Millennials, we waste money and complain about the housing market. But how much of this is actually our own doing. Now before you start typing out your reply, hear me out.
Last week on twitter I came across this article about a thirty year old earning £40k; who had to move back in with her parents to try and save for a mortgage. Seems sensible enough. Until you read the article and realise ontop of her £2000+ take home wage, she also regularly asks her parents for up to £500 a month for unexpected bills. Like most of twitter I called out the girl and her spending habits for being ridiculous. But the fact she was so oblivious about being so well off made me question whether a lot of us millennials bring this upon ourselves.
Like most millennials I don’t think I live a lavish lifestyle. Yet when I speak to my mum, she is astonished by the things I spend my money on. Growing up I remember never being allowed to go to starbucks for coffee, we had coffee at home. The thought of spending £3 on a coffee when we could spend 30p on one made at home was absurd to my mum. Whereas there’s rarely a day that goes by when I don’t get myself a delicious caramel latte. My treat for waking up and getting myself to work, I think.
I see a lot of similar situations like this with people of my generation. We start earning a little bit more money and these treats soon become an everyday norm. In the post mentioned above, the woman commented that she even has to paint her own nails because she can’t afford luxuries like getting them done at a nail spa. This really struck a nerve with me. So many working women, myself included, have their nails done on a regular basis. I cherish my fortnightly appointment at the nail spa, it’s a real treat and makes me feel so good about myself. But with so many of us doing it on such a regular basis, is this becoming the norm?
We live in such a ‘treat yo self’ time that so many of us are treating ourselves so often that it has become normal.
There’s no denying that well paying jobs straight out of university, or with no degree at all are harder to get. That house prices are going up, and that securing a deposit and mortgage are becoming increasingly out of reach for most of us. But are we all using this as an excuse?
What I see is that millennials prioritise their money different to other generations. Where it may have taken our parents a few years to save for a deposit, it’ll likely take us over 10 years. We have less money to spare and instead of compromising on our lifestyles we have chosen to give up on the ‘owning a home young’ dream like our parents had. I think this is where all the ‘millennials spend money on avocado and not saving’ articles have come from. No, never buying avocado won’t save you enough for a deposit on a home, but these small things we all spend our money on do add up.
I’m not trying to call anyone out here. I 100% fit into the millennial I am describing here. I could quit my £10 a week coffee habit and spend that money on a holiday once a year, but I have chosen to prioritise a small cup of joy everyday vs an extra yearly holiday.
Ontop of this, we also live in a time where consumerism is at it’s highest. We have been conditioned to want, to buy and to be impatient. With things like netflix, amazon prime and the internet in general, we don’t ever have to wait for anything anymore. Convenience has not only become something we want, it has become something we expect. Going back to the coffee scenario, my office has a branded coffee shop within the building. I don’t even have to go outside to get myself a coffee. Compared with our parents generation where coffee shops weren’t even a thing.
It’s really difficult to compare the spending habits of our parents with the spending habits of millennials. So much has changed in that time. The lifestyle both of us expect is very different and I think this is where the internets dragging of millennials has come in. And then you get people like the girl from the article, who I think we can all agree is a bit ridiculous.
While I do think there are many factors making it harder for millennials like myself to get on the property ladder or save money, rents and house prices being ridiculous at the moment. I also feel like I should take some of the responsibility. I live a comfortable lifestyle, one which I am not willing to compromise on to save a few extra £ a month.