“Tiktok made me buy it” is an all-too-common story these days, so it’s no surprise the new de-influencing trend has taken off. Influencers are now telling people what not to buy and giving honest reviews of disappointing products, with many urging viewers not to waste their money.
It’s part of a trend towards more mindful and environmentally conscious spending.
Some de-influencers might have their own agendas and be pushing their own products. But following trustworthy “de-influencers'' for their product recommendations is one way to make better purchases.
How else can you ensure you’re buying good quality things you actually want and need?
Here are eight tips for staying true to yourself and tuning out of marketing hype, so you don’t end up wasting money on another trending item.
1. Know your own taste and priorities
When you aren’t in the grip of scrolling social media, take time to understand what really matters to you.
What are your priorities in life? Your financial priorities? What would you be gutted about if you didn’t achieve? Then take a look at what you’re spending money on, and see if things match up.
Take time to figure out your style and the products that work best for you too – without being influenced by what’s trending.
Understanding yourself means you can ensure your purchases align with your taste and priorities.
2. Look at your past spending habits
It helps to know which spending categories you have the most issues with before trying to change your behaviour. Whether it’s clothes, beauty, sports equipment, specialty coffee, or whatever else, knowing how much you’ve spent at a certain retailer in the past can help you be more careful going forward.
To do this in Monzo, head to Trends, select Spending and you can view your spending broken down by either category or merchant.
3. Is what you’re seeing an #ad?
Look for signs that the person is being paid to promote the product or service. In the UK, content creators, influencers and celebrities must clearly label something an #ad if they’ve been paid to post content, received a gift, or are promoting their own business.
If someone is being paid to sell something, don’t automatically assume what they’re saying is honest.
4. Dive deep into reviews
Be sure to read multiple reviews across different platforms, including social media and review platforms like Trustpilot and Which?, as well as retailers’ websites. Tools like ReviewMeta (Amazon) and Fakespot (Amazon, Ebay and more) can give you a better idea of whether a product’s reviews are genuine.
On social media, search for hashtags related to the item you’re interested in for unbiased reviews from people who haven’t been paid to post about it.
Do reviews keep mentioning the same flaws? Don’t buy something after reading or watching just one review. The more you watch and read, the more nuanced a view of the product you’ll have.
5. Create a wish list
Create a digital or physical wish list of everything you’re considering buying. Each time something catches your eye, add it to the list rather than buying it right away. This can help you reduce impulse and unnecessary purchases which would otherwise be a result of influencing.
Sometimes you’ll end up removing the item from your list if your impulse fades or if you read a trustworthy bad review. But if your desire for the item remains, don’t feel bad about buying it.
6. Pause before hitting “buy”
When we’re distracted, in a rush or using shopping as a coping mechanism, as many of us do sometimes, it’s difficult to make the right decisions.
If you’re about to make an impulse buy, add the item to your basket and wait a week, or at least a few days, before buying it. That way, you’ll know if you actually want it or if you just wanted the instant gratification of buying something.
To really test yourself, you could even follow the 30 day savings rule. Make a note of the item and wait a full 30 days before parting with your money. If you still want it after those 30 days and you can afford it, go for it.
Influencers often create a sense of urgency around products because they want to boost sales for their own benefit. Be wary of this and wait to see if it’s something you really want.
7. Shop around
Don’t just buy the first version of a product you see. Shop around to see if there’s a dupe of the product that’s less expensive and does the same job, or a better deal on another shopping platform. Check social media for honest reviews of the dupe, too – maybe it’s worth spending the extra money and getting the original product.
De-influencing is shining a light on the less expensive dupes that are equal to, or even better than, the original.
It’s normal to be attracted by big brand names, but it’s worth checking whether there’s a cheaper alternative out there before spending big money.
8. Unfollow untrustworthy influencers
The best way to de-influence yourself is to unfollow influencers whose content you distrust or that makes you feel pressured to “keep up”. De-influencing is about tuning out of marketing hype and buying good quality products that you actually want and/or need.
And if you’re trying to avoid marketing entirely, unfollow all influencers and browse cat videos and nature accounts instead.