Want to buy your own home? Just stop eat­ing

The Guardian Australia - - Opinion - Rhi­an­non Lucy Cosslett

Help­ful news, for those of you strug­gling to save enough to buy a house: sand­wiches are to blame. Or rather, your ex­trav­a­gant de­pen­dence on sand­wiches for sus­te­nance is to blame, ac­cord­ing to an es­tate agent that I refuse to name as that would serve as jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for its whole grubby pub­lic­ity-grab­bing agenda.

Peo­ple in their 20s and 30s are used to the rou­tine by now. Some ar­ti­cle will sug­gest that if you only stopped go­ing to Pret for oh, at least half a cen­tury, you’d maybe get on the hous­ing lad­der. Cue out­rage from young peo­ple strug­gling to save amid a cost of liv­ing and af­ford­able hous­ing cri­sis. We’re at the point now where, in or­der to de­tract at­ten­tion from a gen­uinely press­ing po­lit­i­cal is­sue that is af­fect­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of lives, hold­ing the spend­ing habits of mil­len­ni­als re­spon­si­ble for so­ci­etal in­equal­i­ties has ac­tu­ally be­come a genre of click­bait. No mat­ter if that oc­ca­sional cof­fee or cock­tail helps bring an all-too-brief twin­kling of joy to your mis­er­able over­worked ex­is­tence – you are a prof­li­gate wastrel, a spend­thrift snowflake with an en­ti­tle­ment com­plex, a par­a­site.

Never mind that the peo­ple who say this are of­ten liv­ing in cloud cuckoo land. Ac­cord­ing to the ar­ti­cle, some of the lux­u­ries that younger peo­ple could cut back on, thereby fa­cil­i­tat­ing their smooth pole-vault­ing on to the prop­erty lad­der, im­ply ex­or­bi­tance of Gatsby-es­que pro­por­tions: over £100 a week on nights out, for in­stance, when most peo­ple are still pre-drink­ing cheap wine to 6 Mu­sic in their kitchens be­fore they go out and, once they get there, scab­bing small plea­sures off richer mates (yet again I am forced to won­der if I am mov­ing in the wrong cir­cles). Who are these peo­ple who are spend­ing £50 a week on take­aways in the man­ner of a Roth­schild? The an­swer lies in the ar­ti­cle, of course. Even with all the cut­backs rec­om­mended, it is re­vealed, you would still need £30k from your par­ents to af­ford a de­posit on a Lon­don flat.

Which is why you should ig­nore these cyn­i­cal con­tent-mon­gers and in­stead fol­low my own easy guide for what to cut back on so that you can fi­nally af­ford to spaff half a mil­lion on a mould-in­fested hovel so far away that no one will ever visit.

Brunch

Par­tic­u­larly av­o­cado on toast – com­monly known as “mil­len­nial crack” – but also all other forms of brunch in­clud­ing eggs, as well as lunch, break­fast, elevenses, din­ner, sup­per, af­ter­noon tea, and mid­night snack. Just don’t eat, ba­si­cally, or, if you get hun­gry, eat one of your 25 flat­mates. Ideally though, you will waste away thus pre­clud­ing your need for hous­ing at all. Prob­lem solved.

Hol­i­days

Re­ally, you should not be tak­ing any hol­i­days at all. For­eign travel is in­ex­cus­able, even that £150 Jet2 jaunt to Zante where you’d stock­piled a week’s worth of con­doms from the clap clinic, shared an apart­ment with six other lads and ate so many €1 pitta gy­ros you thought you had gone into pro­tein shock and still spent less than you would on your mis­er­able com­mute. Who the hell do you think you are, John D Rock­e­feller? Drop that fish­bowl and get back to work.

Go­ing out

Ever. What do you mean you need al­co­hol and hu­man in­ter­ac­tion lest you be­come a lonely husk or a per­son whose only fo­cus is their crappy job? So what if the only com­mu­nal area in your flat is a gal­ley kitchen that ren­ders it nec­es­sary to eat your din­ner from your lap as you sit on the edge of your bed? There is ab­so­lutely no ex­cuse for so­cial­is­ing out­side your house un­der any cir­cum­stances what­so­ever. Speak­ing of which …

Friends

I will not be sat­is­fied that you are ded­i­cat­ing ev­ery morsel of your heart and nerve and sinew to the sin­gle-minded pur­suit of home own­er­ship un­less you her­met­i­cally re­nounce all hu­man com­pany and de­cline all in­vi­ta­tions, even Carly’s 30th. So what if her mum died this year? Didn’t any­one tell you that noth­ing zaps your bank bal­ance as much as a per­son be­ing so ob­nox­ious as to need some­one? She’ll cope. That poky one-bed new-build in zone P awaits.

Pets

Point­less par­a­sites which, while they may help as­suage your mount­ing sense of mis­ery and so­cial dis­lo­ca­tion, will only di­vert cru­cial funds from your One True Pur­pose and have a pos­i­tive im­pact on your men­tal health, thus tempt­ing you out of the house and mak­ing you more likely to in­dulge in other for­bid­den lux­u­ries.

Show­er­ing

Wastes cru­cial hot wa­ter, and now that you have no friends, you’ve no one to im­press. If you re­ally must, a com­mu­nal bath with your house­mates in sev­eral inches of cold wa­ter will suf­fice.

Par­ents

Well, they can’t give you the £29k needed for your de­posit, and they refuse to die, leav­ing you any

sort of in­her­i­tance, so are es­sen­tially worth­less and need to be re­placed with bet­ter, richer par­ents who ac­tu­ally care about your well­be­ing, rather than the poverty-stricken, self­ish clowns with whom you are sad­dled.

65 years later …

“Con­grat­u­la­tions, hav­ing suc­ceeded in elim­i­nat­ing all need­less ex­pense while moon­light­ing as a drug dealer on the side, you have fi­nally suc­ceeded in sav­ing up a de­posit. Un­for­tu­nately, UK house prices have now risen to an av­er­age of £1.5m so we cur­rently have noth­ing avail­able within your bud­get.”

• Rhi­an­non Lucy Cosslett is a

Guardian colum­nist

‘Some ar­ti­cles sug­gest that if you only stopped go­ing to Pret for oh, at least half a cen­tury, you’d maybe get on the hous­ing lad­der.’ Pho­to­graph: Daniel Leal-Oli­vas/PA

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