Tag Archives: Millennials

The Budget Keeper: Three Money Saving Tips for Your Twenties

This advice is geared toward your early twenties but is applicable to any stage of life. Whether you’re a recent college grad or a bit older, these tips will save you and make you the most money, based on my experience and calculations as a woman in my latest of twenties.
TL;DR:
  1. Used car
  2. Low rent
  3. Imbibing on a budget
They don’t teach these tips in school, but they should.
Set yourself up to be in a better place financially in ten years like so:

1) Buy a used car

Don’t buy a new car and don’t buy a flashy car to seem rich. You want to invest in your appearance for your career? Invest in your clothing. Dress at least one pay grade above where you are now. A sleek wardrobe that fits is a smarter investment than an automobile that spends 95% of its life parked.

cars parked in a full lot
A car spends 95% of its life parked. Good investment?

Keep your car payment as low as possible (or non-existent). $400-$500 a month will go further invested in stocks you believe in, in industries that you understand, than getting flushed down a motor finance drain. Buy a perfect black suit and a versatile cocktail dress that will pay for themselves, not a luxury car in which to sit alone in traffic. It’s for the birds – who cares about your car? (So millennial, I know.)

2) Keep your rent low

You’re young, you’re renting. Renting is okay. Renting is smarter than owning in many ways. A home is a liability, not an asset. Don’t feel pressured to own. Rent til you know. Enjoy your freedom. You can pick up and move to a new city anytime. You don’t need to mow a lawn or pay property taxes or acquiesce to an HOA.
house keys and Tile and Michigan keychain
The Tile is for when you lose your keys after a night with the Budget Keeper.

(Bonus tip: buy a Tile so you can save time and money finding your lost keys or anything else you frequently lose. It’s a GPS tracker connected to an app. I’ve sworn by Tile for years. They make great office gifts, too. It’s $24.99 for 1 or $62.93 for 4 on Amazon.)

While renting, bargain with your landlord.

2a) How to lower your rent

A) Offer to post reviews in exchange for reduced rent or at least two years of controlled rent.
B) Offer to pay three or six months rent in advance for a discounted rate or 1-2 months free.
C) If you’re in marketing, offer to do some social media promotion for your residence in exchange for reduced rent. Don’t use your personal brand for this – spell out a contract defining the promotion.

2b) Another renting tip: document

Whenever an issue arises, politely document the hell out of it via email, and make sure they know that you have kept track. Don’t be a nuisance or threaten anyone, and be lavish in your praise for what these apartment managers do right. But whenever you do email about a recurring issue, simply point out that you have documentation of the same thing having happened before, listing the dates and/or attaching the details as a PDF or email attachments. Maybe you have no issues with your landlord, property manager, or neighbors – consider yourself lucky. Keep renting until buying truly makes sense for you, your career, and your goals.

3) The Budget Keeper

This one is a little controversial 🙂

Don’t do this on a first date.

Do be discreet.

When you go out, pack a hip flask. Some people will judge you and think you’re cheap. You’re not, and who cares what they think? You’re young, trying to save money, and you just cut your bar tab in half. Bars mark up liquor an average of 300-400%. Restaurant owners are the only employers who don’t pay their staff living wages and expect customers to foot the bill. There’s nothing wrong with bringing a little sauce to top off your drink, considering how expensive going out can be. Especially if you have a high tolerance.

Sugar Kane

Think of this as a backup plan / accessory. This tip allows you to control your spending without ending the night early. You’re busy being fabulous, maybe networking a bit, you go-getter! You may even make some new friends or impress old men who retired from the railroad.

Notes:
Do buy something.
Don’t stiff the bartender.
Don’t get drunk.

Credit for the Budget Keeper goes to RickM. It’s not only a money-saver; it’s a throwback to a better time.
Let me know if you find these tips helpful. I’ll post more soon, hopefully in video format.

Girl Scout Cookies: Millennials Won’t Bite

Innovation is a word that gets thrown around too often. Things have changed since Girl Scouts walked door to door with clipboards and pencils taking down orders that took weeks to process. Girl Scouts and troop leader with cookie sign 1960

Recognized by Fast Company as #10 of The World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies of 2015 in Not-For-Profit, the Girl Scouts of the USA are keeping up with the times pretty well. But they could do better. The ubiquitous cookies are an obvious opportunity.

Mission: Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.

Some local councils offer Digital Cookie. Ecommerce skills are important, but not innovative. The @girlscouts Twitter stream is socially conscious and feminist. That’s great too, but not innovative.

girlscouts tweet about STEM

A growing crop of consumers are empowered to vote with their dollars, seeking products backed by social, political, and environmental responsibility. Millennials, the largest living generation at ~83 million, are what Scott Hess aptly calls conscientious consumers. Their annual spending is projected to reach $3.39tn by 2018, eclipsing Boomers. Millennials value health and brand transparency. Post Gen/Gen We (born since 2000) may prove to be even more invested in globalism, wellness, and pro-social companies.

There is a missed opportunity to set a meaningful example about both women in business and simply better business – modern, pro-social, pro-human business.

1) Role models: Thousands of women have created businesses from scratch, namely bakeries that use quality ingredients. Which of these company leaders would make a better role model?:

Karen Herrera of Sugar & Flour Bakery vs. John Bryant, CEO, Kellogg
Left: Karen Herrera, Owner, Sugar & Flour Bakery. Right: John Bryant, CEO, Kellogg

2) Ingredients: The Girl Scouts website advertises: “No hydrogenated oils” (false) and is full of misleading copy about how the cookies are wholesome.

Girl Scout Cookies - no hydrogenated oil claim - Little Brownie Bakers
Little Brownie Bakers: interesting claims

Girl Scouts: Align your flagship activity with your mission to make the world a better place.

RFP the cookie business to socially responsible, natural bakeries. Why support Kellogg in stuffing us full of GMO bleached flour, addictive sugar, and cell-destroying oils? I’d rather buy a Trefoil baked by Karen Herrera’s Sugar & Flour Bakery (Etsy shop turned storefront) in Greendale, WI than worry what BHT and sodium acid pyrophosphate are doing to my body. I’d rather buy Samoas made with whole ingredients by Sara Fitzpatrick’s The Cupcake Shoppe Bakery in Raleigh, NC than a chemical cardboard biscuit shot out of a conveyor belt in the Keebler factory.

Meet consumers’ growing appetite for transparency and social good.

Now, those two small bakeries could not handle the national demand. So look at an innovative, more established company like Hampton Creek, upstart maker of foods that use plant proteins instead of eggs. CEO and social entrepreneur Josh Tetrick founded Hampton Creek because while working and teaching in Sub-Saharan Africa, he noticed serious issues with the global food system. Hampton Creek makes ready-to-bake JustCookies, which are sustainable and natural.

Hampton Creek Just Cookies graphic

Consider two points:
1) JustCookies are sold at Walmart
2) Unilever (owner of Hellman’s Mayonnaise) was threatened enough to sue little Hampton Creek over their JustMayo product

People have begun to care more about what’s in their food, where it comes from, and how it affects the planet.

Organic, natural, sustainable, locally sourced: these are not fringe values or niche buzzwords. Look at the fire drill the fast food and sparkling beverage industries have had in recent years over obesity. People are waking up.

So let’s make the world a better place.

More About Ingredients in Girl Scout Cookies

Tagalongs Nutrition Facts: Ingredients: Peanut Butter (Peanuts, dextrose, peanut oil, salt), sugar, vegetable oil (partially hydrogenated palm, palm kernel and/or cottonseed oil, soybean and palm oil...
Tagalongs contain partially hydrogenated oil

ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers, the two bakeries licensed to bake Girl Scout cookies, distribute varieties that contain nefarious ingredients such as partially hydrogenated oil (both) and high fructose corn syrup (ABC). While copywriters address this with the seeming transparency du jour, the deflection is pure marketing. It’s par for the course from Kellogg, the Little Brownie Bakers parent company, known for depicting happy healthy kids on its cereal boxes of sugary junk and currently struggling with declining sales. Fueling a long FAQ page claiming that palm oil is perfectly healthy is the assumption that the original 8-ingredient natural recipe is no longer feasible. Why not?Girl Scout Cookies recipe 1922 - ingredients

Fun Facts – Girl Scouts

  • Founder Juliette Gordon Low organized the first Girl Scout Troop on March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Georgia. (Happy 103rd birthday.)
  • Both varieties of Thin Mints are vegan (but contain partially hydrogenated oil)
  • Troop Beverly Hills, the fictional Wilderness Girls troop from the 1989 movie starring Shelley Long and a young Jenny Lewis, accepted American Express but preferred Visa.
Troop Beverly Hills - It's cookie time dance
Troop Beverly Hills, “It’s Cookie Time” – 1989

 

Troop Beverly Hills - It's Cookie Time

Millennials Can’t Play Dodgeball – Episode 20 – The Digital Dive Podcast

Stream on YouTube here

Video playback slow? Stream audio only here.
who-are-the-millennials-social-media

The Digital Dive celebrates our 20th episode with a special video podcast. Millennials: scrutinized, fascinating, controversial. A bunch of overly coddled narcissists? Or the highly educated, tolerant, tech-savvy hope for our future? Our familiar voices can now be seen in action as we report on Yahoo’s acquisition of Tumblr and tackle the ever-controversial subject of the Millennial Generation.

I. In a bold move (that follows Google’s and Facebook’s acquisitions of startups in hopes of gaining an edge), Yahoo acquired Tumblr for $1.1 billion, Yahoo officially announced Monday, May 20, 2013. A popular social blogging hub for photos and funny gifs, and a major meme birthplace, six-year old Tumblr has ~900 posts a second with 300 million monthly unique visitors and 120,000 sign-ups every day. It also does not have a revenue model, much like Instagram, which Facebook acquired in 2012 for about $1 billion in cash and stock. Tumblr is highly mobile and has a young user base, in contrast to Yahoo’s older users. Tumblr could help Yahoo compete with Facebook and Google in the social networking space.

II. The Millennial Generation: In the wake of the controversial Time magazine article Millennials: the Me Me Me Generation by Joel Stein, we discuss some of the most prevalent complaints and praises of the most talked about generation since the Baby Boomers, along with a few surprising statistics about work ethic, narcissism, and tattoos.

Referenced in this episode:

1. The Pew Research Center’s comprehensive 2010 report: Millennials: Confident. Connected. Open to Change. 2/4/10
2. David McCullough Jr.’s controversial “You Are Not Special” commencement speech 6/7/12

Tips on Tap:

I. Artsy iPad cover: GelaSkins. Wraps front and back of iPad with your chosen artist’s design. Get free matching wallpaper for your screen. $29.95

II. Houzz – Landscaping, decorating and home design app.

III. Custom Inspector Stamp and Card keychainCool alternative to a business card: Custom Inspector Stamp is a keychain stamp by Mikey Burton in collaboration with Cranky Pressman. The Salem, Ohio based online letterpress service was founded by its original owners in 1934. Read more about Cranky Pressman.

Infographic about Millennials (click on the image to view it in full): Caveat: we are also coddled narcissists who did not play enough dodgeball in gym class.

Millennials Infographic cropped preview

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Marketing to Baby Boomers

Declining Community Participation

In Bowling Alone, Robert D. Putnam cites numerous statistics to illustrate the drop-off in Americans’ civic engagement and community participation since Baby Boomers’ parents were middle-aged (c. 1950s).

Bowling Alone book cover

In light of such information, and the overarching question Putnam posits about changes in community, there are myriad theories one could substantiate about the replacement of physical communal interaction with modern online, redefined communities. I will focus on connecting one area: Middle-aged to older adults, (in their 50s and 60s) have traditionally been more likely than young adults to vote and to engage in various forms of community (from bowling leagues to garden clubs to signing petitions to campaign participation).

Americans are less active today in such activities than ever before.

Social media use among Baby Boomers 55-64 rose from 9% in Dec. 2008 to 43% in Dec. 2010 (from Marketingcharts.com via David Erickson via Keith Privette).

Correlation or causation? Are 60 year-olds hashtagging #gardening tips instead of heading to a neighbor’s backyard club meeting? Probably (although most Boomers are on Facebook (73%) and not Twitter (only 13%). For analysis on the implications of the overall implications of these shifts in community definition involvement, read Bowling Alone.

Marketing application:

Remember that with longer life expectancy and lower savings rates than previous seniors, Boomers are projected to spend an additional $50 billion over the next decade (via market-research firm SymphonyIRI). If your brand’s target audience is between 50-70 years old, maximize your use of Facebook and minimize your reliance on old ideas about this group. Be like Kimberly Clark: they spent two years overhauling the Depends brand to appeal to the anticipated higher demands of Boomers. By 2020, Kimberly-Clark expects 45 million boomers will need incontinence products, up from 38 million currently. Depends advertising: “We’re very subtle in that we don’t have to explain the problem and solution in the ads. Boomers like seeing the confidence part of it.”

bowling shoes with blurry pins
Photo credit: Benjamin Faust

When designing your Facebook page, remember your customer’s main reason for being there: “Creating and renewing personal connections online is the biggest draw for boomers. About 47% of online boomers maintain a profile on at least one social network.” Boomers don’t want to bowl alone too much, though they have readily accepted the Facebook era. Whereas Millennials aren’t Facebook with the organic, unadulterated goal of staying connected with friends sharing pictures of children and grandchildren; as of today, we’re on Facebook because we know no other way. Connecting with friends is one appeal, but our narcissism is the real impetus for updating our status. Thus, marketing to twenty-somethings is completely different than to Boomers.

9 second attention span, 140 character limit

It’s no shock that Twitter appeals to younger people. We have a tiny attention span of roughly 9 seconds (via Sally Hogshead – love Fascinate‘s goldfish book jacket). One hundred years ago, attention span averaged twenty minutes. This is no accident: People increasingly lacked the patience to sit through PTA meetings over the last five decades. The communal connections or friendships potentially garnered there were hit-or-miss depending on attendance and likability of your neighbors. Online communities that are targeted present little risk that you’ll struggle to connect with like-minded comrades. If the relationship is based on Twitter and never even leads to a real life meeting, it will still suffice to quench that community thirst. Although, Boomers might still need a bit more Facebook love. But the proliferation of Twitter, especially amongst those who will increasingly make up the majority of the population as decades pass, means one day marketers may fondly recall enjoying the 30 second attention span of a Facebook user.

Tupperware Party 1950s