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DIY, TikTok, thrifting: 4 ways Gen-Z is beating the cost of living

There's no sign of a cost-of-living respite, as prices continue to skyrocket.

Compilation of Gen Z girls walking and a TikTok logo to represent tackling cost of living
All Aussies are feeling the pinch as the cost of living continues to soar. (Source: Getty) (Samantha Menzies)

With Australia’s cost of living crisis continuing to escalate, Gen-Z is confronted with a more challenging financial landscape than ever before. But this savvy generation isn't fighting inflation by just cutting costs and making do with less; they're redefining what it means to live well in today's economy.

Here are four innovative ways Gen-Z is navigating the soaring cost of living, and what we can all learn from it.

1. Rejecting the “own everything” mentality

In a twist that would make the Black Mirror writers proud, Gen-Z has flipped the script on ownership. They've traded ‘own everything' for 'share something’. And just like trading a DVD collection for a Netflix account, they're reaping the benefits. From rented dresses to borrowable cars, it's less about possession and more about access.


Gen-Z treats platforms like Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace as their own virtual saturday flea markets. And their use of these second-hand markets isn't just about saving a buck but a conscious nod towards sustainability, community-building, and a rejection of being materialistic.

2. Influencing with authenticity

Gen-Z's social media isn't about showcasing unattainable luxury, but rather about real life. Gone are the days of flexing Lamborghini’s and supermodels. A great example is TikTok star Axel Webber who went mega-viral for showcasing his life living in what seemed to be one of New York City’s smallest apartments.

Meanwhile other star influencers like Emma Chamberlain aren't parading designer labels, but instead rocking thrift store finds, home-cooked meals, and DIY furniture.

This is the new normal, and it's both cost-effective and sustainable. It's like swapping the glossy magazine for a well-loved novel that’s authentic and relatable.

3. Empowering through financial literacy

Gen-Z isn't waiting around for their Hogwarts letter for finance education, they're hitting up TikTok instead and following finance influencers like TashInvests or QueenieTan to build their knowledge, making the world of finance as easy to grasp as their morning latte.

With fintech apps like Raiz, Spaceship and Superhero, Gen-Z is learning the ropes of investing from their smartphones. It's a practical and proactive approach to money that arms them with knowledge on the cost of living battlefield.

4. Investing in mental wealth

Gen-Z knows that wealth isn't just about the number of dollars in your bank account, it's also about their mental health - a clear mind boosts productivity and overall well being and a clear direction helps to make more money in the long term.

By tapping into resources like Headspace and Reddit forums, this innovative generation proves that wealth is more than just financial security. They understand that work/life balance sometimes beats a higher salary.

The secret is, Gen-Z is doing much more than cutting costs, they're flipping the system, going against norms, and building a future where the cost of living doesn't mean sacrificing their quality of life.

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