Youth has always been the focus of attention for elders. I assume most of us are curious about what the younger generation do and say, because their actions are considered signs of their attitude, outlook and preference in life.
Recently a study was conducted to find out what our metropolitan youth spend their money on. The findings were not that surprising. More than 75 per cent spent their money on cosmetics, clothes and mobile phones. I was not very surprised by the materials they bought but I was by the amount they spent.
The survey revealed that our youth in metropolitan cities spend around `6,000 per month. A decade ago the amount spent was just 25 per cent of what they squander now. Though this may be considered a hint to increased earnings and affording capacity of parents, we should consider whether youngsters are justified in spending that sort of money.
One major reason for the increase in expenditure, which even our youngsters have accepted, is the influence of the Internet and the impact of advertisements. The increase in the number of men using cosmetics is a great example of the kind of influence aggressive marketing techniques used by cosmetic companies have on the public. Until recently use of cosmetics by men was considered a negative fad. But now things have changed, and I believe it is because of the advertisements that people are exposed to. Handsome young men are shown using sun screen or moisturiser with pride.
Consequently the public, particularly the younger generation, are led to believe that men and cosmetics are a good combination. Little wonder then if our youth have fallen prey!
Again, look at the money young people spend on mobile and multiple apps. I have seen some of them go in for a branded pair of shoes or the latest motorbike without bothering whether their parents can afford them.
Young people reading this article may wonder why they should not spend on things they like to have or experience. Well, if only the youth could differentiate between ‘need’ and ‘want’! While a need is what ‘you cannot live without’ a want is ‘what you love to have although it is not essential.’ Buying a pair of shoes can be a need, buying a branded pair is a want. Buying a shirt or a pair of trousers is a need but going in for branded ones would be a want. And cosmetics do probably more harm to the skin than good.
So, identifying what they need and what they want will help young people decide what they should spend their parents’ money on.
Another inducement they need to resist is to buy things on sale. Most times, when items are on sale they assume it’s a good buy even if they do not need them. If they really need a product, let them check if there is an inexpensive option. They may be able to save cash if they do research and buy things.
Of course, this is not to say that the youth shouldn’t spend money or buy things, but they shouldn’t be spurious! If they want to treat a ‘want’ as a ‘need’, let them do so when they earn their own money. Then perhaps they will realise their spending could be ‘genuine’!
They may find some sense in what Will Smith said, “Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.”