Put down the $12 avocado toast
Updated: July 20, 2017
This research carries weight.
Millennials spend far more on food than older generations. Indeed, they drop an average of
$797 per month on groceries, compared to $724 for those 37 and older, according to data released Thursday by Bankrate. And they spend $233 on both dine-in and take out meals, versus $182 for older generations.
Some of the reason for the higher spending is that millennials eat out — either by dining at the restaurant or getting takeout — nearly five times a week, according to a study released in June by Bankrate. That’s compared to an average of just 3.4 times per week for Gen Xers and 2.5 for Boomers, the study found.
That’s a problem for two reasons. First, it takes a bite out of your bank account. “Often, it’s the minor, habitual expenses, such as take-out and alcohol, that wreak havoc on your budget,” says Sarah Berger, a millennial money expert at Bankrate.com. And there’s little doubt that millennials could use the extra money: They’re way more likely than boomers (56% vs. 29%) to report that they often spend more and/or don’t save as much in a month as they want to, according to data from TD Ameritrade.
What’s more, dining out can lead to weight gain. When people eat out, they inhale an average of 200 more calories than when they eat at home, a 2015 study of more than 12,500 people published by Public Health Nutrition found. And government research finds that “when eating out, people either eat more or eat higher calorie foods — or both — and that this tendency appears to be increasing.” Further studies also show that people who eat out more tend to have more body fat.
Also see: Sorry, but you cannot be ‘fit but fat’
Millennials don’t need those extra calories: The proportion of people ages 18-29 who are obese has more than tripled in the past 40 years, and now roughly one in four people in this age group are obese. “The Millennial generation is the first to see rising rates of early-onset obesity-related diseases,” Dr. Susan Blumenthal writes in the Huffington Post — and those can be expensive to treat even for those with insurance.
Of course, it’s not all bad news for millennials. They still have lower obesity rates than older generations, and there are signs that millennials are intent on saving.
This story was originally published in June and has been updated.
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