Young Money – Beating “The Man” by Spending Less

Though I try and avoid the news as much as possible (it rots your brain), sometimes bits and pieces trickle through. You know, the really important trends and events that are affecting us as a species. Despite my best efforts, events like war, royalty having babies, and of course… the global economic debt crisis all tend to trickle through into my consciousness.

So, the economy in particular has weighed heavily on my mind these last few years, especially in regards to students and young people. We’ve seen the Occupy Wall-street movement – which was a poorly organized waste of time – and we’ve seen more and more students and young people spending money like it’s going out fashion. That too is a way of “getting back at the man”, and you know what? It’s one of the dumbest things I’ve had the misfortune of seeing.

Stop Spending Money on Crap, Seriously.

I live in what some would consider a university city, and the sheer amount of young poor people with blinged out expensive gadgets, gear, and clothing is absolutely staggering. Instead of browsing page after page of the latest Apple announcements, they should be focusing on debt management and trying to find a way out of the hole that they’ve undoubtedly dug for themselves. If you’re having trouble affording food, then you may want to consider cutting down on the non essential stuff, you know?


Well no, it seems that not everyone understands the concept of not spending money that one does not have, so let me explain it once again. Though I wholeheartedly agree that young people are getting pounded in the back door without so much as being bought a nice dinner first, that’s no excuse to start spending recklessly. The only person you’re hurting is yourself, and probably your parents when they have to bail you out of your crippling debt. When you don’t pay down that credit card of yours each month, you know what? Credit card companies absolutely love you. If I need to explain that any further, then you’re more hopeless than I thought.

You’re Accomplishing Nothing

Life is hard, and it’s most certainly unfair… perhaps more so for our generation that any previous. Students come out of lengthy, expensive post secondary sentences only to find themselves jobless, with nary a job prospect. Food is more expensive than at any point I can remember in my life, and politicians globally seem to have gone crazy, or at least, a lot more crazy than usual. Don’t be one of them… don’t help feed the madness, and for fuck’s sake, stop spending so much. Save a little bit of that hard earned money of yours, and find a more productive way to get your digs in then ruining your credit, and draining your bank account. As a young person myself, I promise you it’s the right move to make. Don’t be like this guy.


[Photos by Unknown, Diesel, Stuart Pilbow]



Power & Money

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I'm a co-founder and writer here at Unfinished Man. I write, manage the look and feel of the website, and make sure that nothing breaks. I also reply to the vast majority of our emails, so if you're sending one through, I suggest you be nice. Everyone says I'm the least offensive of our writers, so they gave the email jockey task to me. When I'm not improving the site, I write about fashion, video games, politics, and anything related to science and technology.

16 comments on “Young Money – Beating “The Man” by Spending Less”

    • Thanks, I’ve corrected that. I’m sorry that spelling mistake ruined your experience. I’ll do my best to never make spelling mistakes again. I can only hope to one day be perfect like you!

      • definitely second the recommendation here – you’ve essentially summed up his philosophy here but it’s much better than that. Learn to make your own stuff, save a lot, retire early. It’s awesome.

        Oh, and when all anyone can say against this are spelling and grammatical mistakes, I think you’ve got something!

  1. Why this irrational fear of debt?

    If you have an income your debt payments are just another cost, which might not even begin to compare with cost of accommodation for example. I’m sure interest rates

    Debt is simply substituting more consumption today for less consumption tomorrow and consumption is the objective of any economic activity anyway.

    And you can be in debt AND still have savings. In fact it is often smarter to do the larger purchases with debt so you can you still have some cash left you can use in emergencies instead of either not having the things you want/need or being forced into overdraft payments.

    • Because debt is a leveraged bet? Leveraged bets are for an absolute Pro only. Given the return of most college degrees the odds are against them. I would take a leveraged bet on: Doctor, Dentist, or Pharmacist. Anything else you’re a fool.

  2. It’s not just young people, it’s nearly everybody. If you have a job and find yourself living paycheck to paycheck, you’re not living within your means. Bills only account for about half of my paycheck. The other half is divided between investments, savings, and spending money. I do it by following these four golden rules:

    1. You don’t _need_ a brand-new $30,000 car to get around town. And you don’t need a new one every three years. You can pay a third of that and get a really decent used ride that will last 10 years or more if you keep it clean and regularly maintained.

    2. You don’t _need_ to pay $100+ per month on cable TV. There are much cheaper Internet video streaming products with good content and if you live in an urban area, there are an amazing number of hi-def digital broadcast stations around you that you can get for free with a pair of $20 rabbit ears.

    3. You don’t _need_ a $100/month smartphone contract. You can save a huge chunk of change by buying the phone outright and purchasing unlimited everything pay-as-you-go SIM cards for under $50/month.

    4. You _need_ to stick to a budget and to review your bank and credit card statements every month. Otherwise, you literally have no idea where your money is going. You may think you have a good idea of what you spend based on your memory of a month’s worth of bills and purchases, but you don’t.

  3. Good article,

    A more frugal lifestyle would certainly help people. I’m not so sure that our generation has it more unfair than others though, there’s plenty of opportunity for the right mentality.

  4. I basically agree with your points. I think though that there are trends in the world today that would make a realistic American less careful with money than you might expect, and it could be rational. One is the prospect of future inflation, and the other is the difficulty of finding safe places to preserve wealth. You are talking about a generation who have just watched their parents get screwed out of pensions, investment savings, housing and jobs. They probably no longer believe there is a future to save for. Enjoy now because at least you’ll have had the enjoyment. The scrimp and savers will later get cleaned out anyway but will not have even had the enjoyment.

    I don’t really agree with this view but I have a lot of sympathy for those who do. America is led by those who clearly have come to believe they should take and consume everything now and to hell with the future. The act as if they don’t believe there is a future. Why else would they game the financial system, screwing EVERYBODY else, and knowing that such actions could collapse the system for a long time, due to the lingering distrust that would be created, unless they didn’t care about or believe in the future.

    Why else would business leaders rush to consume every resource as fast as possible, even while creating foreseeable future problems, unless they did not care about leaving a workable world to their children.

    We are watching a people who are giving up on life and have no faith in the future.

    It is extremely tragic and very sad. I guess a lot of them feel the only thing left to do is party while they can, and try to feel better, if only for a little while.

    For the others…. inflation may come. When inflation is high, debtors win and savers lose. Right now it could be rational to go into debt, but only to buy appreciating or income earning assets. This might be the time to really take some risks in e.g. very distressed real estate. If it works out, you’ll look like a genius. If it fails, well you’re busted anyway, and so are most around you, but at least you tried. It’s not fully prudent, but it is rational. It is a less extreme response to the same realization, that our leaders do not have our interests at heart and are screwing us and all our children. But even this view requires one to have some hope for the future. Hope that things will get better enough that your debt purchased assets can appreciate. They probably will. But you need hope.

    In the end, we are all worrying too much about money. We should worry more about loving each other and being good and supportive friends. About caring for this world and being a good custodian. No matter how bad things get, the more we befriend each other and take care of this earth, the better things will be.

    I hope for very good things for you. Everywhere you go, try to help people to find faith in their fellow men, and faith that there can be a better future.


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