Remember the Age of YOLO? YOLO — “You Only Live Once” — was more than just a saying: it was a lifestyle.
People went a little crazy for the YOLO movement. Some people got infinity tattoos — or just tattoos of the phrase itself — to remind themselves that life is short. You couldn’t go anywhere without hearing it — even Lil Wayne dropped the phrase in the 2012 hit song “The Motto.”
But what exactly was so seductive about this phrase which now inspires major cringe and shame? YOLO gave us permission to live. Anything we were scared to do, nervous to be judged on, or excited to explore could all be justified with the simple notion: hey, you only live once.
This era felt young, vibrant, alive. And although it was filled with regrettable decisions, it was teeming with possibility. But where did that vibe go? No one says YOLO anymore … so did the desire to feel invisible and impulsive vanish with the phrase? Of course not.
Just as the ancient Greeks had carpe diem, the next generation always has a new iteration of the same idea. Currently, it’s manifesting in TikToks with the captions: “I’ll get my money back, but I’ll never be young in [insert a dream destination here] again.”
And without a doubt, I’m sure we’re going to look back on this one and cringe, too.
Why this mindset is dangerous
At first, this TikTok trend seemed harmless, enlightened even. Yes, you want to say, money is ephemeral and frivolous. What truly matters are the experiences I make happen when I’m young.
But, while this is partly true, just like YOLO, it’s a captivating mindset and automatically grants us permission to take all kinds of actions … even if some aren’t the wisest choices.
Let’s start with the obvious issue: this mindset’s approach to money.
First of all, we’re on the heels of a recession? Or on the verge of a recession? Depending on your news source. The smart thing is to focus on tracking your spending, budgeting your income, and saving for a rainy day. While this might sound restrictive, getting money-smart actually gives you more freedom in the long run. Finances aren’t necessarily about hoarding as much capital as you can stir up. It’s about planning, saving, and ensuring that you’ll have what you need when you need it, plus some room for what you want.
However, if you allow what you want in the moment to guide all of your decisions, it’s much tougher to build that cushion for unpredictable economic times (Hello Covid or that impending recession).
“I can get my money back” approach underscores that money is a bottomless resource. Of course, an abundant mindset is more fruitful than a scarcity attitude regarding money. But being delusional about how easy it is to “get your money back” could leave you trapped in a cycle of debt.
If you’re always using this justification, when will you replenish these precious funds? And with inflation on the rise, the money you make now isn’t stretching as far as it would have even a year ago.
Instead, the best way to actually “get your money back” is to invest it. Rather than losing value to credit card payments and outrageous interest rates, opening up a low-risk, easy-investment account can put you on a path to earning dividends from your cash and your compound. Plus, since compound interest works over time, starting now will earn you way more money than you’d earn if you start at a later date.
How to live your best life without being thoughtless about the future
Being responsible with your money doesn’t mean you should never spend on things that make you happy. But recklessly spending with the justification that we’ll “get it back” isn’t the answer. Find a middle ground. Save for the bad times. Budget for the good times.
One way to ensure you get the experiences you deserve without going into debt? Plan for them down to the last detail.
You don’t have to forego the things you love to live on a budget. And you don’t have to splurge to have memorable experiences — no matter what social media says.
With a few tricks, you can have the best of both worlds. Here’s how:
Save on Flights with Southwest Status
One of the most expensive parts of traveling is flying — not to mention all the extra fees for checked baggage, priority seating, and even airport snacks. Choosing an airline that’s convenient to your destination and travel plans can help you earn status and save some bucks. Fly all over the country with Southwest’s economical flights. You can even earn a companion pass where your travel buddy flies free. Talk about affordable!
Try Hotel Loyalty With Hilton
Save on hotels by staying loyal to a chain. But don’t compromise on an experience, no matter what your budget — despite what TikTok says. My recommendation? Try Hilton. Their hotels range from resort-style, 5-star attractions to budget options.
Make Planning Seamless with Booking.com
Discover a range of travel options from hotels to flights and car rentals and do it all on Booking.com. Seamlessly explore every thrilling possibility with on-site booking at the best prices and flexible cancellations.
Find the Best-of-the-Best Travel Destinations on Trip Advisor
Once you get on your flight, rent your car, and check into your hotel, what do you do now? For the best trip itinerary, turn to Trip Advisor. And, trust me, there’s something memorable and life-changing for all budgets.