So what of this generation? Worldwide it seems that 20 somethings are entering into a work force that's not ready for them – slumping demand and baby boomers that just won't quit….or can't afford to. In the West, this generation may have been well-off as children, in the sense that they grew up during a boom – the 80's and 90's. Toys, fun and fast food were abundant. Instant gratification – if you want it, you got it. This is the polar opposite to frugal living. But frugal living is going to be what gets this out-of-work generation through to mid life with more than a dollar or two in their pockets.
Frugal living and thrift don't mean being miserly or cheap, but cautious and forward-thinking. Thrift is best defined as the most intelligent use of time, energy, health, and all resources, including money. Obviously, what one feels is the best use of their money is semi subjective, but if the job prospects are slim, one must narrow their list of choices and look at things more practically.
Frugal living has been popular in Japan for over 15 years, since their government has totally destroyed their economy through wild schemes of printing money and propping up zombie corporations which should be allowed to go bankrupt. The same mistakes are being made in the West and the consequences will be dire. Idiotic politicians have a very short term view and getting re-elected is usually at the top of their list. The term ‘too big to fail,' actually means too many voters to piss off. Japan propped up all sorts of companies thinking that it was a good idea to keep people working, but they merely prolonged the depression.
We can learn a lesson from Japan – more than one actually.
Japanese also endure very high energy prices. Utilities and gasoline are very expensive compared to North America. Yet, the average Japanese household, or single young person, has a very high savings rate. They're thrifty! They still have a good time, partying with friends, eating out, taking in all sorts of leisurely activities, but they shave their bills down as much as possible. So many ‘money saving tips' come out of Japan.
Frugal living doesn't have to be painful; during the Great Depression, people tightened their belts and those who were prudent and saved, came out the other side, cashed up with money to invest in a boom. Look at it this way: perhaps your college degree in anthropology is totally and absolutely worthless, in terms of adding value and making you money; the game is not over.
Tighten your belt, enjoy frugal living by cutting your bills down to size and saving more money.
Find a job in an area outside of your ‘field of study' and learn anything you can to add value to others. This is the thing that guidance counsellor dinosaurs forget; you have to add value in order to get paid. Sociology degrees and the like don't add value to very many lives and, therefore, have little or no demand in the real world.
The post secondary education industry is going to take it in the neck in the years to come. They've turned out hundreds of thousands of grads with little or no useful knowledge and the market will punish them for it. Tuitions are on the rise and fewer youth in the future will be able to attend – thankfully. This is a big trend. Imagine all the professors and administrators who will have to learn to embrace frugal living.
Stay ahead of the curve and think of ways you can add value to other people's lives. Keep your chin up. You may have just spent tens of thousands on information that nobody wants to pay you to use, but life's not over. We're in a crisis, but crisis and all the wild changes that come with it, presents opportunity for hard working people to thrive.
Will you be one of them?