I’ve recently moved into San Diego, and into my first apartment post-college that’s really mine. At least, it’s mine and my roommate’s because there’s no way I could afford a 1BR spot for myself. It’s straight up too expensive. I work as a barista (hence the anonymous message, as I don’t want my regulars to identify me), and I earn what I actually thought would be pretty good money, considering the relatively high minimum wage in California. As I adjust to the high cost of living a normal life, I have to say, my mind is completely boggled. How can so many hipsters hold down stereotypically “hipster” jobs (like mine!), yet still freely enjoy hipster extravagances like craft beer, $8 avocado toast, Polaroid photography, designer beard tonics, and vinyl records?
— Broke Bro in North Park
How indeed does the average hipster, working a grueling 32-hour barista’s workweek, manage to afford all that Pliny the Younger to wash down grass-fed organic burgers? Because this question presents such fertile ground for hipster exposition, I have decided the manifold solution to this problem demands more than even I can accomplish in a single week. Last week, I dimly recall waxing irate over the pricing-out of hipsters from their traditional urban environments. I also advised cash-strapped hipsters to externalize the costs of a hipster lifestyle by achieving insider status within some section of the local hipster economy. This week, we’re looking at the negative implications of the choice to lead a hipster lifestyle.
Step Two: Forego Non-Hipster Luxuries
Popular wisdom stereotypes hipsters as a bunch of trust fund babies living out extended bohemian gap years before eventually selling out and working at their dads’ hedge funds. False. Notwithstanding the basic inaccuracy of the trust fund baby trope per se, your garden variety hipsters are more likely found in the image of the ironic pastafarian than the hedonistic trustafarian.
Don’t drive a car, even if only because it’s so damn satisfying to live in smug superiority over people whose lives revolve around battling their neighbors for parking because their garages remain filled with vitally important boxes of stuff they haven’t touched in over a decade.
Even moderately luxurious home goods are overrated. You don’t need a Tempurpedic mattress to sleep at night. Fluffy towels are for the weak. Think of how many more single-origin lattes you can afford if you’re willing to dry off with a scratchy rag from the G.W. instead of high-pile Egyptian cotton from Bed Bath and Beyond. You simply don’t catch hipsters reclining on Roche Bobois sofas. It’s not done, I say. It’s. Simply. Not. Done.
Cable TV? No. Just no.
Designer clothes? Only if they show up second-hand, and even then only ironically.
This actually reveals a fundamental difference between the hipster mindset and the typical American perspective. Where too many people (even people who can’t afford it) put their efforts into acquiring nice things they don’t need, hipsters demand their necessaries meet a much higher standard, and, to facilitate this, they forego many ordinary luxuries. As far as I can tell, this is a much smarter way to go about one’s life generally, hipster or not, and maybe non-hipsters could take a page from the unwritten hipster handbook here.