Okay, Let’s Run the Numbers On That Latest Bullshit ‘Stop Eating Pret and Save a Flat Deposit’ Story Shall We

It’s Tuesday, so some estate agents are telling us – us vile millennials – how to save for a deposit. This happens every week or so. The advice is normally: stop eating sandwiches. The average deposit in London is £96,000 currently, so I for one would like to echo that advice: if you are buying and consuming £96,000 worth of sandwiches, then yes: you need to stop that. That’s far too many sandwiches. If you eat that many sandwiches you will die. You, bloated and enormous, too large to heave yourself up off the sofa: “ONE… MORE… EGG MAYO.” No. No more sandwiches for you. Buy a house instead.

To the Evening Standard now, where:

Millennial couples priced off the London housing ladder could save enough for a deposit in five years by giving up six “luxuries” ranging from phone upgrades to overseas mini-breaks, it was claimed today.

New analysis suggests that potential homeowners from “generation rent” could accumulate the £64,000 they need for an average London deposit — after help from parents — within half a decade by making “relatively small changes” to their lifestyles.

According to the calculations from agents Strutt & Parker, giving up a night out once a week could save more than £6,000 a year, and cutting out takeaway meals would knock £2,640 off household spending.

Simple, lads: all you need to do is give up sandwiches, nights out and holidays, for half a fucking decade of your life, plus be one half of a couple, plus get money from your parents, and you too could afford a deposit on a flat in London. What, a little hard work and sacrifice a bit too much for you? Does the prospect of a peanut butter sandwich for lunch for 1,300 consecutive working days of your life with no fucking holiday in between fill you with dread, does it? Suck it up, millennial. Life isn’t all takeaways and enjoying being alive, you know.

Anyway, we have to run the numbers here, because the maths above suggest all of us are somehow spending £115 a week on a single night out, and £50 a week on takeaways, somehow, and that somehow estate agent Strutt & Parker (mad how an estate agent might put out a press release urging millennials to save money so they can finally get a foothold on the precarious housing ladder and make said estate agents money, isn’t it? Almost like they have an ulterior motive here; almost like they see a dreadful future where their businesses are dying) are the only ones to have noticed this information, that millennials are complaining bitterly about not being able to afford houses, but also somehow spending twelve grand a year in Pret, and that hey, just stop spending money on things you like, for the thick half a decade in which you are young and life is actually fun, and instead save away for an ever more unrealistic dream, and you too could have a house one day, freezing cold and tiny, and in which you can’t actually afford to service the boiler or have anything other than a single IKEA bed and a desk lamp. Anyway:

Preparing lunch at home rather than buying sandwiches or salads saves £2,576 on average—

This is the classic avocado equation rearing its ugly head again (“Just stop buying brunch, millennial!” dudes with two Audis and a well-curated stock portfolio say. “Save up and buy a house, god!”), and while yes, “make your sandwiches at home” is sensible enough advice, I’m not going to do it because: i. the ingredients for sandwiches are not, despite your calculations, free, and once you’ve actually spent money on, say, bread and ham and cheese, you’re not actually vastly up on money you would have spent on just buying one at a shop anyway; ii. I am just never going to personally be organised enough to make a sandwich in the morning and remember to bring it in, deal with it; and iii. if you live with housemates they will steal all of your bread by Wednesday and not replace it. That’s never in the calculations, is it. The emotional labour of having to send a pass-agg message to the house WhatsApp asking where 60 percent of your Cathedral City went. You don’t get that with a Pret baguette.

—and cutting out an annual foreign city-break could be worth another £700 a year

I personally don’t consider holidays a luxury – I consider them a necessity, and anyone who says otherwise is chatting shit. Chart a graph of my general happiness levels through the four-year period in my mid-twenties where I straight up forgot holidays could exist (I was earning very little and literally did not consider the idea of going away) (also, and I will be honest: I lost my passport) and now, when I go away once a year, and my mental health is demonstrably better. You expect me to live, for a whole year, in a city that is trying to kill me, without once going to Barcelona for a long weekend and having some tapas? You want me to do that for five years without respite? Just to save some money? Honestly, Strutt & Parker; honestly, mate: it’s not worth it. I might have a house by the end of it, but I’ll also have a death wish.

Finally, Strutt & Parker suggests that the average annual Lottery habit, costing £832 a year, could be sacrificed.

Ah, millennials, famed for their £16-a-week lottery habits

According to the calculations from agents Strutt & Parker, giving up a night out once a week could save more than £6,000 a year, and cutting out takeaway meals would knock £2,640 off household spending.

Apologies, but I had to do a hard U-turn and come back to this paragraph, because £115 a week on drinking and socialising is an absurd number – unless you are literally, every Tuesday, like “LET’S. GET. ON. THE. BAGS.” and getting bottle service in clubs, and not, as everyone I know is, cheerfully drinking in Wetherspoons and Wetherspoons only because it’s the only place where pints are the right price – and the £50-a-week takeaway figure is also completely insane (by my maths, this means you are having two large takeaways, per week, just for yourself – you are doing a Domino’s fours-up and having it, alone and weeping, back at your flat – or you are buying one takeaway a week for everyone in your share flat and they, for some reason, are not paying you back at all for this food), plus add in the idea that we all have raging lottery habits, plus this quote, from Strutt & Parker’s Stephanie McMahon: “Those lucky enough to have family that can help will receive an average of £29,400 towards their goal, but that still leaves £64,000 to find”, all of which begs the question: have you ever met a millennial? Have you ever met, like, another person? You are preaching financial advice to people you know absolutely nothing about. This is like me telling the moon to stop spending money on things, or advising a large ship on which ISA to take out. Please, allow me to tell the concept of envy about interest rates on savings accounts. I know nothing about fuck all and I still know this advice is garbage.

It’s very tiring, being a millennial, knowing that everything that ever went wrong in the world – most especially a housing market busted and corrupted by a bent financial system and a buy-to-let mortgage free-for-all that all boomed and busted when we were all early teenagers – is somehow our fault. In many ways, the “just give up eating sandwiches for five years!” conversation is just a reworking of the “benefit claimants shouldn’t have big TVs, then!” discourse that keeps cropping up: those ostensibly With, more through luck than judgment, telling those Without exactly what to buy and how to live. How many times and ways can we say this: the national average house price is £226,367. The average in London is £471,761. The average deposit in London is quoted as anywhere between £96,000 and £150,000. That is what’s stopping under 35s from buying houses. Not fucking sandwiches.

@joelgolby

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