Why I Won't Ditch Avocado Toast
Crisp, whole wheat toast. Smooth, buttery avocado. A drizzle of zesty pesto. Arugula tossed in Garlic Expressions dressing. A few sweety drop peppers. An over-easy egg, yolk broken. Cracked pepper sprinkled on top.
Heads up, that's the recipe for the perfect avocado toast... you can stop looking now.
I find avocado toast to be the perfect mix of flavorful, versatile, and healthy; it's my go-to breakfast many mornings and a likely choice if I'm out for brunch. But it gets a bad rap. To many, this recipe has become the physical manifestation of everything that's wrong with money management in our society - particularly with Millennials. The reason people aren't hitting every conventional financial milestone at precisely the time they "should" is because they're squandering all their cash on expensive food experiences.
Look, I like it, but exactly how much toast do you think I eat?
Much of the financial how-tos out there are cheap and easy. They would have us believe that all it takes to go from crippling student debt to an abundance of wealth is to cut out the avocado toast, the latte, the first aisles you see at Target, the manicure, etc. The messages they send carry shame: "If only you had the willpower to never again consume the things that bring you joy, THEN you would achieve financial prosperity. Tsk, tsk."
Where else has this "if, then" mantra appeared for you?
If I lose the weight, then I'll be worthy of love.
If I trade in my self-care for longer work hours, then I'll get that promotion.
If I dedicate all my time to my child, then I'll be a great parent.
In the pursuit of a balanced life (guys, lemme know if you find it!), I've found thinking in terms of "and" allows for more grace and compassion.
As in - I can enjoy my avocado toast AND achieve my financial goals. Both those things can be true!
My life is happiest and most fulfilled when I'm living out my values, and good food is something I DO value; it brings me joy and is usually shared with the people I love most. To me, it doesn't make sense to go to the extreme of cutting out a value in exchange for a slightly more robust retirement account or a little less debt. At the same time, overindulgence in a value doesn't serve me either because I'll lose my appreciation for it, in addition to feeling the financial effects.
Shame, fear, and guilt (from yourself and/or from others) may prevent you from feeling like the things you value deserve a place in your budget - be it a monthly massage or that drink from your favorite coffee house. Or like you don't have the willpower to succeed financially if you occasionally indulge in those values. But you can make space for the things that light you up AND do so mindfully and in moderation. By identifying what's important to you and making spending choices with intention and clarity... you can have your avocado toast and eat it, too.
Psst - What value do you make sure you plan for financially? Comment below!