(The following is an abbreviated transcription from a video Linda & I recorded. Please excuse any typos or errors.)
Do you spend like a millennial?
I found this study, and it talks about how millennials spend money compared to all other generations.
Linda and I technically are millennials. We got in by the skin of our teeth, I think.
I’m interested to see if we spend like typical millennials, or if we spend like… old people.
Old people. Boomers.
And, if you’re wondering if you spend like a millennial, we’re going to find out.
Out of these two studies that I found, I pulled 10 different things that show how millennials spend versus Boomers, Gen-X, and everybody else. You can watch our discussion or read the transcription below. So, let’s go through these 10 items now.
1. Spend More Than $4 On Coffee
Bob: All right. Number one. 60% of millennials spend more than $4.00 on a single coffee.
Bob: Check yes or no.
Linda: Yes. I guess I shouldn’t say a single cup of coffee because I drink a latte.
Bob: Well, I think that’s the point.
Linda: So are we counting that?
Bob: I think we’re counting that.
Linda: I think if you’re spending more than $4.00 on just black coffee, then you are really a millennial.
2. Spend Extra To Eat At A Trendy Restaurant
Bob: Number two. 70% of millennials will spend extra to eat at a trendy restaurant.
Bob: Yes. Definitely. We definitely fit that bill.
3. Buy Clothes For Reasons Beyond Basic Necessity
Bob: Number three. 69% of millennials buy clothes for reasons beyond basic necessity.
Bob: Yes. But I feel like every generation does this.
Linda: Okay. Your dad is not a millennial and he definitely does this.
Bob: Yeah. I think this is the western world that we know. This is just really common. We’re all just really wealthy, whether we realize it or not, compared to the rest of the world, and yeah, a lot of us have clothes beyond basic necessity.
4. Use Credit Cards More Than Other Generations
Bob: All right. Number four. Millennials use credit cards 32% more than other generations.
Linda: I mean, this feels right to me. I think we’ve used credit cards a lot. We haven’t really since-
Bob: We’ve gotten a ton of really good benefits from them.
Linda: Go check out the travel video.
Bob: For anybody who isn’t aware, we created a video and an article where we talk about how we travel for free and have gotten over 100 free hotel nights and free flights just from our credit card usage.
Linda: Yeah. Basically.
Bob: If you’re not using credit cards the smart way, the right way, there’s a lot of benefit there, so we’ll have that linked up for you.
5. Do Not Carry A Balance On Credit Cards
Bob Lotich: Number five. 48% of millennials do not carry a balance on credit cards. So that is really cool. That’s really encouraging for me to hear, that’s exciting. Now it still does mean that half of millennials do carry a balance on their credit card, which is a big no-no. The goal is to never carry a balance and to pay your cards off every single month, but that’s a good start. I’m excited about that. I would have expected it to be considerably worse.
Linda: Me too.
6. Have Not Written A Check In The Last Year
Bob: All right. Number six. 65 millennials have not written a check.
Linda: Just 65 millennials? There’s only 65 of them.
Bob: Number six. 65% of millennials have not written a check in the last year.
Linda: We definitely write checks a little bit more often than that.
Bob: Yeah, but it’s for babysitters. We don’t go to the grocery store and write a check. I mean, it is-
Linda: And it’s because we don’t have cash.
Bob: Yeah, so it’s fair. We do write checks, but it’s not by choice.
Bob: Yeah, and I think that’s how most millennials feel about it. It’s like, “I don’t want to be writing a check. Why are you making me write a check? Let’s use Venmo. Come on.” But if that’s what you’ve got to do, it’s what you’ve got to do.
7. Use Their Phone To Pay For Stuff
Number seven. 69% of millennials use their phone to pay for stuff.
Linda: Oh yeah. Absolutely. Is this talking about Apple Pay too?
Bob: I think so.
Linda: Or just buying online? Because I pretty much-
Bob: Probably both.
Linda: I don’t use a computer hardly ever to buy online now.
Bob: There you go.
Linda: There you go. I am such a millennial.
8. Spend Money On Uber And Lyft
Bob: Number eight. 50% of millennials spend money on Uber and Lyft.
So we definitely do that (some even make extra cash with Uber and Lyft!).
Linda: We definitely do that, but it’s mostly just when we travel.
Bob: When we ever travel. Yeah, but I think that’s more of where you live. If you’re in a big urban area, I think people do it all the time, but since we’re in the ‘Burbs.
Linda: If you have to put three car seats in every single time you call an Uber or a Lyft, you pretty much are like, “Eh, forget it.”
Bob: It slows you down. Buy a minivan. Yeah.
9. Eat Out Three Times A Week Or More
Number nine. 47% of millennials dine out, eat out three times or more per week.
Linda: I wish we did this.
Bob: We’re probably about two times a week.
Bob: Don’t you think? Somewhere in there? And yeah, it’s like we both like eating out, but it’s expensive. We’re trying to be good with our money (budget for groceries).
Linda: Especially when there’s five people to feed.
Bob: Yeah. And I enjoy cooking, so that helps too.
Linda: It helps me a lot too. If I had to cook, we would be eating out way more.
10. Do Not Carry Cash Or Ever Use Cash
Bob: And number 10 on this list is that 58% of millennials do not carry cash or ever use cash.
I think we’re pretty much in that boat.
Linda: The only thing that I think we use cash for-
Bob: Oh, the farmer’s market.
Linda: Is the farmer’s market because there’s one guy there.
Bob: We buy from one guy there who, he is this Amish farmer and he will not take credit cards, so we have to take cash out.
Linda: He has a cell phone, though. You can text him, but he won’t take your credit card.
Bob: Yeah. But I would say that’s pretty much it.
Linda: That’s literally the only thing that we have cash. Some kid came to our door and he was like, “Hey, I’m selling candy,” for whatever fundraiser, and I literally had to go dig around and find quarters to pay him because we had no cash. I was like, “Sorry, I hope this is okay.”
Bob: Bring a Square reader next time, buddy.
Linda: How would a millennial end this?
Bob: We are millennials.
Linda: We are millennials. However, I end it as exactly how it is.
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I write checks to my church because when itemizing taxes, that is an additional deduction. The checks are proof of the contributions, should the IRS ever care to see. If your church takes debit or charge cards, that means less of the contribution actually goes to the work of the church, as there are transactions costs.
Consider using cash a little more. Cash is financial privacy. It doesn’t mean you are buying things you shouldn’t, but it means no bank or other financial institution knows exactly what you are spending your money on. Financial privacy is as important as other kinds of privacy. Once it is gone, it will likely never be recovered.
This is a great point JTC!
Awesome article, Bob!
My husband and I are Millennials but we definitely don’t spend like them. We’ve been debt-free and mortgage-free since we were 25. We paid our mortgage off in 13 months. We don’t eat out. We don’t buy coffee out. We save.
Currently, we’re on a path to retire by the time we’re 45.
I think so many Millennials get caught up in the status quo (30-year mortgages on houses that are too expensive for them, insane little league expenses, over-priced vacations, expensive clothes, too many spa days, etc.). That’s not us.
Recently, I wrote a blog post called “We don’t work for the American Dream.” It’s all about how we have a bigger goal. We work for our freedom. The freedom from debt. The freedom to travel. The freedom to retire early.
I wish more Millennials paid more attention to their finances and considered how all of these “small expenses” add up. Wasn’t it Benjamin Franklin who said that little leaks can sink a big ship?
This is a great article! Just cut back on the expensive lattes Bob. 😉
Ridzi Arora says
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