Lissette Calveiro, an influencer from New York City talked about she racked up $10,000 in debt trying to keep up with her image of an Instagram influencer.
Calveiro who has 37.6k followers on Instagram, wrote for Metro’s Debt Diaries talking about she had gotten hooked to the Instagram influencer life after moving to New York City in 2013 to pursue an internship working as a press agent for Broadway shows and actors.
“Every day, I found myself refreshing my social media news feeds to see what next trend was, where were the latest influencers eating and hanging out, and what were they wearing?” said Calveiro.
She splurged on designer handbags, clothes and vacations, all for Instagram while working minimum salary jobs, which also included an internship.
“This meant constant online shopping for a closet that enabled me to ‘never repeat an outfit’ for a picture, endless Açai bowls and brunches and a need to feed my newly acquired travel bug without consideration of the potential risks of being in debt – all to show off to my newfound followers.”
Living a glamorous and wealthy lifestyle, which she was funding by working multiple jobs, internship and credit cards, including the free trips and products she received from brands and companies. It was 3 years later that Lissette realized how critical her financial situation had become.
“I was shocked, scared, and disappointed. With all that debt looming over my head, it all felt like I was living a lie.”
Realizing the seriousness of her money issues, she immediately cut down on her spending habits.
“I took the $600 apartment with an hour commute of my work, went out with friends only a handful of times and learned how to cook for myself.”
She said at first the change made her feel sad. She felt like her dream of living a jet-set lifestyle in the big city was gone. But while she sacrificed and cut her spending and keeping up her appearance on social media with what she had started to pay off as her following grew, so did brand offers.
She started to share her hacks with her audience, but without mentioning her debt.
“The lifestyle I had been showing off now became a little more personal, and without explicitly talking about debt, I started to talk about the realities of being an influencer – including what is ‘real’, and what isn’t,” said Calveiro.
The Instagram influencer saw a boom in her audience numbers, as she started to grow on social media. She also managed to clear her credit card debt by the start of 2018, and cut back on many of her other habits, with online shopping being one of her biggest addictions. Making use of the closet she started a Rent the Runway.
Since her wakeup call, Lissette now travels under budget, utilizing the airline miles she had accumulated during her jet-setting days. She still lives by the hacks she preaches her audience.
She believes she had her wakeup call just in time before things took a turn for the worse, with some never realizing it while they chase their dream of becoming an influencer as they rack up a mountain of debt until it’s too late.
“I learned that there is no lifestyle worth the feeling of financial pressure. Being open and honest about my experiences is the biggest relief in a world where so much of what we see is fake.”