Bernard Salt opened a can of whoop-ass on the “youth of today” in a piece called “Moralizers, We Need You!” in The Australian (very cool, very hip) about the evils of hipster cafes. With a heavy dose of satire, and probably a good pinch of long brewed frustration, he observes the parallels between the young that are in a renting fix, versus the older “middle-aged” sages that built wealth or financial stability little by little. Namely, by cutting out $22 avocado toast breakfasts.
Whether it’s a generational thing or not, I can safely agree that I look back and realize the frivolous spending of my twenties… almost all of which did me no good. Little treats here and there, over-the-top gifts that I thought would impact what another person thought of me, “needs” that turned out to just be fleeting wants. The only things I genuinely appreciate, throughout the years, is the experiences of travel, the vehicles that get me to and fro, and the savings that I procured for my housing needs.
So here’s my little “I’m old enough now to know better” jab at you, Dallasites. Older than me, younger than me… doesn’t matter. This stuff will suck the lifeblood out of your paycheck, and quick. And since so many of you exist on plastic (the transfer of digits - it’s like play money!) instead of cold, hard cash, you may not realize just how much money you are forking out every month in excess.
Here are 12 Things you should cut back on, pronto:
$20 for some novelty donuts that will leave you in a sugar coma might be okay once a year for the sake of feeling connected to this thriving business model, but… even if you just skipped the sugar cakes once month for all you habitual noshers, you’d keep over $200 a year.
The weather will eventually change (even if only for a week), and when that time comes, a scarf or beanie might be a necessity as you trudge to your vehicle. But the ‘accessorizing’ scarf idea is really silly when you think about our Dallas climate. And at a low estimate of $12 and up, you could really do yourself in with accessorizing. Add a pop of color to your outfit with some of that lip gloss you threw in the back of your makeup cabinet, instead.
A good movie night or weekend chill session deserves a bowl of popcorn. I was appalled when perusing the aisles of Whole Foods to see how many ‘poshcorn’ brands there are. The industry has exploded! But unless that 6 oz bag of corn fluff is going to be my personal assistant and also do my laundry, $6 a bag is just frivolous. Stick to the Orville in a bag that you heat up yourself… you’ll get 6 servings for the same price, and it’s warm.
Looking good in Dallas can revolve around keeping up with the Joneses and decking your face, wardrobe and ride out with the latest and greatest. Think choker necklaces, eyelash extensions and lip-kits or eyebrow sculpting tools. This stuff adds up! And there for a time, this meant you had to have your requisite pair of Kendra Scott earrings. Repeat after me: It’s just a trend. I’m wasting money on a trend.
Instagram Worthy Brunches
Let’s say you’re on a conservative budget of $10 for brunch, which includes your meal and mimosas. But who are we kidding. Multiply that by Saturday and Sunday, twice a month at minimum, and you’re shelling out $40 (yeah right) for some runny eggs and oj. Stay home. Don’t you remember the best part of Saturday mornings was cereal and cartoons anyway?
Limited Edition Press Vinyl
I’m a vinyl fan, and always have been. Before it’s resurgence, you could stock up on vinyl records for $20 an outing and have a catalogue of music to jam out to for two months or so. But because of the hipster obsession rising up from the forgotten ashes of a once forgotten A/V Graveyard, it’s impossible to get a popular vinyl for less than $28 at Best Buy or your favorite megashop. Take a pause and explore your hand-me-down options from grandma, or visit HalfPricedBooks instead to rummage through the lesser known, equally as entertaining pre-loved.
There has never been a better time to be a beer drinker in Texas. Craft brewers began popping up a few years ago in Dallas, and it seems that they’ve stocked the shelves with options to tempt you. Not only at the bar in a chilled glass, but in a 6-pack at your convenience store… upwards of $14 or more! For 6! This is because of marketing, distribution and specialty ingredients. But PBR is still kickin, a classic and cheap cheap on your pocket. Just saying.
You don’t need an excuse to look at yourself… but that’s what mirrors, car windows and your cell phone are for! Consider how many times you’ve scratched or lost your previous sunglasses, and determine whether those new Bans or MK’s are really worth your dime. Substitute with some cheap ones, or ask Santa nicely.
For that Matter, Anything Urban Outfitters
Look, I get it. I’ve lost myself in the walls of an Outfitter store on more than one occasion. But my cheap… er, frugal self gets slapped back to reality when I check the price tag. On a Brawny-man-esque flannel shirt. A shirt that may have come from an elderly man in Montana. How do you even know it’s new?! And $79 to look like that?! No thank you. PASS.
The Latest Phone
Mass marketing and consumerism may have you believing that you will gain something or be able to tap into superhuman abilities if you have the latest gadget to record videos with. But unless your phone is setting itself on fire (thanks Samsung), you really don’t need that upgrade. Your current phone, that you might be reading this on, displays the picture just as nicely. Take care of your stuff, stop cracking the screen, and hold out. Even if you dilute it over your monthly plan, you’re still pushing your budget for something that is not out of necessity.
Cold Drip or Nitro Coffees
I don’t even know what one of these is, to be completely honest. Last I heard, Nitro was the component to a popular engine modification in the nineties. My boyfriend in high school had a bumper sticker on his Silverado pick-up. But I guess they’re putting it in coffee now, and that’s cool. Cold drip, slow brew seems to be popular now, as well. But the more expensive does not equate to ‘better’. Stick with a tall blonde roast, or better yet… french press that stuff at home!
It was a song. Not a sustainable lifestyle. North Texans have a lot of ground to cover, yes. We like to spread our buildings out, which means going downtown or uptown or wherevertown for a night out means a drive. Either skip going out two nights a month, or think about public transportation if it’s available in your area. DART has really beefed up their network of rides. Also, walking is totally FREE!
Snarky, sure, but there are tangible ways that you can save money for a down payment on a house. Or car. Or whatever else your heart desires. But I’m here to remind you that rental rates have only gone up in the last five years, and will continue to do so. So save yourself the headache of negotiating with your landlord or moving over and over, and make the move to save your hard earned cash by curtailing these spending habits. I’m watching you, Dallas.