To borrow a line from Clueless, I’m about to turn traitor on my generation for a second. Avocado toast is a problem. It’s certainly not holding back an entire generation from homeownership. There’s bloating housing markets, student loans, and myriad other factors doing that. But I’m not willing to let this breakfast item du jour off entirely scot-free, either.
If you’ve followed my blog for long enough, you know that I believe in the latte factor. It’s just that for some people, lattes are actually shoes. And if you’ve followed my blog for three seconds, you know that I’m all about small change. Yes, I will stop to pick up a single penny, and I’m not even a little sorry.
But here’s what else I know. Shoes didn’t keep me from buying a $275,000 house when I was 26, and I didn’t pay for that down payment in pennies. How can I be so sure? Well, I filled up said house with an absurd amount of shoes that I’m still trying to shirk to this day. And I wrote the check for the down payment. No coin counting was involved.
Here’s what was involved. There was a heaping of privilege that came from living at home long enough to be ridiculed by just about everyone I know, and there was also a hell of a lot of bucking the norm. And that’s my problem with avocado toast. It’s the new normal.
Like unicorn frappucinos, I’ve never seen avocado toast in the wild. Thanks to Instagram, though, I’m familiar with the concept. And yes. I imagine it is quite tasty. I also know that I’m not supposed to replace my $7 a month breakfast routine of oatmeal with the much pricier dish every single day. Instead, the #diditforthegram posts lead me to believe that this is an occasional treat, part of a relaxing weekend brunch perhaps.
Okay, fine. Treat yourself to fancy toast once a month. No harm, no foul. But if there’s one thing I know about humans, it’s that we’re really bad at doing anything in moderation (types the person who has cookie crumbs permanently embedded in her keyboard). So one $50 bottomless mimosa brunch might not be a dealbreaker, but have you stopped to consider what else comes with the toast when most people order it?
Trends don’t happen in isolation. And if someone is hellbent on keeping up with the avocado toast photos of the world, how long is it before that same person is keeping up with the Kardashians? OK, toast isn’t going to turn anyone into a reality TV star, but consider what the toast is supposed to symbolize on social media. The next time you see avocado toast on Instagram, open the gallery or look at the hashtags. Do you see #intentionalspending? What about #ibudgetedforthis? Of course not. Instead, you likely see a carefully curated collection of photos that showcase consumer culture at its finest, trendiest, and most delicious.
So, you’re right. Avocado toast won’t keep you from buying a house. Spending a few hundred bucks a month on dining out absolutely will not add up to a down payment anytime soon.
But a few hundred bucks a month saved will stop you from being an emergency fund statistic. A few hundred bucks a month saved over the course of a year will make a dent in your debt or let you start saving for retirement. While it might not get you a house, it will push you leaps and bounds ahead of the norm. And outside the norm is where the money magic happens.
So Tell Me…Can the average person have their avocado toast and eat it too?