I like to think that I’m not a typical millennial. I’ve never taken a gap year to Bali, Love Island has completely passed me by and my fridge has never contained almond milk. However, lately, I have started to reassess my unquestionably arrogant belief that I’m markedly different.
Like so many of my friends, I struggle to save a decent chunk of my income every month. Living in the South seems to be synonymous with high rental costs, and the thought of having enough to scrape together for a deposit seems like a daunting, unattainable fantasy. In order to try and save, I’ve tried all of the classics. Morning shop-bought coffees are now a thing of the past, I’m rarely seen walking into the office without a packed lunch and, much to my other half’s delight (or is that despair?) any loose change in our house goes straight into a ‘holiday fund’ jar.
However, no matter how hard I try to save, there are occasions when I lose focus. This often happens at times of stress and, when it does, the small section of my brain geared towards saving seems to go off for a wander. Thankfully, it’s often not gone for long. However, by the time it returns, I’ve usually gone over budget on food or gig tickets or a piano. Let the record state, I do not regret that last one.
The age old conundrum is how to keep that focus on saving. Amazingly, I believe I stumbled upon the answer by accident.
A couple of months ago, my wonderful colleague Helen and I set up an Instagram account dedicated solely to financial wellbeing for 18-34 year olds. Aside from challenging my artistic capabilities, I was not expecting the project to have any personal impact. Oh, how wrong I was...
For those of you not familiar with Instagram, picture-based posts are shown on a news feed within the app. You can scroll through, ‘like’ posts that catch your eye and see information from pretty much anyone you choose. I have been a fairly avid user of Instagram for a couple of years and my personal feed is filled with salsa videos, metal gigs and Samoyed puppies. Although enjoyable, it’s certainly not been a source of wisdom.
When we created the psaspire account, one of our first ideas was to engage with other users promoting financial wellness. Pretty soon, we had a feed packed full of budgeting ideas and inspirational stories from people who were in the process of pulling themselves out of debt. To keep track of our followers and posts, I began to log into our account on a daily basis and spent a fair amount of time scrolling through these amazing, financially focussed posts.
Then, a couple of months in, I had a revelation; my behaviours had changed. And the best part of it all? I had done absolutely nothing. Simply by reading bite-size budgeting content on a daily basis, the money-saving part of my brain was being stimulated and challenged without me even realising. Over the last few months, I have felt more comfortable managing my budget. I have used the tips I have read to make my pay cheque stretch further and, best of all, I’ve not had any more piano-sized spending sprees.
When employers ask about how to engage staff with their finances, millennials are often seen as a tricky generation to target.
We are not known for our attention spans, nor our willingness to sit down and read something that has actually been printed out. Many of us would prefer to sort our finances out at home and, although I’m sure most millennials would appreciate greater financial education, we want it in easy bite-sized chunks.
Social media’s ability to present valuable information in short, sweet bursts has revolutionised opportunities for financial education in my eyes.
Social channels are already being used by countless younger employees, most of whom will be engaging with these apps on a daily basis. Utilising the channels millennials already love to help them save seems like a no-brainer, and here’s the great thing. Signposting them towards these channels is free. If they choose to engage in their own time, it’s free for them too. So, everyone is a winner.
Now, for the shameless plug. You can find our Instagram account by searching for the username ‘psaspire’ within the app. Check us out and follow us if you like – or don’t; that’s fine too. Do, however, explore what’s out there and find something that could help you and your staff achieve those saving goals.
For tips on tidying up your finances, including money making and money saving advice, follow us on Instagram: @psaspire