Saving money is not fun. There's nothing attractive about turning down plans and pinching pennies. Trust me, I would love to spend my entire paycheck on traveling, middle shelf merlots, and whatever weird shit you're buying because you're 23 and you can.
At age 12, you downloaded songs (and hella viruses) off LimeWire and onto your parents’ expensive Stone Age computer. You had to wait 36 hours for 2 songs, but that didn't stop you.
In high school, you handed in a hard copy of your essay or whatever busywork paper your teacher made you write. You waited until she had time to grade it properly and handed it back to learn that you failed it.
When you started college, you had to drink your shitty vodka and actually go to a party to hit on girls before bringing them back to check out the new fish tank in your dorm room. You couldn't just swipe your way into a hookup.
If you wanted something, you used to have to actually put the effort in. So, what happened?
Now we swipe away on Tinder in the hopes that a 10 will just fall into our laps (read: beds). We stream literally everything. We even get fussy when the drive-thru line takes more than a few minutes. Do you realize how sad that sounds? Millennials are notorious for wanting everything at our fucking fingertips. We don't want to work for it and we definitely don't want to wait for it.
I’ll give us some credit, this is not always bad. We’re more accustomed to a fast-paced work environment, making us more productive than our more seasoned co-workers. We’re entrepreneurial AF, we don’t like taking “no” for an answer, and we go after what we want. Recipe for success, right? Eh, sometimes.
I’ll be the first to tell you that I absolutely hate hearing the word “no”. I like doing what I want, when I want to do it. Of course, I have my moments where I literally cannot even and have to make a purchase. It’s fine, in moderation.
Everyone has that one friend who seems to always be doing something. The friend that always has tickets to concerts and festivals, never wears the same outfit twice, and never misses a night out at the bar. So, how? This all looks peachy from the outside. Their Instagram game is flawless, but what does their bank account look like?
They are a victim of instant gratification. They see something and instead of thinking it through and saving up, they just buy a ticket or the new shoes or whatever. This will be the same friend who will be balls deep in credit card debt five years down the road. They don’t have the ability to step back and ask if they really need to be swiping their card for a burrito bowl or yet another vodka soda.
You can’t have it all. Balance and moderation are key. I’m not advising you to save every single penny you earn and I’m definitely not advising you to spend it.
I’m asking you to take a step back and think about your financial situation before you blindly swipe your card. You may have the money in your account now. But what if an emergency comes up? What if something better comes along? Will you be able to pay for those as well?
Every purchase you make is your own adult choice. If you want to go to that festival next summer, give up your $3 cup of Starbucks coffee every morning for 3 months. Cut down on your lunches out so you can take a real vacation. Maybe you don’t need 5 different colors of the same shoe, put it towards your student loan instead.
Give delayed gratification a try. Remember, good things come to those who wait.
Special thanks to Zack Mathis for reminding me that I'm good at money, not grammar.