I’m fed up. In fact, all millennials in London are – with the exception, perhaps, of those making £60,000 or more – and only then if they have no dependents, and haven’t taken the plunge with a mortgage. The fact that we spend so much of our time out and about, including drinking in bars or going to restaurants, has given our parents the idea that we are profligate, frittering away any money we have (or don’t).
Our elders know we are a financially crippled generation, but seeing us out and about in a way they never did when they were younger seems to have created a disconnect in their minds
What every non-millennial has failed to ask themselves is that, if we have no money but are out socialising all the time, how are we affording it? Do they think we’ve all come together to create a secret quantitative-easing programme to keep us in ready dough? Or that hackers have got into the Bank of England and syphoned off money to us all, like a modern-day Robin Hood?
You know how we do it? We are careful with our money. We have to be. There’s a reason that the average age of a first time buyer in London has rocketed to 34, and even then parents’ help is often required. Today the average millennial spends seventy to eighty percent of their monthly income on rent and utilities and often where they are renting is a shared home with people they don’t know. That leaves as little as a fifth of their income for everything else. Time was that you’d be left with that fifth as disposable income. Now it has to go on food, clothes, transport to and from work and, if you’re lucky, you might have a little left over for a night out.
We are a generation that looks for bargains, because we need a good bargain to do anything. And we go out and socialise a lot for the same reason that New Yorkers do: we now live in such small places, often with complete strangers, and miles from our friends, that the only way to see them or to have time to ourselves is to go out despite it hitting our bank accounts.
Our social media feeds are filled with articles on “the best free events this week”, or “how to have a date for under £10”, and event companies, bars and restaurants have cottoned on to the fact that we are out and about more so are targeting us. The problem is that, almost all of the time, these offers cost more than advertised, as there are hidden costs, from booking fees to service charges, or it may be that there were only a few tickets at that heavily discounted price.
Then there are those restaurants that want more millennial customers but haven’t quite figured out how strapped for cash we can be. So what they do is put a few cheaper options on the menu to try and lure us in, but fail to realise that these are still outside our price range, or poor value for money compared to what we could get elsewhere.
One restaurant, that shall remain nameless, launched with one of their goals being to have a number of affordable dishes to enable millennials to dine there. The problem is that the key dish they have aimed at us is only a starter size and, involving caviar, the cheapest it comes at is £20. £20 just for a starter. Are you kidding? Why would we order that, just to leave hungry and, of course, pay another 12.5% service on top and have to stick to water. There are myriad places where I could get a three-course meal with a drink for the same money.
I appreciate that all of these companies have bottom lines to protect, and, of course, they should. After all, many of them employ millennials and we need what money we can get.
But the sooner these businesses and the wider economy realise the financial constraints we are under, and why we are out and about so much, they will be able to better tailor their products to us and make more from us. As a generation, we are incredibly good at finding deals and getting the most bang for our buck. They forget this at their peril, as do our parents. We are the Internet generation and we know what we’re doing. If a deal doesn’t work out as well as advertised, it and the company are dead to us. And remember, we have sixty or more years of spending ahead of us.
Image: Petras Gagilas