There is a girl at work who almost always refuses to go dinner with us, her colleagues. It is very common for girls in my office to dine and wine after office hours on Fridays. Sometimes we plan it a week before, sometimes we just eat out somewhere spontaneously. This girl is always too busy that we no longer ask her to come with us, there were times when she tried to join yet she refused to order anything. Until one day, a colleague stalked her Instagram account and found out that she is one of the it-girls in town who always manages to attend in the most awaited parties with A-list guests, dinner at Micheline star restaurants, and other stuff you may take to live a luxurious lifestyle. Little did we know that she lives on a tight budget to maintain her lifestyle.
This is not a rare case. Other friends also admit they know some people who always wear top designer clothes but are struggling to make ends meet or those whose apartments and cars are fancy but living paycheck to paycheck—don’t tell us that you nod your heads!
The moment you read this, too many twentysomething millennials are under peer pressure to fit into certain circle by keeping up certain appearances instead of trying to live within their means wisely. Sadly, it is cyclic: after getting your monthly salary, you feel the urge to splurge and ensure yourself that you would be fine to survive until the end of the month.
Then what? You would go through a catastrophic phase when you find out that you balance crashes past zero even before the end of the month. But still, you think you would be just okay to survive with every cent you accidentally find in your pocket or sofa until you decide to take loans or use credit cards to survive until the history begins to repeat itself.
Assume that you are not one of them that you live within your means and still have saving. Do you feel pity? Let me tell you the bitter truth: some of them actually enjoy being the urban broke—as long as they successfully drive people to adore them and label their lifestyle as the #goals (do not forget the hashtag!).
These urban broke kids are so fixated on the likes they obtain and admiration they would possibly get on their social media whose trends have been dictating ourselves to be someone we want to be: how to dress fashionably, where to eat, what to buy, which party to attend, what car we should drive. I can guarantee, some of (if not most of) social media posts are superficial since social media gives us time and space to position ourselves the way we want to be seen!
Next time you impulsively want to splurge on Instagram-worthy stuff, make sure you know how you can possibly get it, how you would pay for that, or assessing the value of that stuff: do I want it or need it?
“You can’t get out of debt while keeping the same lifestyle that got you there. Cut out everything except the basics.” – Dave Ramsey.
Sadly, while some urban broke millennials find it enjoyable to be labelled as “broke”, many of them are still in the cycle because they do not learn how to get out of the cycle; even worse, some parents are reachable enough to facilitate them and fill their gaps, so instead of learning they tend to go through the same unhealthy cycle until it hurts their self-esteem.
- If you want to get out of this unhealthy cycle and live your reality happily, you should first be aware that people tend to spend more as the salary increases. This is the spot you have to hit your brakes! Be clear with your priority, pay your loans once you receive your salary, save a little on the side, and the rest will follow.
- Thrift-shopping is right on trend too! Handpick your own style, choose those which within your preferences, check the quality, and voila, you can be stylish without sacrificing your entire salary. A plus point, you also support sustainable fashion.
- Timing is the key. Feel like you want to try that newly opened café in town but still saving money in your pocket? Choose the weekdays-set or lunch-set menu that usually is cheaper than the dinner!
- Stick to your budget and schedule. Yes, you read it right! Set your schedule for hangouts and drinks. Make sure you also include no-spend weekend plan just to watch Netflix at home.
- Be wise with your social media accounts and advertisements. One can post a photo of himself laughing with a luxury yacht as the background and add a caption of “I love my life!” while surviving a broken heart. A celebrity can look slimmer and flawless on the magazine cover, yet in reality, she got some annoying zits. Stop envying others’ lifestyle you see online, you never know which masks they decided to wear that day. Not everyone is happy with their actual life. They choose to post what they want people to believe. So, let them.