Living frugal but looking rich

ou hear a lot of gripes about the lack of willpower among 20-somethings. How they can’t control their spending. How they shop recreationally and constantly. How they’re up to their hairlines in student debt but still go out to eat every night. Most of all, how they gripe about being broke — while sitting in coffeehouses texting friends from 5G phones.

It’s not often that you hear it from a 20-something, however.

In this post on Budgets Are Sexy, blogger J. Money shares an e-mail rant from his friend Tiffany A., who’s gotten some attitude from co-workers about her love of travel.

“Oh, you are so lucky — you must be rich,” they say.

Tiffany doesn’t see it that way. Here’s an excerpt from her self-described “rant”:

“What frustrates me most about people my age is that they spend their money frivolously on stuff that doesn’t really matter in the end. In my opinion, if you do that — then it’s your own fault you don’t have more money!

“Harsh but true. $30 manicures 2-3x a month and eating out 4-5x a week? If that’s your choice, fine, but don’t come crying to me saying you have no money … It just doesn’t make sense to me. I know I am more disciplined than most but this isn’t rocket science!”

Tiffany turned 23 earlier this week. Right now she’s working 60 to 70 hours a week: Starbucks barista, fast food shift supervisor and an occasional gig testing online coupons. She’ll keep up that pace until late August, at which point she’ll study in France for four months, as part of a master’s degree program in “global innovation.”

She still finds time to go out — “just not every night” — and to meet with friends. She just started a blog, Extraordinary Reasons, that will focus on personal finance for young adults.