Lissette Calveiro, a 26-year-old working in PR and marketing, owed about $10,000 in credit card bills when she moved to New York City in 2016, she told the New York Post. Before prioritizing marketing, Calveiro was trying to supplement her career by making money as an Instagram influencer, spending more money than she was making on anything else that would make her life look perfect to her followers.
"Instagram, or any [kind of] picture-perfect life, is not worth going into debt for," Calveiro told Cosmopolitan.com. She'd found her debt manageable while living with her parents in Miami (where she's from), but had a rude financial awakening upon moving to NYC.
"Moving to New York was always in my career plan," she explained "but I felt that I was not going to be able to fully live out this experience if I had credit card debt looming over my head. I was confident I would pay it off 'eventually,' but had to do it quickly in order to live a peaceful life."
That meant cutting the travel (she'd spent years looking to accumulate as many Snapchat geo-filter stamps as possible) and the shopping (she was splurging on at least one designer item a month to show her followers). It also meant prioritizing her full-time office job over posting pictures, which wasn't something she'd done before this most recent position.
What was most difficult for her, though, was "understanding how to live under [her] means." She ended up renting an apartment "about half the monthly cost of what [she] could have comfortably afforded" which "allowed [her] to make huge payments to [her credit] cards.
Also, "hacks!" Miles, credits, and points she'd accumulated from spending so much money on credit cards not only helped limit her spending, but they also allowed her to continue doing some of the traveling she'd previously constantly enjoyed.
Now that she's comfortably out of debt — at least in the credit card realm, her student loans are still looming — Calveiro is speaking out about her situation because not many in her place do: "My close network of friends also have similar sentiments where they feel like this problem of overspending to have a 'picture perfect life' is so common, that it's surprising no one has spoke up about it yet."
"Talking about personal finance shouldn't be taboo, or something to be afraid of," she said. Meanwhile, she's more than doubled her Instagram following since the Post piece.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.