Do we need to choose is it treats or a house?

South Waikato News - - Community Cookbook - RICHARD MEAD­OWS

Holy gua­camole! Avo­cado­gate was a heck of a good dustup, leav­ing the com­bat­ants more bruised than the re­jects at the bot­tom of a Count­down pro­duce bin.

For those that missed all the fun: A cou­ple of weeks ago, and all it took was a sin­gle para­graph. How could young peo­ple af­ford to or­der ‘‘smashed av­o­cado with crum­bled feta on five­grained toast’’ if they wanted to save a house de­posit, he asked?

Un­sur­pris­ingly, things went pear-shaped. The in­ter­net took the bait, un­leash­ing a wave of rage, hi­lar­ity, and stu­pid­ity in equal mea­sures.

The out­raged tri­umphantly pointed out it would take decades to save a house de­posit by cut­ting back on smashed avo toast. Err ... If your sole strat­egy for sav­ing a de­posit is oc­ca­sion­ally not eat­ing brunch, home own­er­ship is prob­a­bly not for you.

Ob­vi­ously no-one be­lieves av­o­cado on toast is the root cause of all mil­len­nial money trou­bles. Nev­er­the­less, lots of peo­ple did their best to pre­tend this was the ac­tual ar­gu­ment be­ing made.

Their at­tempts were un­der­mined some­what by the sur­pris­ingly pow­er­ful im­pact of chang­ing one triv­ial habit. Mak­ing your own smashed avo toast at home a few times a week in­stead of brunch­ing will save at least $20, which is $1000 a year. Af­ter 50 years - a life­time habit - you’d have $220,000.

That’s crazy im­pres­sive, but not much help if you’re try­ing to save a de­posit over a shorter time pe­riod.

The hous­ing mar­ket is out of con­trol and peo­ple are right­fully an­gry, but they’re lash­ing out at the wrong things. Smashed-avo style sav­ings tech­niques work, but they’re hard to main­tain. You have to con­stantly deny your­self, and us fee­ble hu­mans only have a lim­ited pool of willpower to draw upon.

If you want to have your av­o­cado and eat it too, start with the low-hang­ing fruit. These are the de­ci­sions you make once, and never think of again. Think mov­ing into cheaper ac­com­mo­da­tion, sell­ing ex­tra ve­hi­cles, re­view­ing your in­sur­ance. These will save you a lot more money, with very lit­tle on­go­ing ef­fort re­quired.

Will ditch­ing avo’ on toast be enough to fi­nally save for a house?

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