There was a time when we were told “we’re all middle class now”. Well things have changed, and we’re all broke now. With the average UK house price now £220,713 and the average salary a meagre £27,600, it’s easy to understand why Millennials and Generation Z are having to embrace their lack of expendable cash.
Here’s OTSO’s tips on the stages of being broke and how to own it.
Rookie Owning It
At this stage, you try and cut down where possible. The lunchtime trips to Pret become less frequent and you try and shop in the sales where possible. But are you ready to cancel your Netflix subscription or start drinking own brand yet? Hell no.
You’re probably starting to notice that experiences are better than material goods, and the best experiences are free experiences. With over fifty free museums in the UK, you have plenty of places to go and soak up some culture and come away enlightened (with some quirky photos ready for your Instagram just to prove to everyone that your free day out was better than their trip to the Shard).
Novice Broke Person
At this stage, you are aware that financially you are on the verge of being completely screwed. The occasional luxury is allowed (a tub of Ben and Jerry’s here, a takeaway there) but anything beyond the odd morale booster is banned. You know how to limit your spending, but more importantly you know the value of a bargain.
You have embraced the saying ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ and have learned to love charity shops and abandon the boring high street stores. What goes around comes back around in fashion anyway, so your purchases will be a good investment and you’ll be sure to stand out with your new clothes. Tip: if you can get yourself to charity shops in affluent areas, you’re a lot more likely to find high quality clothes at an affordable price.
The great outdoors is the most easily available and affordable leisure space that you have. Rather than splashing out on a fancy meal, you start to have picnics in the park with friends; it’s a lot more cost effective than a meal out, a great way to spend time with friends and you don’t have to tip (or risk horrendous customer service).
You obviously haven’t followed through on your new year’s resolutions, so you’ve waved goodbye to that gym membership. Instead, you’re going on runs and using outdoors gyms because they are far more cost effective, even if it does mean you risk freezing in the colder months. But it’s worth it because at least you can afford the central heating now.
You know you’ve hit Expert Scrimper when you have every code, voucher and app known to man that can provide you the smallest of savings. You have forgotten what it feels like to purchase something without a discount and it feels incredible. Your lifestyle is so much better than at the ‘Novice Broke Person’ stage because 90% of your free time goes towards finding incredible savings and the other 10% goes towards doing the incredible things you’ve found you can do for next to nothing.
You’re probably starting to utilise your talents to make a bit of extra money. If you don’t have an Etsy selling clothing, jewellery or crafts supplies, you aren’t doing it right. You are pursuing your hobbies, profiting from it and getting experience at running your own business; it’s a win-win situation.
We often yearn for a simpler time, before social media and emails from your boss ruined any chance to have some downtime. So you ditch your technology wherever possible; it saves loads on your electricity bills and you don’t get tempted by online shopping. You down your phone and play a game of Monopoly, you may tear your family apart in the process but it’ll just about be worth the savings.
You may be broke, but you’ve learned how to have fun. You’re an Expert Scrimper now, because in a few years when those around you can’t afford anything and you’ve been saving you’ll look like an absolute genius.
Tom @ OTSO