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I wrote this article for Miss FQ.

Love to spend your money on cocktails, nights out, the new fancy burger-joint and supporting your online shopping addiction? Millennials can cop a lot of shit from older generations on our spending habits.

But you know what? I think we do spend too much.

The reverse argument is we want to have a good life and enjoy the journey, not just wait until we’re older and spend up large then (and waiting until we actually feel like Adults because at the moment most of us are still waiting for that actual feeling to kick in) #yolo.

We all remember the avocado disagreement (so 2016, but we’ll talk about it anyway) highlighting that kids of Gen Y spend far too much money dining like kings and queens all the time, like the Baby Boomers do, but with the big difference that the older gen had a life of saving until they got there. Millennials expect it all “like RN”.

The guy who started this chat received a decent amount of backlash for it. But I think there is an element of truth to this argument. I for one believe in having a balance.

As someone in their mid-twenties who’s managed to save a fair amount of cash so far and has ventured onto the daunting Auckland property ladder, I think millennials do need to spend less and instead have stronger savings goals. There, I said it.

The problem is there’s so much temptation around us. We all have a giggle together at how many online shopping parcels arrive at the desk of the girl siting next to you, and we enviously help her open the packages to see what she’s bought and then jump straight online ourselves to have a ‘quick’ look. We have a constant stream of information in our social media newsfeeds telling us about the hottest new bars we must check out and the best new lipstick we need right now.

Ultimately it’s created a huge negative herding-like affect. We all think it’s the norm for us to spend all our money, splash out on fancy shoes and champagne, because the person we follow on Instagram does it. But is that sustainable?

Yes, I personally have a good social life filled with my favourite chardonnay, a fairly up-to-date wardrobe (who am I kidding, a lot of it’s recycled) and outings with my mates.  But deep down I’m a Saver. I only do all these fun things to keep up with my friends (rather than be the tight weirdo who doesn’t like to spend a penny) but more importantly, because I can. I live by my budget and then I don’t feel that guilty when I do spend the hard earned dollars.

Every single time I get paid (monthly at my workplace) I put over 50% of it into my savings account.  Yes, over half. The usual 10% people strive for ain’t enough.

The rest is used to pay the same ol’ living costs, mortgage, bills and groceries. Then the teeny bit left over is what I’ve got left for my ‘entertainment fund’, which is basically anything fun, from horse riding lessons to dinner with the girls and clothes (always hunting out a bargain of course). I’ve worked this into a budget sheet so I know exactly how much goes where each month. All I’ve got to do then is stick to the budget.

It’s actually that simple. You’ve just got to pay yourself first.

Further to this, I’m always looking for the best deals. Um hello Pak ‘N Save, Glassons and Dressmart shopping. There are so many little savings out there that all add up. Instead of going out for dinner, go to your friends’ houses for a glass of vino, make a coffee at work instead of buying it to takeaway, bring in your lunch instead of getting ripped off with buying a $20 salad everyday and get your hair done every three months instead of six weeks.

It breaks my heart seeing other gals fritter away all their cash. We work so hard throughout the week to bring in the money. The way so many people spend it, it’s like trekking to the top of Mt. Ruapehu and throwing cash off the top of the mountain. You might feel amazing because you have the latest season shoes, brand new KW sunnies and look like a boss everyday with your fresh new outfit but was it really worth it, when next season you turn around and do it all over again?

Yes there’s more to life than money. We’re all working for our careers and personal satisfaction, as well as to make a living – I’m a big believer in this. But at the end of the day we are doing a job to get paid. And you need money to live. Fact.

I, for one, don’t want to be stuck in the rat race. I’m working towards my savings goals and I refuse to spend all my money on materialistic items, even if it means missing out on the occasional espresso martini night out. In the long run it’s gonna pay off. I urge you to think twice about your spending. Do you really need that new handbag and night out? Think about what you could be working towards with your money instead.

Who’s with me?

Laura is the Founder & Editor of The Workher. She is an award winning Public Relations professional, who loves blogging about surviving and thriving in the workplace as a young woman.

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