If there’s one thing we millennials know how to do, it’s to treat ourselves. Whether it’s an indulgence in ice cream, chocolate, wine, Netflix, coffee or the newest restaurant in town, we all have our vices. Bankrate conducted a survey that shows how millennials are giving into guilty pleasures that aren’t the healthiest for our bodies and budgets.
On the outside, it might seem like we complain about money at all times, but take a look at our bank accounts and chances are there’s an absurd amount spent on alcohol and food. It’s hard to pass up happy hour and brunch when you’re trying to maintain a social life.
The survey found that three times a week, 54 percent of younger millennials (ages 18 to 26) eat out and 30 percent buy coffee. 51 percent go to a bar once per week and the average millennial eats out five times a week. That seems pretty accurate. It’s true, there’s a lot of cash flow happening on unnecessary activities. Boozing and brunching might seem like the most brilliant ideas at the time, but come Monday morning your wallet feels a lot lighter and the stress sets in.
There’s an article by Health.com that suggests certain vices are actually good for you. Guilty pleasures like playing hooky, eating chocolate (the dark kind), coffee, full-fat foods like peanut butter or avocad0 and treating yourself to massages are actually all beneficial for your mental health.
So how can we go about breaking the habits that are basically depleting our savings? It’s all about moderation.
There are plenty of ways to save on alcohol. It just requires a little planning ahead of time, which might not be everyone’s strong suit. Instead of just going to bars on a whim, check out all the happy hour deals in your area and try and catch the end of it, depending on when you’re out of work. You can look on Groupon for deals on bars and restaurants in your area. The most economical thing is to download the coupon apps, buy the liquor ahead of time (with some savings) and have yourself a pregame before you meet up with friends.
For people living in major cities, it’s hard to avoid eating out when there are dozens of new restaurants popping up all the time. There’s also the fact that grocery shopping is time-consuming and it’s just generally easier to grab a bite somewhere. You can shave a few dollars off of your credit card bill each month just by prepping a few meals. Take a few hours over the weekend and make something that you can eat for three-quarters of the week and then treat yourself on the other days if you must. If you really want to cut back, limit yourself to one meal out a week and make it a good one.
Anyone who has a coffee addiction knows all too well the toll it takes on your wallet. You’re spending $5 a day on a cold brew or a latte. It adds up. A coffee machine might seem like a big investment, but it’ll end up being worth it. Buy the coffee beans whole and grind them yourself, it’s cheaper.
You could also try ordering less elaborate coffee drinks and then add in the extra stuff yourself later on. Order a plain iced coffee, buy a bottle of simple syrup and coconut milk and just make your own iced latte when you get to the office. If you have a favorite local coffee shop, make sure you get a punch card or download whatever app they might have. You could also make the switch to tea to save some cash.