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How to Spend Money like a Millennial
by JESSICA ITZEL, Social Media Marketing Account Coordinator
MAY 26, 2011
This isn’t your typical blog post, but after reading articles like this, I felt compelled to offer up my two cents about my generation and its spending habits. Keep reading for a peek inside the minds and wallets of Millennials and let us know what you think – are we really that different in terms of how and where we spend our money?
You’ve just graduated and landed a job with a $25,000 salary or maybe you’ve been out of school for a few years, but still feel like a real-world rookie. Or perhaps you’re a baby boomer trying to figure out just what in God’s name your children are thinking when they carelessly swipe their credit card every time they see something shiny or in a tall pint glass.
Maybe you’re a marketer trying to gain insight into the 80 million people in this elusive but key demographic. For us, the so-called millennial generation, wealth is no longer measured by the amount of money tucked away in savings, but by the accumulation of social currency in increments of experiences, memories and status (Facebook status, that is).
And our savings banks overflow with memories of weekend festivals, trips around the world, and dinner dates, not necessarily paychecks. To get an idea of what we’re thinking, here’s how to spend money like a millennial:
Each morning, obsessively alternate between checking your bank account balance and every daily deal site known to man. Impulsively click “Buy” because $100 off a hot air balloon ride is just too good to pass up. Do you know how much those things normally cost?
Check your Groupon cache and realize you have four half-priced massages expiring in the next month. Think that hey, you deserve to be pampered sometimes. Mentally calculate how much the tip will cost.
Spend the next ten minutes adding up how much money you spend on tipping and chastise yourself momentarily for not doing things yourself. You can make your own dinner, right? And how hard is it to paint your own toenails? Look at your toenails in disgust and mentally note that you need to pick up the next deal for a pedi, stat.
Plan a date for Wednesday, your treat, at the nicest restaurant you have a coupon for. Call ahead to make a reservation and mention that you have 50% off and could you just read the coupon number to them now so you don’t have to prematurely reveal to your date that you can only afford rosemary mint rack of lamb on discount?
Try to imagine how you’re going to afford a house someday. Maybe by that point there will be daily deals for homes. Get $300,000 worth of house for just $174,000. Remember that you’ll eventually get involved in that start-up business you’ve been hoping to stumble upon. That’s the only way people make money these days, anyway. Consider starting a Daily Deals on Homes website and then spend a moment despairing that your million-dollar ideas have yet to come to fruition.
Get paid. Think that there’s no way you can possibly spend this much money in two weeks. Remember that your parents always tell you to put a little away each month, so ambitiously transfer a couple hundred dollars to your savings account, establishing a grand total of $262.54. Think, that wasn’t so hard, if you keep up like this you can easily afford that Eurotrip in October.
Celebrate getting paid with your roommates and spend the weekend in a whirlwind of concerts, cab rides and credit card purchases. Check your bank account balance on Monday and feel the first wave of nausea after the weekend.
Think “how could I possibly have spent all that money in one week?” Realize that you could lease a 6-series BMW if you just stayed in for one weekend a month. Decide to stay in one weekend every month.
Go out that night to celebrate your friend’s new job as an investment banker. Somehow convince yourself that you, too, are an investment banker and that money is no object to you. Feel nauseous again when the bill comes around. Initiate panic attack at the idea that someone might suggest a game of credit card roulette. Swiftly log into your online bank account from your iPhone and transfer that $262.54 back into your checking account.
Suggest credit card roulette. Feel like you might actually die if your sad little credit card that’s hovering at its limit is the chosen one. Try to estimate how much you might make for selling a kidney.
Hear your parents’ collective voices in your head saying “You need to learn to live within your means.” When your friend’s card is chosen, slap him on the back and say “it all evens out in the end, buddy. Let me get your cab fare.”
Forego checking your bank account on Monday and tell your colleagues that no, you can’t go out to lunch, you’re going on a diet, knowing that your checking account has less dollars than you have calories in your two-for-one priced Lean Cuisine.
Sink into a depression that you’re still eating frozen meals after college, and wonder why you don’t live like your parents, who claim to have spent most of their twenties saving money and not inundating their credit cards with $12 salads and $6 beers. Remember that you used to want to be an artist and think that this is how artists must feel.
Call your parents, who reluctantly admit that the world is a different place than when they were in their twenties, and tell you that just like them, you are making sacrifices for what you want. Hear them say that they’re impressed with your albeit stubborn insistence on achievement and getting what you want, even if they can’t really wrap their heads around your goal to dominate the world through Facebook.
Be cautiously happy that despite weekly budgeting panic attacks, your generation saves an ever-replenishing collection of cultural experiences, which feels much more valuable to you than a vault of untouchable money.