I’m older than a teen and younger than a 30 something, which by definition, makes me a Millennial. Not only do I fit the age requirement but I also fit the stereotype. Of course, I’m drowning in debt and becoming a home owner is about as likely as winning the lottery. In fact, I have more belief in those 6 numbers landing me the jackpot than I do in my saving capabilities. So, what really happened between our older generations and now? Sure, we can all moan about politicians and our parent’s poor decisions but are millennials at all to blame? Through the main aspects that make up our quarter-life youth today, I explore the reasons behind our empty bank balances.
Four letters that sum up the millennial financial state – FOMO. To those who are not familiar with the widely used acronym; ‘fear of missing out’ is a struggle, and it’s real. A mental battle between the over-worked tiredness and the fear of seeing a night out that you missed being uploaded to Instagram. You picture your friends having the time of their life and of course you’re not in the Snapchat story because you chose a night in with your new unicorn pyjamas and matcha face mask. Half way through your comfortable evening watching Bake Off, FOMO strikes. You’re forced into an emergency little red dress and spend more on an Uber than the actual night itself. You arrive to a disorderly group of drunk friends who you of course must catch up with in a matter of seconds. Cue 10 tequila shots in a row and £50 down but who cares because you’re wasted dancing in the DJ booth and jumping in every fake laughing photo. Next thing you know, it’s 7am, your alarm is ringing through your hungover ears. Whose idea was mid-week drinks?! You’re not even happy with the sweaty tags and have to remind yourself that ‘at least you were there, you showed face. You’re still cool!’. Unfortunately, the motivational self-talk isn’t enough to rid the panging headache, but a trip to Pret is sure to sort it out. After 10 minutes gormlessly staring at the menu, you remember that a bacon butty isn’t allowed due to your new strict vegan diet. Without any enthusiasm, you order a large coffee, extra soy and coconut spelt porridge. The whiff off bacon makes you question your love for animals and dedication to this limited eating plan. As expected, breakfast tastes like cardboard, it also puts you back another £10 but at least you’re half way to curing your hangover and the planet.
If you haven’t already invested in a spiralizer, are you even a millennial? Spaghetti is so 90s, it’s all about courgetti – the greener, less tasty equivalent. Carbs are forbidden if you can actually pronounce them without stuttering. Pasta and rice? Well and truly…banished. Queenoa, Keenoa, Keynoah…Quinoa! Quinoa is in. It’s three times more expensive than their lesser nutrient dense starches but it’s packed with protein – and if Kayla Itsiness’s abs are anything to go by, we need all the help we can get.
Whether it’s a trend, scientific revelation or simply an unveiling of corrupt Marketing ploys, we are now ‘clean eating’ obsessed! It’s no longer enough to simply buy a ripe avocado, nope, we need it organically grown, ethically sourced and blessed by nuns before it even dares pass our lips. This of course, adds a few extra pounds to the price point, but better that than pounds on the scale for our squatting millennials.
Every Londoner has searched ‘how to make a small room look good’ on Pinterest. When we really mean, how the hell am I going to make this shoe-box sized bedsit look less prison cell and more Laura Ashley showroom. Scrolling through the immaculate pins of crisp white walls and Scandinavian furniture only adds to the disappoint. You can’t help but wonder whether anything will actually go with your magnolia yellow walls and brown bobbly carpet. You could paint over them but your landlord threatens to keep your deposit, and besides, you couldn’t afford the paint.
Our older generations will never understand the pain of outfit repeating. They could wear the same dress two nights out in a row and no one would even bat an eyelid. But we’ve insta storied, snapchatted, selfied and grammed every angle of that dress from the work drinks, so we couldn’t possibly post it again for Jessica’s birthday dinner that same week. God forbid someone tags us in a throwback picture, what if someone doesn’t see the #tb and thinks we’ve worn that dress again! Therefore, to keep our feeds looking as fresh as our new Manolo’s, we succumb to online shopping like it’s an addictive drug.
Not only are we made to believe we deserve the best of everything but its also endlessly paraded in front of our faces. Social Media can be blamed for portraying the existence of a perfect life, one that we believe everyone else is living apart from ourselves. If I was to die today the saying ‘champagne lifestyle on lemonade wages’ would be etched onto my grave stone. It sums up my days of tirelessly keeping up with the myth of how we should be spending our money. I think I speak for my fellow quarter-life peers when I say deprivation has never been our style: if we want it, then debt or no debt we will sure as hell have it! Call us brats or call us free, however you look at our generation’s mentality, we are simply striving to live the fullest fake Instagram life we can possibly live.