Hipsters. They’re everywhere. Plaid wearing men sporting bushy beards and beanies and women wearing cotton dresses complete with flower crowns and sandals. Tattooed and armed with an iPhone (with a wooden cover of course), documenting life in real-time. These folks are ridiculed for their urge to share a filtered photo of their daily meals on Instagram. Criticised by society and their parents for doing what they love instead of aspiring to climb the corporate ladder. Though I don’t want to see what you’re having for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I do believe that there are some financial lessons society can learn from these creatures.
Hipsters are a subculture of Millennials, usually in their twenties or early thirties, who go against the grain. They reject the rules and preconceived ideas of society and embrace independent thinking, swimming up the (main)stream at all costs and setting trends as they go. In their natural habitat, hipsters can be spotted on a Saturday at your local flee market, second hand stores or grubby yet trendy coffee shops. Being a true hipster is all about being thrifty. Where Hipsters find the money for an iPhone and all the data spent on Instagram remains a mystery. Maybe this article will shed some light on their money saving habits.
Most hipsters enjoy a vegetarian, and sometimes even vegan, diet. They usually grow the vegetables themselves in some sort of self-built, collapsible vegetable garden that hangs over the balconies of their bohemian apartments. Yes, hipsters didn’t start the growing your own initiative, but they made growing your own cool. And have you seen the price of meat lately? They’re definitely on to something here, people.
Hipsters have a knack for finding innovative ways to recycle just about anything. They can’t be bothered by your eyes of judgement as they walk past you wearing grandpa’s old jersey and their self-made jewellery. You can also save money be embracing this mind-set. Get hand-me-downs from your parents or siblings and give it new life by adding a brooch to it. It will be even better if the brooch is self-made. If your family refuses to surrender their old clothes, find a local second hand or charity shop and fill your wardrobe with some serious vintage and retro – just wash it before you wear it…
Pop some tags
Being thrifty is all about thinking outside of the box and not limiting yourself. If, for example, you are in desperate need of new furniture, don’t go to a furniture store and open an account to get a new lounge set. By the time you’ve paid off the lounge set, it will be old, dated and worn. Go bargain hunting instead and find used furniture with sturdy frames. You will probably be able to find a lounge set for a much lower price than you would if you bought new furniture. If you don’t like the material, you can always have these reupholstered at a later stage. Gone are the days where every piece of furniture in your house needs to match, so don’t worry if you can’t find matching couches.
The simple life
When it comes to entertainment, it is almost as if hipsters still value the ways of yesteryear. Before we had television, entertainment was much simpler and cheaper. Instead of paying for a television subscription that can easily amount to R800 to R1000 per month, hipsters prefer reading, spending time with friends (discussing those books) cycling or crafting something from scratch as a form of entertainment. You have to change your perspective on entertainment – you don’t have to spend money to have fun.
A big part of being a hipster is getting involved in DIY. Making your own stuff is cool, provides you with a creative outlet and is a lot cheaper than buying anything new. The key in making your own stuff, whether you make your own candles, soap, scrub, jewellery or furniture (and the list goes on and on), is to remember that there is no right or wrong. Forget about what you’ve seen in the media about how something should look.
The beard network
Hipsters are also extremely resourceful and well-connected. They always know someone who’s brother knows someone who knows a photographer who needs a model for a cat calendar shoot. The hipster network is an interconnected web made up of freelancers and creatives who gets the job done by helping friends out at the same time. What we can from learn from this is that networking is extremely important, especially when you’re a professional. You should stay connected with the people that’s part of your everyday life and never burn bridges.
Lastly, the most important decision you can make when embracing the hipster life is to resist from buying into the hype. Forget about keeping up with the Khumalos, Naidoos or Coetzees. You don’t need to impress anyone. I am not talking about posers or latecomers who can’t fully commit to this frugal lifestyle. Becoming a true hipster is more than just filling your wardrobe with plaid and getting non-prescriptive Wayfarer glasses. It is a lifestyle change. Committing to not shaving your beard is a start. You might just save on razor blades.