budgeting, instagram shopping, lifestyle, travel, foodie Girl takes a selfie with an ice cream cone standing in front of a window. Girl takes a selfie with an ice cream cone standing in front of a window. Girl takes a selfie with an ice cream cone standing in front of a window. Girl takes a selfie with an ice cream cone standing in front of a window.
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How to live your best Instagram life...without breaking the bank

The following article is part of Chase Slate's 2018 Credit Outlook, which provides data-driven insights on how Americans' views on spending, saving and budgeting is changing.

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The cost of living the ideal Instagram life can add up pretty quickly. For example, the Chase Slate 2018 Credit Outlook reports that, among active millennial Instagram users, 77 percent spent money on items and posted photos of them on Instagram.

A lot of those Instagram purchases were high-ticket items. Fifty-five percent of active millennial Instagrammers posted travel pics, 53 percent posted pics of food, 44 percent highlighted events and experiences, and 29 percent posted pictures of new clothes and accessories.

That competitive, aspirational lifestyle can get expensive. Here are some tips for building the perfect 'gram without breaking the bank.

Clothes buying: Take a poll

Building an Instagram-worthy wardrobe can cost a fortune. Instead of automatically buying an expensive outfit, why not make the decision-making process a part of your Instagram story?

If a particular outfit catches your eye but the price tag disappoints, try it on anyway. If you like the way it looks, ask the sales person or a friend to take a picture of you—preferably facing the sunlight, instead of the unflattering dressing room light bulbs!

Ask to put the outfit on hold for a day while you consider the purchase, then post your photo on Instagram, along with a caption that shares your conundrum—perhaps something like "To buy or not to buy?"

Not only will this give your viewers an honest glimpse into your life, it will also help you crowdsource a difficult purchasing decision. If you tag the store and designer, you might even be able to get a discount!

Travel: Sunsets never disappoint

Visiting expensive destinations can be a lot of fun, but sometimes the best views come for free. An Instagram photo of the sun rising or setting in a foreign land is a simple, inexpensive way to highlight your getaway.

If you want a little more local color, many cities offer free museum passes for travelers or host free festivals. Check with your hotel front desk to ask about free excursions or events—and use Instagram to give your followers a front row seat to the fun.

Food: Brightness and close-ups

When it comes to taking pictures of food, good lighting can make a world of difference. I once got a chance to chat with Rachel Mansfield, a food blogger with more than 260,000 Instagram followers. Her photos of healthy, homemade food routinely get thousands of likes, and her lifestyle blog has become the cornerstone of a six-figure business.

One of my first questions was whether Rachel's food photos were professionally taken and edited. She told me that all she uses is her phone and the natural light in her apartment!

The trick, she said, was her cutting board. A gray and white slab of marble that she and her husband had on their wedding registry, it's become the backdrop for many of her pictures. She's also a master of close-up photos, which make you instantly crave her recipes.

As Rachel's experience shows, Instagram fame doesn't have to cost a fortune. Sharing your life with others, taking the time to find unexpected sights, and—most importantly—developing your own distinct, unique style can set you apart. Instead of spending money on high-end products, spend some time on yourself: the rewards will extend far beyond your feed!

Infographic: Bought It For The 'Gram

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