Cassandra Report Digest

Young People are Making Their Personal Spending Public

Young people are becoming increasingly transparent about their purchasing habits, as revealed in Cassandra’s newly released SHOP Report. They’ve grown accustomed to peering into their peers’ shopping bags, refrigerators, homes, etc., and now they want a window into each other's wallets. Media sites and platforms are reflecting this desire for financial voyeurism by fostering a more open dialogue around money.


Refinery29 introduced a column called Money Diaries that highlights the expenses and spending habits of anonymous young women. Upfront details include their age, location, industry/job title, salary, paycheck amount, living situation and cost, loan payments, utilities, and monthly memberships. Participants chronicle their spending for seven days, sharing expenditures on everything from food to nightlife to transportation. Refinery29 features people from across the U.S. in varying fields and income levels to showcase a broad portfolio of financial situations and spending habits. The series has caught on as a human-interest story of sorts, with half of Trendsetters agreeing that one’s purchases say a lot about who they are.


At the request of its readers (many of whom, presumably, also read Refinery29), Man Repeller began publishing a weekly Money Diaries column in which its contributors chronicle their spending for a week. While the feature does not include the same context as Refinery29’s column, it has captivated readers with the site’s trademark candor and wit. This comfort and candidness around one’s financial outlook is increasingly common. In Cassandra’s qualitative research, a 20-year-old female noted, “I discuss my spending habits with my peers, especially my roommates. I’m open in conversations about how I spend my money.”


Venmo’s popularity isn’t merely due to convenience; youth are drawn to the social component, which has pulled back the curtain on friends’ spending. Although users can keep their transactions private, many voluntarily share them. While specific amounts are hidden, details of monetary exchanges can nonetheless reveal one’s financial habits. People are fascinated to find out what their friends and followers are spending—and with whom—making Venmo stalking the new Facebook stalking. Many see no reason why they wouldn’t display such info. A 28-year-old male indicated, “I don’t hold any shame about anything I purchase, so I’m always open to discussing what I end up splurging on.”