Let’s talk about avocado toast.
It’s a simple pleasure. A thick slice of wholewheat, rye or whatever fluffy carb-filled goodness you choose. Add a generous slathering of buttery avocado — only the ripest will do — and top with a little salt, a dash of pepper, maybe a slice of smoked salmon if you want to be fancy and enjoy.
But: the act of enjoying this snack, especially if you’re a millennial, is an issue for real estate millionaire Tim Gurner. Speaking with 60 Minutes in Australia, Gurner said:
“When I was trying to buy my first home, I wasn’t buying smashed avocado for 19 bucks and four coffees at four bucks each.”
First, who’s paying $19 for avocado toast? Second, are all millennials rabid avocado toast eaters? Questions for another time.
Gurner’s comments set off some none-to-complimentary responses online and got the folks at Marketplace Weekend thinking: Can you really save for a house if you give up lattes and avocado toast? Helaine Olen says no. She tackled this issue in her book, “Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry.”
“It takes a lot of small expenses to add up to a big expense,” she told Lizzie O’Leary. “If you really want to get anywhere, you need to cut back on big expenses, like housing, like health care. Because otherwise what happens is you tend to get swamped.”
So what to do if you’re trying to save for a home or any other big purchase? Olen’s advice:
- Make saving automatic. Take the money out of your paycheck before it hits your account
- Strive to save between 10 to 20 percent of your income (Olen notes that she is trying to do the same herself)
- Use cash, not plastic
- Engage with your money — the more you do, the more empowered you’ll feel
You can listen to Helaine Olen’s advice by clicking on the media player. And enjoy your avocado toast while you’re there.
There’s a lot happening in the world. Through it all, Marketplace is here for you.
You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible.
Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.