Flex out, thrift in for Gen MZ as high cost of living hits home

 A luxury fashion brand store is seen at a department store in Seoul in this 2021 photo. Korea Times file

Chung Ah-reum, an office worker in her mid-30s, stays away from purchasing handbags, shoes and clothing from luxury fashion brands nowadays after having been obsessed with buying such items in her early 30s.Living on her own in Seoul’s Gangnam District, Chung is also no longer into omakase, an expensive Japanese-style chef-curated fine dining, which she often enjoyed in the past.”I turned away from my extravagant spending pattern as I was pressed with the high cost of living,” she said. “I realized that a thrifty mindset is essential to pay my monthly rent, groceries and up my savings.”Stories like hers are common now and appear to represent a shift in the spending patterns of the so-called Generation MZ, a Korean term that encapsulates millennials and Gen Zers.They were previously into “flex” culture, which is characterized by showcasing wealth, success and luxury possessions in public with the notable absence of humility.The change in their spending patterns comes as ongoing inflation is clouding Korea’s domestic consumption.The year-on-year consumer price growth is back above 3 percent for the second straight month since February, after falling to the 2 percent range in January for the first time in six months.Rising prices of agricultural, livestock and fishery products, the everyday food items that immediately affect how people feel rising prices are driving the spiking inflation.

Volatility in global prices due to the heightened conflict in the Middle East, surging won-dollar exchange rate and possible hike in energy bills are anticipated to increase upward inflationary pressure.Under the circumstances, those in their 20s and 30s are cutting their spending on food and drinks, as well as on clothing and shopping.According to an analysis by spending management app Bank Salad released on Sunday that studied the spending patterns of one million of its users, those in their 20s spent 169 billion won ($122.55 million) on food in February, down 21.8 percent from the previous year.For those in their 30s, the year-on-year spending on food fell 24.2 percent to 111.8 billion won.Regarding spending on alcohol and food in bars, those in their 20s spent 15.8 billion won, which is 30 percent less than a year earlier. Spending on these items by those in their 30s also fell 32.3 percent to 13.4 billion won.Concerning clothing and shopping, spending among those in their 20s fell 14.5 percent to 49.8 billion won, while it diminished by 17 percent to 42.2 billion won among those in their 30s.Due to the rising cost of living, young people are also looking for side jobs. According to a report by Shinhan Bank, 16.9 percent of economically active people said they have a side job. More than half of those with less than 10 years into their career said they are interested in a side gig. When asked why, 61.9 percent cited economic reasons, such as the high cost of 토토사이트 living.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *