If you’ve read any of our other posts on this blog, you know that teaching Gen Z about personal finance is an enormous part of what we do here at Zogo.
But we’re also Gen Zers ourselves — so we know for the most part how people our age are spending their money. Here are some things I think we could all do without, considering most of us still don’t even know what a 401(k) is:
Coffee. A few months ago, this would have been an extremely hypocritical point for me to make. There was a time in my college career that I relied on two syrupy, overpriced lattes to get me through the day. This habit sucked the life out of my checking account for the better part of three years. Because I work from home now — and probably because for several weeks, all the local coffee shops were closed — I’ve realized I can make coffee at home for a fraction of the cost. And while I am still a bit of a caffeine addict, it costs me much less. That’s progress in my book.
Takeout. I am including this partly because I need to hear it myself. Sometimes, it’s so much easier to order in than it is to plan meals, go grocery shopping and cook, but I always suffer the consequences when I see the painfully high price of a restaurant meal (plus tip and delivery) on my debit card statement. My friends are notorious for wasting money on food, and we sometimes find ourselves ordering a pizza or picking up McDonalds because — well, it’s delicious, and there’s not much else to do these days. Still, it’s a money suck and just plain bad for me. Gen Z, we can work on this one together.
Expensive brands of Clothes, shoes, etc. One of the best things about Gen Z is that it is getting much cooler to buy things secondhand. But I’m still shocked by how many Gen Zers drop huge sums of cash on things like clothes, shoes or makeup because it has a beloved or well-regarded brand name. We’re not the first generation to do this, I know. But I’m surprised that so many of us haven’t dropped the habit, given how small the difference in quality and usability can be sometimes.
I know some young people who went into credit card debt or drained their savings because they kept spending money on some of the things I’ve listed here, and I think it’s because a lot of Gen Zers just don’t think about how these kinds of small choices can affect us in the future. Combine that with the fact that we know so little about managing money to begin with, and it can be easy to make lots of tiny financial decisions that add up.
If only there was some sort of app that taught you these kinds of lessons, huh?
All kidding aside — I really do need to think about drinking less coffee.