Instagram is now one of the most frequently used social media channels in the world, with around 60 million images and a massive 1.6 billion likes posted daily. What’s more, the platform offers aspirational young photographers, creatives, dreamers and fashionistas a way to share their passions and talents. And in some cases, it can even lead to full time employment and – whisper it – fame. However, keeping your Instagram profile updated doesn’t always come cheap. So with that in mind, here are 5 IDEAL ways to make your Instagram feed amazing without breaking the bank.

DON’T BELIEVE ALL THE HYPE

First things first, remember to keep it real. Don’t take everything you see on Instagram literally. Most likely, that chance shot was carefully choreographed, that natural look primed with a clutch of unnatural products, that lunch got cold before it looked just right, and that inspirational quote didn’t come from the Dalai Lama, but in fact a bot from Russia.

Many who appear to be living the Instagram dream are, quite simply put, faking it. With cleverly timed and captioned posts, not to mention the countless image editing apps out there, it’s possible for anyone to look like they’re living the high life, when behind the scenes, things are mundane and monotone.

Tanya Goodin, author of ‘OFF: Your Digital Detox for a Better Life’, told the Independent, “We know that spending too much time on social media can have a negative effect on mental health and this is just another example of how the relentless pressure to have a perfect ‘Instagrammable’ life can get seriously out of hand and cause real problems in real life.”

So, bear this in mind when you’re choosing who to follow as well as when you’re building your own community. There’s nothing wrong with exercising a bit of creative license, but keep your posts as honest as possible, whenever possible. Speaking of which…

LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS

If you choose the Instagram life, then please, live within your means. Is a payday loan really worth a pretty picture? A lifetime of debt equal to a few, paltry likes? Most certaintly not. There have been recent stories of debt and financial ruin of wannabe Instagram stars, which should serve as a warning. Indeed, a recent newspaper report revealed that one woman racked up £7,256 debt after trying to become ‘instagram famous’. So, ask yourself it you can afford it, and if it’s really worth it, before you spend serious money in the name of courting followers.

FIND YOUR NICHE

Whether you’re into crochet or watching videos of kinetic sand (yes that’s a thing), there’s a feed for you. Ok, you don’t have to be that specific, but many of the most successful accounts have a clear focus. The great thing about a niche Instagram feed is that it’s narrow in scope and therefore easy to identify with your target followers, which means it’s more simple to monetize your feed through working with specific brands looking to target your niche.

FLY IN STYLE FOR LESS

Travel is one of the most popular instagram passion points but can also be one of the most expensive to pursue. One way to get to your desired destination and make the journey there truly instagramable is by using discounted private jet charters (yes, really!).

In recent years, travel on private jets has become much more accessible due to innovations in charter business models and emerging technology. Mobile phone apps that allow travelers to book private jets now sometimes offer seats on empty leg flights and let passengers share jets. These advances mean that it can be much cheaper to fly privately. And you can evoke an image of some serious opulence and bling in the process.

SEARCH FOR BARGAINS

If you’re serious about making your feed look the business (and be your business), a little creative thinking can go a long way. Being savvy and keeping a keen eye open for promotions and bargains can help provide valuable material for your feed. If you’re a foodie, for example, seeking out restaurant soft launches or set lunch promotions can be a great way to eat at new hot-spots for discounted prices. Likewise, if you’re more of a fashionista, vintage and sample sales offer a means to get your hands on designer clothes at affordable prices.