The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This week, the Internet has been freaking out about Jennifer Calfas’ article in Money magazine, titled “Millionaire to Millennials: Stop Buying Avocado Toast If You Want to Buy a Home.” Quite honestly, when I see that something is addressed to “millennials," I typically stop reading right there, because I really don’t want to listen to some angry old man rant about how selfies are ruining the world and the Kardashians caused global warming. However, the Internet’s reactions to the avocado toast article are pretty funny:
Alright, I did the math. If I stopped eating avocado toast every day, I would be able to afford a bad house in Los Angeles in 642 years. pic.twitter.com/nqhiqnQ07E
— Kaleb Horton (@kalebhorton) May 15, 2017
Avocado toast $3,600
someone who is good at the economy please help me budget th pic.twitter.com/lNagDjbdQ5
— uh huh honey (@healthgothmom) May 15, 2017
BRB: Building a house out of avocado toast.
— braden graeber (@hipstermermaid) May 17, 2017
The article opens with the ridiculous statement that “freely spending on avocados—the pricey, popular superfruit beloved by young people—may be one of the reasons why some young people can't afford a house, according to Australian millionaire and property mogul Tim Gurner.” Kinda sounds like a characteristically ridiculous baby boomer comment, kinda sounds like a journalist using shock effect to get people to read her article. Either way, I’m pretty sure most Twitter users stopped reading right there, even after I so naively trusted them to read the whole article for me and convey it in full through memes. When I took matters into my own hands and read the rest of what Tim Gurner said, it almost seemed like he, dare I say it, has a point?
Gurner told the Australian 60 Minutesthat “when I was trying to buy my first home, I wasn't buying smashed avocado for $19 and four coffees at $4 each.” Okay, so first of all, neither am I. Soy lattes are $3.55 and I doubt there’s any place in Ann Arbor that sells avocado toast for more than $10. But, honestly, that’s beside the point.
Picture this: it’s 8:50 p.m. and the dining hall closes at 9. You’re starving, but really not feeling a cold burger and underripe strawberries. You wait till 9 o’clock hits, then text your group message: “Ugh, the dining hall’s closed. Anyone wanna chip in to order some pizza and Insomnia?” You’d never do that, right? It’s absolutely unreasonable!
Or imagine you’re heading to a party. It’s only a couple blocks away, but it’s chilly out, and there’s no way in heck you’re bringing your beloved North Face to a frat house. You turn to your friend: “Want to Uber? If you Venmo me, it’d only be a couple bucks each.” No, you’d never waste your hard-earned minimum wage salary on an Uber when you could just walk. That’d be crazy.
Of course, it’s not actually crazy. It’s our culture. We have an entirely different attitude than the generations before us when it comes to money. We’re all broke as heck, and yet we still manage to scrounge up some spare change for that Redbubble order or that premium Spotify membership. Our grandparents would never consider spending money on useless things like that, and they’re the ones living it up in retirement, not the ones struggling to pay college tuition.
To be fair, the “saving money” cards were stacked against us from the start. Spending is way easier than it ever has been. The generation before us didn’t have Uber, Venmo, Amazon Prime, Panera Rapid Pickup, Starbucks, iTunes. I don’t even know if they had avocado toast. And, because of that, they probably had a lot more spare money than us. Money they might have put toward houses. I don’t envy them, honestly.
Obviously, there are other factors contributing to our generation’s difficulties in buying a home. There has been a lot of inflation since most of our parents, and especially our grandparents, first bought homes. This has led to a huge increase in the average price of a home, and salaries haven’t quite caught up to that, especially in entry-level positions. The workforce is also a lot more competitive, so it’s harder to find a job that actually pays the bills. That being said, even for those of us who have decent jobs, we’re definitely way more the “Avocado Toast Even Though I’m Broke” generation than we are the “Penny Pincher Generation."
I don’t think that’s inherently a bad thing, though. It’s about priorities. The avocado toast lifestyle might be more important to you than homeownership. That’s kind of how millennials are. We’re the chill generation. We don’t need a mansion; throw us in a crappy two-bedroom apartment with four roommates, and we won’t complain as long as we’ve got an Instagram feed full of aesthetic AF avocado toast. Baby Boomers, on the other hand, were really into “keeping up with the Joneses.” Home-ownership was part of the American dream, and if someone else could achieve it, they wanted to be able to prove that they could achieve it too. Our generation isn’t as into status symbols. We really just don’t care. We know we work hard, and we just want to enjoy our breakfast in peace.
Honestly, I love that about our generation. Maybe we should be a little smarter with our budgets, and maybe we should consider the fact that someday it might be best to have something saved up to put towards a home. But right now, I really think we’re the happiest generation—with our selfies in the back of the Uber and our Starbucks study dates. And if we all end up living on the streets together because we spent all of our money on avocado toast and can’t afford homes, so be it. I bet we’re the only generation that would still share our avocado toast, even if it’s our only possession. Spending too much money on avocados—that’s not too bad of a legacy, is it?