out? I do. Then I remember how grateful I am to be able to appear in public without a corset and lead-laden makeup.
But would I have? Definitely. Because humans are social creatures. This need for social interaction is what drives us to follow trends. It’s how we bond with others, distinguish ourselves from the crowd, and feel like we’re part of a group. It’s human nature to want to be accepted, and following trends is one way to achieve that.
The problem with following trends is that they can often be short-lived and expensive. Just think about how frequently you’ve bought something because it was popular, only to find it already out of style a few months later. (Fast fashion, anyone?) Or how many times have you shelled out big bucks for the latest must-have item, only to find out that it doesn’t do anything that the older model didn’t? Dear Apple, please chill with the new phones, PLEASE.
Why do humans follow trends?
When we see someone else doing something, it triggers a response in our brain called mirroring. Mirroring is when we automatically mimic the actions of others. It’s a survival mechanism that helps us fit in and feel like we belong.
There’s no doubt that following trends can be costly. From buying into the latest crypto craze to blowing your hard-earned cash on overpriced trend-driven fashion, there are plenty of ways to lose money by chasing after what’s popular.
Here, we look at some of the most costly trends and show you how you can avoid falling victim to their financial pitfalls.
Cryptocurrency: The Latest Crypto Craze
When Bitcoin, Luna, Dogecoin, and other cryptocurrencies were hitting all-time highs, it was no surprise that investors were rushing to get in on the action. However, buying into the latest crypto craze can be a costly mistake. Cryptocurrencies are notoriously volatile, meaning their prices can fluctuate wildly from one day to the next. This makes them a risky investment and one that’s not suitable for everyone. If you’re considering buying into the cryptocurrency trend, do your research first and only invest what you can afford to lose.
The rise of meme stocks like GameStop and AMC has caught the attention of retail investors worldwide. While there’s no doubt that these stocks can be profitable, they’re also incredibly risky. Because social media buzz drives them, meme stock prices can fluctuate rapidly, making them hard to predict. If you’re considering investing in meme stocks, make sure you have a solid understanding of the risks involved before putting any money down.
Fashion: The Cost of Keeping up with the Latest Trends
From designer labels to fast fashion, it’s no secret that clothes can be expensive. And the cost can quickly add up if you’re trying to keep up with the latest trends. The key to avoiding the financial pitfalls of fashion is to buy what you love, not what’s popular. That way, you’ll never waste money on something you’ll only wear once or twice.
Pro-tip: try focusing on the cost per use. Think of the number of times you will wear an item over the next six months. What about two years? Fast fashion suddenly doesn’t seem so cheap when you focus on the cost per use.
Going Out: The Cost of FOMO
FOMO, or the fear of missing out, is a powerful force. It can drive us to do things we wouldn’t normally do, like spend money we don’t have on nights out we can’t afford. If you’re susceptible to FOMO, it’s important to be aware of its power and learn how to resist it. After all, the cost of missing out is often far higher than the cost of staying in.
Housing: From Buying to Renting, Keeping up with the Joneses Could Cost You
It’s no secret that housing costs have been on the rise in recent years. And if you’re trying to keep up with the Joneses, the cost can quickly become unsustainable. The key to avoiding the financial pitfalls of housing is to buy what you can afford and be content with what you have. That can be a tall task when housing prices have gotten outrageous, making the same apartment less affordable from one year to the next.
While strategies exist, like house-hacking and relocating to lower cost of living areas for remote workers, they obviously won’t work for everyone. That’s where a plan comes into play. Try sitting down with a money coach to help devise a creative plan to cope with rising costs. There’s no need to keep up with the Joneses if it means putting your financial future at risk.
Here are a few tips to help you avoid following trends
Are you sick of wasting your money on trends that come and go?
1. Do your research
Before you buy anything, do some research to see how long the trend is likely to last. If it may only be popular for a season, you might want to think twice before spending too much money on it.
2. Stick to your budget
Just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s worth going into debt. If you can’t afford to pay for something outright, wait until the trend dies down to buy it on sale. This could even include housing.
3. Think about your personal style
Just because something is trendy doesn’t mean it will suit your style. If you’re not comfortable wearing or using it, there’s no point in buying it just because everyone else is.
4. Be trend-savvy
There’s nothing wrong with following trends, as long as you do it logically. For example, researching and investing 2-5% of your TOTAL portfolio in crypto is reasonable as long as you’re comfortable with volatility and the risk of losing it.
5. Be the master of your own trends
At the end of the day, you should dress and accessorize for yourself, not for other people. If you’re happy with your personal style, don’t feel you need to change it just because a new trend has come along.
Trends can be costly; there’s no doubt about it. But you can avoid falling victim to financial pitfalls by being aware of the risks and making wise choices. Do your research before buying into any trend, and only invest what you can afford to lose. And most importantly, remember that you don’t have to keep up with the Joneses. Practice being content with what you have; you’ll be better off in the long run.