In recent years, we millennials have developed a reputation as the “cheapest generation.”
A recent article in Time magazine carried the headline, “Millennial Shoppers: Big on Browsing, Not Splurging.” Writer Brad Tuttle argued that millennials are “big fans of convenience and cheap prices.” Tuttle wrote about how marketers have difficulty determining how to make us reach into our wallets.
The article cites research from NPD Group, Accenture and Shullman Research stating that the millennial generation is dubbed the most “elusive” and “challenging to keep engaged”. However, how can millennials be expected to “splurge” when many of us are financially struggling?
This semester, I submitted over 17 applications for compensated internships. Unfortunately, by compensation, most paid internships offer no more than two dollars above minimum wage. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, researchers surveyed the class of 2012 and found that 47 percent of internships taken by the students surveyed were unpaid. Once we millennials leave the confines of campus, we will be challenged “to keep engaged” with paying off what we owe.
According to PNC Finances, the average millennial carries $45,000 in debt. Despite the fact that 63 per- cent of millennials have bachelor’s degrees, PayScale reveals that the median salary for Generation Y is $39,700. According to Education Portal, as of 2014, the median salary for someone with a bachelor’s degree is $46,900.
Research conducted by Harvard University reveals that 6 in 10 millennials are employed, half being only part-time. Although I feel that millennials face more obstacles than previous generations in terms of employment, some of us do admit to being “cheap.”
Senior Amber Scheule, a behavioral sciences major who is currently unemployed, said her friends would rather pirate a movie than pay $12 to go to the theater because they don’t have the money.
Senior Kat Maglione, an education major, admits that she cuts her own bangs to avoid spending money on a haircut despite being employed.
Senior sociology major Britttany Kowalski, who has a meal plan, admits to taking extra food from the Caf to eat the next day even though she works two jobs.
“It’s a lot easier and more cost effective to make a sandwich in the caf and take it with me for the next day,” she said.
Junior communication major Jordan Lungo, who also is employed, said he refrains from buying his favorite brand of cigarettes because he would rather save $2 by purchasing a cheaper brand.
“I will let my gas tank run until it is on empty before I fill my tank,” senior graphics design major Kathryn Corbett said.
The students who admitted to “cheap” habits while being employed said that they are making wages only slightly above minimum wage. For my money, with today’s economic challenges, rather than being labelled as “the cheapest generation,” I propose that we have, out of necessity, become “the frugal generation.”
Rachel Hassett is a junior journalism major from Marlton, N.J. and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.