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- The dream of chasing an influencer lifestyle left Lissette Calveiro in $10,000 worth of debt.
- She started buying decadent brunches, outfits, and holidays on credit cards when she moved to New York City, she wrote for The Metro’s Debt Diaries series.
- Despite having 37,000 Instagram followers, Calveiro felt like she was “living a lie.”
- After a financial “wake-up call,” Calveiro made cutbacks and started paying off her debt. She managed to be out of the red by the end of 2018.
- Now she is more honest with her followers about her financial situation and the “realities of being an influencer – including what is ‘real,’ and what isn’t.”
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The dream influencer lifestyle isn’t always what it seems, according to Lissette Calveiro, who wrote a blog for The Metro’s Debt Diaries series. Calveiro has 37,000 Instagram followers, but ended up in $10,000 worth of debt from buying decadent brunches, outfits, and holidays.
Calveiro moved to New York City in 2013 to start her internship at a press agency. At first, she was just watching influencers on social media to see where they were hanging out, but she soon got wrapped up in the need to pursue the influencer life herself, and buy everything they were buying.
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“Having a small but mighty presence on social media meant I could attend things for free and receive the occasional gifted experience but my entry-level salary was minimal,” Calveiro wrote. “So I was paying for my rent and increasingly extravagant lifestyle using a small savings account, and a handful of plastic.”
Her expenses included: “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.”
After three years of never paying more than the minimum on her credit card, Calveiro ended up $10,000 in the red. She said it was a “financial wake-up call” when she finally tallied it all up – like a scene from “Confessions of a Shopaholic.”
“With all that debt looming over my head, it all felt like I was living a lie,” she said.
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The only way to make a dent in all the credit card bills was to cut back, which meant not going out with friends as often and finding a cheaper apartment. Calveiro said it made her sad that the vision she had for her life that she was portraying on social media was “nowhere near reality.”
Making payments, a bit at a time, gave Calveiro a “high.” She managed to pay off her credit cards by the end of 2018. She then decided she needed to be more honest with her followers.
“I started sharing these hacks with my audience, and changed my voice online,” she said. “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.”