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Can't Afford To Buy A House? Maybe You're Too Pretty

When did Puritanism become so unpopular?
Getting your roots done every five weeks is why you have no savings.
Getting your roots done every five weeks is why you have no savings.

Surely brunch is merely the tip of the Gen Y I-can't-bid-at-auction iceberg. A much bigger problem (and I am quite the expert -- I have seen youth walking along streets) is that young people are far too pretty.

Haircuts, full-body waxes, manicures, moisturiser: these are all mandatory services for twenty-somethings. And don't forget spray tans, summer highlights, botox, beard trims, colonics, eyebrow threading, tattoos, laser tattoo removal ...

Clothes play a big part too. It is very un-celebrity to wear things more than once. Yes, cropped tops from H&M may be $14.95, but if you get one in every colour, well. Plus, op-shops have been superseded by vintage stores: pre-pilled jumpers with armpit stains are OUT and classic Chanel is IN.

And you know what's to blame for the rise of pretty, don't you: Tinder. Yes, the superficiality of internet-dating has ruined everything. The rise of the selfie is the main reason Gen Ys can't break into real estate.

Back in my day (1998-2006) I only looked at myself in the mirror, very briefly, after breakfast and before stepping out of the house. The week before I started uni I bought some deodorant and mascara (actually I just bought a magazine that came with a free sample of mascara).

Blundstones and small t-shirts were on trend -- although the term "on-trend" wasn't yet -- and I got several pairs of old-man pants from the Camberwell market for between 50 cents and two dollars.

I squeezed pimples. I plucked my eyebrows. Sometimes I brushed my hair. Once, in preparation for a three-day music festival, I rubbed orange fake tan onto my whole body.

But in general, I was not pretty.

And then, when I was 26, I bought a house.

I know -- it's not fair, the median tiny house price in inner Melbourne is now $7.3 million and the cost of a spray tan is not even close to required 10 percent deposit.

But haven't you heard this old saying: Watch the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves. A modern translation: getting your roots done every five weeks is why you have no savings.

I've never been a big earner -- my top yearly income was a whopping $39,500 (2006-7) -- but I've always been a big saver. During the 1990s recession I had no idea that 75 percent of my dad's income was going towards our mortgage (hello, 16 percent interest!), but I did notice my parents selling the rocks from our backyard (yes, people actually bought them).

I think I was born with an ingrained tightarseness, and, frankly, I can't see it ever lifting. I love a bit of forced austerity! (Not the Joe Hockey kind, though.) Extravagance and frivolity are overrated. Hedonism -- no thanks!

When did Puritanism become so unpopular? Why aren't more people wearing hair shirts, taking vows of silence and putting dried chickpeas in their shoes? (Disclaimer: my entire knowledge of Puritanism comes from an episode of Blackadder in which Edmund serves his Puritan aunty a turnip "shaped like a thingy".)

Last week a friend told me that she "never looks at the price of the fruit or vegetables at the supermarket" and just gets what she likes. What?! If I did that I'd come home with blueberries, raspberries, leeks, a pomegranate, tiny multi-coloured tomatoes and more blueberries. But I don't. So I usually come home with apples and carrots. Sometimes just carrots.

Lipstick sales increase in times of economic hardship. If you can't afford a new Prado, at least you can still put a bit of lippie on to lift the mood, right? No! Lipstick -- like chocolate, cleaning out your ears and watching a man pretend to be a T-Rex on YouTube -- only offers short-term benefits. At the end of the day you realise that you have licked off the majority of the Revlon Super Lustrous Smoked Peach and still don't have a new Prado.

So here's the solution, Gen Ys: cut your own fingernails, let your hair grow long and say no to the back, sack 'n' crack. Every time you feel like getting a small tattoo of Lumpy Space Princess or a tiger eating a dolphin, put $220 in a jar (or the bank). And, if you really find that your face is slightly dry-ish and you wish you could just pop down to the supermarket for some Nivea, rub some smashed avocado on it instead -- works wonders.

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