The generation known for its constant addiction to technology may have something to teach the rest of us about finances and saving money.
It turns out that Millennials, while bogged down by crippling debt, are saving more than ever before. According to a study completed by Better Homes and Gardens, those born between 1981 and 1997 are actually more frugal than originally thought.
For a start, BHG believes that the Millennial generation — called “Firsts” in the report– are quite frugal with their money and have very practical goals. The report explains:
“’Firsts,’ are extremely practical about homeownership. While they have aspirational dream homes, they have a realistic approach to their goals and budgets when it comes to home buying and renovating.” The report also points out that Millennials are more likely “to live in lower-end homes that are aging and in need of fixing up.”
To put these statements in perspective, half of all homeowners surveyed moved into a home that required some repair, 90% were interested in learning more about home improvement projects, and 75% already spent their weekends doing DIY projects all around their homes.
This is a stark contrast to the preconceived notion that Millennials are selfish, can’t hold down real jobs, have no grasp on their finances, or aren’t willing to put in some hard work at anything besides their social media accounts. But in reality, Millennials are incredibly hard-working and persistent towards their goals.
So how exactly do they do it? It turns out, technology is helping them in more ways than one. The generation that excels at technology uses it to their advantage by downloading mobile applications that keep them in check when it comes to their finances. Apps such as Acorns, Digit, and Mint are all available to help the Millennial user streamline their bank account and create a budget. There are even notifications when the user has spent too much money in a certain sector of their budget.
There are also apps, like Honey, that provide coupon codes and scan the web for the best deals out there on certain items being purchased. These apps work with credit cards; however, the majority of Millennials only have one or two to their name, compared to the numerous credit cards in the wallets of the generations that preceded them.
These apps can be just as addicting as certain social media apps and can lead to long-term benefits for their users. If they choose too, the apps make it easy to put money away in accounts specifically meant for mortgages, retirement, and/or student loan repayment.
Because these apps make it so easy to save, Millennials are able to purchase their own home without the need of interest-heavy, long-term bank loans. Compare this to some of the steps Baby Boomers and Generation Xers have to take when it comes to finding loans. Hard money loans, for example, are quite popular for their fast turnaround and little need for credit even though their interest rates start at 15%, 18% or higher. Millennials, on the other hand, have no interest, partly because their phone’s apps make it possible to pay in cash.
In addition, once they buy their home, the saving doesn’t end there. There are different apps meant to keep home expenses at a bare minimum. Considering the average American home spends about 2.7% of their income on energy bills — amounting to about $2,000 a year — these Millennials are trying to save whenever and wherever they can.
Many may be questioning where this Millennial frugality comes from. According to Mashable, it is simply due to lack of capital. They are being paid less and because of their higher expenses, they are forced into an economical lifestyle.
Sound surprising? It seems like the world could take a few money-saving tips from this “lazy” generation.