By Mary Hunt
I love a good story, especially one that goes viral for some unknown reason, setting off a media firestorm.
On a recent episode of the Australian “60 Minutes,” real estate mogul and self-avowed millionaire Tim Gurner casually suggested that the reason some millennials cannot afford to buy a house is they’re addicted to $19 avocado toast and $4 coffee. Say, what
I love avocados and I’m a big fan of toast, but I must admit that I’d never heard of this avocado toast — an apparent delicacy that has the younger generation so strapped a good number are back living with their parents.
Oh, man, did that not sit well with a lot of millennials. The internet was ablaze with snarky comments and every effort imaginable to set this Gurner fellow straight.
I read with a bit of glee as one money expert after another did the math to prove that giving up $19 avocado toast would not make a dent in a millennial’s ability to save for a 20 percent down payment on a house. They did this by dividing $19 into a typical 20 percent down payment on an average American house. It got quite funny. My curiosity kicked in, prompting me to figure out this avocado toast thing. And figure it I did. Here’s what my research turned up:
Avocado toast consists of a piece of toast spread with smashed up avocado and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Seriously? That’s it? For that price, I was expecting this controversial delicacy to be topped with creme fraiche and caviar.
There are variations where the avocado toast is topped with a perfectly poached egg or feta cheese. Or shrimp, perhaps. Or you could just go crazy by adding tomatoes and basil atop a smear of mayo.
Now that I have experienced the goodness of avocado toast, I’m going to side with those who believe this guy is out of his mind if he thinks we’ll give up avocado toast anytime soon. And, yes, I’m talking to you, millennials. Is there a house in the world worth owning at the expense of never enjoying avocado toast again as long as we live? I think not!
But, just wait a minute. Nineteen dollars?! No way. I can’t abide $17, or even $6 or $3.
Here’s the deal: If you want to get your finances on track to where you are consistently saving and spending less than you earn, you’d best stop eating out. That’s what killing your future, not a couple of $19 avocado toasts a month.
Here’s an idea: Learn to make avocado toast yourself. Make it a project to try every possible variation you can think of. By my best estimations, a slice of high-quality hearty bread plus a perfectly ripe avocado comes in at about $1.65 tops. And that’s when avocados are most expensive. If you can find them for 49 cents each, well, you do the math. Amazing, no? And I promise you can learn to make avocado toast that tastes even better than that chi-chi restaurant you used to patronize.
Now, take that attitude and apply it to every area of your life and you won’t be giving up the things you enjoy. You’ll be finding frugal ways to enjoy the life you love, and buy a home, too.
Mary invites questions, comments and tips at firstname.lastname@example.org, or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually