The most accurate indicator of socioeconomic makeup and Gen Y spending power is a freshly prepared California roll. Such is the premise of Bloomberg's Sushinomics Cost-of-Living Index, which uses the price of popular sushi rolls, like the standard spicy tuna or the aforementioned California, as a barometer for the overall cost of living for young Americans.
"In the same vein of the Big Mac Index, Sushinomics uses a popular food item to offer a peek into the socioeconomic landscape at a time when concerns loom large about income inequality, affordability, and stagnant wages in the U.S.," says Bloomberg of their unique methodology. With economic transparency being the end goal, the Sushinomics team has been tracking the price of these two popular rolls in major metropolitan areas over the last five years, with a focus on millennial-packed cities.
As any 18-to-34-year-old sushi lover can attest, living as an independent, working professional isn't cheap. The proof is in the rolls: These popular sushi rolls have gotten more expensive by the year, increasing in price by 5.3% in Seattle, 4.2% in Portland, and 4% in Washington, D.C. since 2011. Unsurprisingly, these cities are widely regarded as millennial hubs, attracting many college students and recent graduates from across the country. Darren Tristano, president of the food research company Technomic, believes that these price increases are "a reflection of a younger generation moving up the corporate ranks in the professional world," clarifying that he does not think baby boomers are driving this sushi trend.
While we don't need a sushi roll to tell us that money is tight, creating a budget and building a savings account—especially when living in an expensive city—is easier said than done. To ease the burden of rent, utilities, groceries, and the cost of your daily commute, we recommend trying the 72-hour rule or downloading a personal finance app (we love Mint) to make budgeting that much easier.
How do you keep your finances in check? Share your tips in the comments below.