Is Generation Y Also Generation Cheap?

Now more than ever, college students are feeling the constraints of the current recession, though, with the vigor and pluck that comes only with youth, many have embraced the need for frugality and turned it into a lifestyle choice. They're trying to eat for free! They wear secondhand clothes! They're living in tents in the woods! Kids today!


The news would have you believe that these miserly attitudes amongst generation Y-ers, or "cheapsters" as dubbed by GMA, is a new phenomenon, but is it really? College students have always been poor and come up with inventive ways to eat and live cheap— GMA has just managed to find the most obnoxious of them. Take University of North Carolina student Will Thomason for example. Will is on a mission to eat for free for an entire year, which is fine. Just fine— do your own dumb thing, Will! But then he says something like, "It is a little bit of, you know, seeing if I can live off the land in the jungle of Chapel Hill" and he goes from a kid doing a fun experiment to a self indulgent idiot who is needlessly living off the generosity of others.

Then there is Eric Richardson, a Utah State University junior, who lives in a tent in the woods. Of course, there are people who are forced to sleep outside because of necessity, but I am going to assume that Eric is not one of them. Rather Eric is the kind of person who wants to sleep in a tent regardless. I knew a guy in college who lived in a friend's backyard and subsisted on blubber for an entire Wisconsin winter (this is the same man I once saw drinking a home-brewed tincture out of a mason jar as a means to cure a "broken heart")— while I'm sure this acquaintance did save money by living this way, I'm also sure that finances weren't his motivation. He was just a weirdo (albeit a kind one) who read My Side of the Mountain one too many times as a kid. Give him a GMA segment— no, give him an entire reality show!

The current economy has certainly had an effect on the way we live our lives— I, for example, am currently typing on a laptop that I made out of some wet cardboard that I found in the street— but to use the examples of a few college students (who probably ride mopeds and wear basketball shorts in January) as an excuse to call an entire generation cheap is just silly.


Princess Banana Hammock

You mean the Millenials, right? Because I'm pretty sure Gen Y graduated from college about ten years ago.