How I Got Out Of My Instagram Debt

Lissette Calveiro fell into the influencer lifestyle, but because she didn't have sponsporships, she racked up thousands of dollars in debt.

According to Time magazine, Calveiro fell into the social media trap where everyone's lives look perfect and you start thinking your life is lacking in some way. 

To get her life looking less like her own and more like the ones she saw on Instagram, Calveiro spent $10 000 to make her life Insta-perfect. She believed that if it's not on the gram it didn't happen. She describes herself to her 31 700 Instagram followers as a publicist, content creator, lifestyle aficionado and hashtag enthusiast.

The 26-year-old American was working as an intern when her spiral into debt started. She was receiving a small transport allowance - but admitted to Time magazine that she would spend money travelling to exotic places like Spain and buying clothes so that she would not be seen on Instagram with the same outfit twice. She quickly burned through her savings and relied heavily on a second retail job and multiple credit cards.

Lissette Calveiro2
Lissette Calveiro's Instagram reflects her travels to Mexico, Cuba and the US Virgin Islands. Credit: Instagram

"There are a lot of influencers who are always posting these luxury vacations in all these clothes, so I felt the pressure to want to emulate that as well. So a lot of my spending was just kind of lifestyle spending, eating out every day," she told

She admitted that even after moving back home to Miami,after her New York internship, and getting a full-time job her reckless financial behaviour continued.

"The biggest problem is that I didn't have a savings-first mindset," Calveiro said. "It was just spend, spend, spend... If I was making $1,500 per paycheck for example, everything was allocated to shopping or to eating out or whatever so I was never saving and I ended up overspending a lot."

Although you don't think you would spend R118 333 to have a good-looking Instagram page, all the needless eating out just so you can check into a fancy restaurant on Facebook is a similar potential landmine. Even if you're still spending only hundreds of rands on your Instagram, it's worth re-looking your finances before your expenses get out hand.

Here's how Calveiro got herself out of debt:

  • High credit card payments: She was used to making the minimum payments on her credit cards which became counterproductive as the interest accumulated the following year would make her small payments void.
  • A simpler lifestyle: Besides expensive shopping sprees, Calveiro would indulge heavily on eating out with friends. She put a stop to this and now cooks more often and carries a lunchbox to work.
  • Inventive splurges: Instead of pricey shopping sprees every month, Calveiro invested in Rent the Runway where she could rent designer clothes for the fraction of the cost of her usual sprees.
  • Smart investing: Calverio decided to invest in cryptocurrency such as BitCoin. Although it is a risky place to put money, she got enough back to put a nice dent in her debt.
  • Financial education: She learned as much about her finances as she could, even the jargon used so she could avoid getting into debt again.