Issue 8, Semester 1, 2019
I’ve been having to explain to a few people lately why my bank card is broken. By ‘broken’ I mean almost split in half. Thankfully the chip remains intact or I would be entirely cut off from this breathing world. “It’s because I’ve spent too much,” I joke to people as I go through the checkout. This comes up particularly when people grab the card and push it wantonly against the contactless reader. “It’s broken,” I tell them. “I suppose that the more difficult it is to spend money, the better.”
The other day I went through this dry comedy routine with the person who served me as I was buying a loaf of bread. “‘I’m sorry to tell you,” they said, “‘but it’s your generation.” I laughed at them. “‘I keep telling my kids, if you can’t afford it now, you can’t have it. They don’t have credit cards. They’re twenty-two and twenty-four. I wouldn’t allow it.”
Nailed it. The delicious age of twenty-four. I’m so sick of being moralised by baby boomers who think I’m just another millennial who needs to start taking responsibility.
I’ve always insisted that I have an impeccable record when it comes to budgeting. Truly exemplary. I have lived within my means now for years. I always pay bills on time. I cook most of my meals. I’ve even stopped drinking coffee for fear that it had really been a gateway drug all along. I only go out to brunch on special occasions. I’m not sure what more I could do.
I live in frugal comfort.
I was asked a few weeks ago whether I had had any delusions lately. “How would I know!” was the only response I could muster.
I don’t think we have a spending problem at all. Millennials are the most sensible and conscientious bunch of people I have ever cared to meet. Millennial business owners are known to run generous social enterprises and pay their staff fair wages, particularly in hospitality. As a generation, we recognise the things we can truly afford and take responsibility for our own actions.
For example, I was blessed to discover that I’m not the only one who has been diligently stockpiling plants to combat climate change. I visited a friend and I was ecstatic to see that their housemate had bought a suite of vegetables to plant for the winter. My friend muttered solemnly “I can’t believe it. They’ve spent hundreds of dollars in the past few weeks. Half of the zucchinis have died.” The housemate continued to turn the soil unwaveringly and with due fervour.
The spending auditors have started to turn on me as well. In a recent conversation my father questioned why I buy so many plants. To me, planting birds of paradise seems an attractive way to prepare for the imminent apocalypse. We are environmental pioneers. My bedroom is like a jungle. Plants are the only things that bring me joy these days. I’m not even scared that the devil’s ivy will wrap around my throat while I’m asleep anymore. In the springtime my garden will be full of flowers. Then he’ll be sorry he ever questioned me.
The other day as I left the bakery the cashier called out to me, “Wait! Your payment has been declined!” I returned to the counter. They were right. I can’t even afford bread. I pulled out my credit card (still wholly intact, thank goodness) and made the payment, laughing maniacally, as I often do. I suppose that it’s just my generation. I can’t help that I keep overspending. I’m a millennial just like you.
Jacob is a Third Year JD Student.