I read Past Bedtime



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Welcome to I Read Past Bedtime, a blog for 20-somethings finding their way in the world.


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Desperately trying to summon the motivation for another week at work, and other reasons millennials aren't homeowners.

This week followed much the same pattern as usual in that the Guardian was enraged. However, rather less usually, today I feel moved to voice my agreement.

We “millennials” take a lot of stick. Besides putting up with the annoying nickname, we spend our days being buffeted around by the disastrous political decision-making of the middle-aged, then get told off for whining when we dare to have the same expectations for quality of life as the generation before us.

I can just about deal with the politics – we all had our vote and all that jazz. But when people actually try and lay the blame on us for the way things are? That’s really taking the biscuit.

So Gurner seems to think that if he were our age now he’d be dutifully putting the pennies aside and on the housing ladder in no time.

As a flippant twenty-something year old who’s frittering all my money away, let me detail exactly where it goes each month.

Brunch: £0 a month

Like most people my age, my time for brunch is limited because I work full time. The only friends I have lounging around at home are those that can’t get employment because businesses expect someone our age to have ten years worth of relevant work experience under their belts.

But perhaps young people are put off the idea of working by the lack of decent wage for what they do. We work so hard in the hope that at some point this will be recognised with a monetary reward (isn’t that what work is meant to be?) that by the time the weekend rolls round we’re all too knackered to do anything as luxurious as head out for avo on toast. (A big irony here is that I actually tried doing the trend at home, but had to stop fairly sharpish because avocados are ridiculous even at shop price).

Expensive Coffee: £6 a month

Probably once a fortnight, I will treat myself to an expensive coffee. Yes, I have coffee granules at home, but we all know deep down that Costa will do an infinitely better job. But no, you’re right Gurner, I should be directing that lavish expenditure into savings. That way, in a year I’ll have £72, so in 100 years I’ll have £7200, which will get me an 80% mortgage on a garage in Kent – what am I waiting for?

Meals out with friends: £80 a month

Okay, probably my single biggest expense each month, but in a world of Gurners you need your people around you to remind you that everything is going to be OK. Without a catch up with the people that matter to look forward to, who knows if I’d ever muster the motivation to drag me to a job that pays the bills. Plus it’s spending on experiences, not commodities, so I must get some brownie points there, right?

The Gym: £25 a month

The only expense the prodigy Gurner allowed himself as a youth living in austerity, a gym membership these days will set you back £30-40 a month. Mine, at £25, is a total bargain, but I’m thinking of giving it up. Didn’t the Guardian also say somewhere that it was cheaper to be obese?

Bank of Mum and Dad: +£50 a month

Now I hate to advocate sponging, and ideally avoid it wherever possible, but if Mum and Dad happen to bestow money on me as a gift… that’s a different matter, right? We’ve tried the art of receiving a donation at home with mixed results. Me complaining about not being able to afford my £50 hygienist fee? Worked a treat. My sister’s hinting about her £1000 dental council fees? Not so much.

So there you have it – my key expenditure, the reasons I am not a homeowner. Yes, I could sacrifice everything on this list, but at what cost? Would I still be a functioning human Monday-Friday? Would it be worth going out to work to earn enough to sit alone in my box room eating dry bread? Gurner’s times were very different, and me? I’m doing the best I can.