Millennials are in love with images of perfection – at a cost

Young Money - Vanessa Kunderman
Young Money – Vanessa Kunderman

We millennials seem to be accustomed to thinking we have no money. We always feel a smidge tight. And, for many of us, if we missed just one paycheque, we’d be calling mom and dad for help.
But are we really that broke?
Millennials have spending habits that are toxic and they don’t even realize it. How many times per week do you buy tall, skinny vanilla lattes? How much do your yoga classes cost, plus the lululemon pants and yoga mat? How much do you spend at fancy restaurants in a month?
According to Starbucks, 40 per cent of its consumers are 18 to 24, and 50 per cent are 25 to 40. That’s a whole hearty chunk of millennials spending on coffee. And, according to Demand Media, Starbucks’ young adult audience grows 4.6 per cent per year.
Time Magazine says 42 per cent of millennials visit upscale casual dining restaurants at least once a month, and that thanks to the rise in food culture among young people, this demographic is spending 25 per cent of its paycheques on fine cuisine.
Long gone are the days of Easy Mac and Kool-Aid.
In an age in which publicizing much of our lives is normal, millennials operate at the core of this movement. We covet people who appear to have ideal Instagram lives, eating stunning exotic food and travelling the globe. We are so inundated by images of this imagined lifestyle that naturally, we want it for ourselves.
Taking a picture of a sad can of Campbell’s soup for dinner isn’t nearly as exciting.
It sounds stupid, but this generation cares about how it looks in the digital world. The Internet is its way of painting the picture of the life it wants. Even when curled up in our fat sweats, ignoring the unopened bills on the counter, we’re editing the snappy photo we took on our trip to Toronto last weekend.
It’s only when millennials begin to think about their lifestyles in a different way that they can put into perspective just how much money they have.
Why is it so bad if you have to buy your new IKEA couch next month, or the month after, instead of today?
Why is it so bad if you have to skip out on this week’s dinner date and cook at home? Why is it so bad if you press your own coffee tomorrow morning instead of having a barista do it for you?
Reexamine your lifestyle and sincerely evaluate if you’re really that hard done by – or if you’re just addicted to luxury.
Vanessa Kunderman writes every month on money issues facing millennials. Email her at

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