How To Afford A House When You’re Spending All Your Money On Avocado Toast

How To Afford A House When You’re Spending All Your Money On Avocado Toast

If you’re a millennial and having trouble saving up for a home, Australian millionaire Tim Gurner has some simple advice for you: Stop eating so much avocado toast. You’ll never be able to save for a home that way.

Photo by Jeremy Keith.

“When I was trying to buy my first home, I wasn’t buying smashed avocado for $19 and four coffees at $4 each,” he told 60 Minutes. “We’re at a point now where the expectations of younger people are very, very high.”

All you have to do is lower your toast expectations a little. Try our handy calculator to see just how easy it is to save money with this tweak to your routine. Just enter the price of the home you’d like to buy, the price of avocado toast (around $20, I’m told), and the number of times a week you eat this extravagant restaurant meal. Type the numbers on the line below each label:

Avocado Toast Savings Calculator

The median house price in Sydney right now is $805,000. If avocado toast costs $20 a serving, and you currently eat it twice a week, skipping those meals will allow you to save enough for a 20 per cent down payment in just 77.4 years! You’ll probably lose some weight in the process, too.

If you currently don’t eat $20 avocado toast, then perhaps you can’t afford a house in this economy. Even Gurner needed a loan to get started in the real estate business — about 1700 avocado toasts’ worth.


  • The other side of this argument would be, on the assumption that avoiding avocado on toast at $20 per occurrence has a statistically significant impact, is this: what happens to the economy if every young person stops buying avocado toast? Sure, in 77.4 years that money will flow in the form of a housing deposit, but how much damage does the economy suffer? It must be statistically significant, just like for the new (but very old) home owner. It’s a conundrum.

    • this is lifted straight out of the NZ media where these comments were made by some rich old fart months ago.

      Here’s a tip – buy a house in a small town with a rental accomodation shortage and hire an agency to look after the place and manage/source tennants/administer rent.

      Just be sure that you buy a house whose price covers the rental rates/council tax etc in its area, you should also aim to have enough money left over to put towards insurance and a small contingency fund/plus the agency’s costs.Do not buy if you need to top up the mortgage as the property should be generating a small surplus.

      in 5-7 years you should have accumulated enough equity in the property to borrow against it to buy a slightly more pricey home and you still have investment income coming in from the first property

  • It also helps to have a bit of a kickstart as per Mr Gurner. Tell all the facts, or none at all.

      • I feel this should be front and center in these sort of articles. There is always a tiny caveat at the end and in this case doesn’t even mention he got a 34k “loan” from his grandfather.

        Every. Single. Time. We should be looking at this whenever someone like him decides to pipe up about this generations entitlement problem, he should be looking in the mirror himself before trying to lecture others.

        For people who don’t have the convenience of being able to be gifted money by family it is a very hard task. Then from the link I’ve put above you have arrogant people like Tim lecturing about how hard it was for him to start out when he literally got a massive foot up from his grandfather.

        The real issue is that housing is incredibly unaffordable, period. We have wages in negative growth compared to cost of living and people are being told it’s their fault, please. Right now is a terrible time to buying into the housing market, people driven by a fear of missing out on the great Australian housing gold rush. It’s not going to be pretty when interest rates rise (and they will) and people a overextended on what they can afford to pay.

        At the end of the day he is feeding into peoples fear of missing out. Why does he want people to throw more money at property? because it makes him richer. He wants people to over leverage themselves to buy an insanely overpriced dog box from his company.

  • The media’s obsession with a 20% deposit (it’s called a deposit not a down payment) and the median house price is the issue and probably the point that Tim is making.
    First of all, you don’t need a 20% deposit. It actually hurts your chances of buying your first house because the prices often rise faster than your savings rate. Save a 10% deposit and accept that LMI is added to the end of your loan.
    Don’t buy median. Lower your expectations. Buy a house for $400k (for example).
    I’m sick of articles that say it’s so hard to afford the median house price. I appreciate the humour behind this one though.

    • I’d just like to chime in – the Queensland Labor Government is trying to encourage regional growth at the moment. New opportunities are cropping up in regional cities as government and government-owned entities are being required to base new roles and projects there.

      Median house price in –
      Townsville: $355k
      Rockhampton: $200k
      Mackay: $250k

      (Go for a house in Yeppoon, kids. Live at the beach, half hour drive in to Rocky.)

      If you can’t afford your dream, see if you can re-evaluate your dream.

    • Was going to say something pretty similar. I went through some figures earlier to show the same sort of thing. Heres a different calculator that popped up this morning:

      Several issues, along the lines of what you say. Firstly, its based on the median price, which isnt where first home owners should be targetting. If they are looking at $500k houses, which most definitely exist in every market, you can use the Brisbane options to get a good idea.

      I based savings on $450 a week, roughly what the mortgage repayments would be, and something anyone on an average income ($70-$80k) should be able to save if they live at home. That takes it down to 4 years to save. But theres more.

      You also have stamp duty exemption not considered, cutting 5% of the loan out. Theres a quarter of your deposit. It means that $500k place in Sydney can be figured using HOBART options.

      Which, at $450 a week comes down to 3.1 years, or 3 without the smashed avo. Or if you can get a kickstart of $50k, something you can knock off within a year.

      When you start looking at lower deposits, it gets even easier. Its insane having the discussion when people instantly dismiss factors making it easier. Find ways to make it work, and it becomes a lot easier to get the foot in the door, which is all you need.

      Hardest part for me a decade ago was walking in the door to the bank and starting the pre-approval process. That 15 minutes was the best thing I ever did, now I’m 5 years from owning, and being debt free for as long as I want. Or upgrade, I dont know yet.

  • Nice straw man argument Lifehacker.

    If you were being intellectually honest you would have taken his comments for their real meaning.

    Avo on toast is a metaphor for all the ridiculous luxuries that people burn their money on while complaining about how hard it is to get a house.

    We’re talking the latest iPhones every year on the most expensive Telstra plan, yearly holidays, weekly Friday night drinks, eating out at a restaurant weekly, buying expensive cars on credit instead of a 10 or 15 year old second hand Toyota corolla. Not taking a packed lunch to work.

    The list can go on, but you get my point.

    • They don’t though. Firstly, the “expensive iphone” is a real straw man argument – you need a phone for a number of things these days, honestly it would be hard for me to find and keep work if I didn’t have a smartphone of some sort.
      Secondly, this research from the Guardian blows most of these false arguments out of the water:
      The graph of spending as a % of income for 25-34 year olds particularly. These are the people currently being labeled as frivolous by those such as yourself, yet as you can see, their spending on food, alcohol and recreation has fallen significantly since the 1990s.
      Thirdly, and I think this is the kicker, people who haven’t been gifted their opportunity in life at the age of 19 via a large amount of cash from grandad don’t take well to people who have lecturing them about sacrifice.

      • I love how people who are rich (and then who come out with public comments) almost always got started with a loan from parents, family etc. If only everyone could get 10s of thousands of dollars when they’re 19 years old! Why can’t all you frivolous losers do like this guy did?

    • Exactly. Many people think they deserve their first house but don’t want to make sacrifices.
      From the entire original article that Tim was quoted in, not once has anyone mentioned how he built several businesses and worked hard to get where he is. They all focused on the avocado and coffees.
      Many people just don’t want to make sacrifices (like you mentioned) or work harder, and prefer to blame the government or old people.

      • Not true!!! They also focused on the $34k kickstart he got…

        See above for a longer post, but if people are being realistic about what they want, they can save in a surprisingly short amount of time. If they go for a $500k property, and are happy with a 10% deposit, they can get there in a year. That gets them about 5%, stamp duty exemption covers the other 5%.

        Just suck up the LMI for 5 years, and when the property has grown in value, transfer your mortgage based on the newer value.

        • Yeah I left that 34k out, you’re right. It was a business loan not a gift as he has since explained, but I agree with you and your other comment that being realistic is better.

      • Logged in just to make this very point. Old cars are remarkably unsafe compared to modern cars. No way I’d want a young, inexperienced driver in a 15 year old Corolla – if they crash their chance of being seriously hurt is increased.

  • While we are generalising about an entire group of people, this guy proves that all millionaires are douches.

  • Why is there a maligning of avocados? If there was an export market for them, the public would simply be denied access to them (like all top quality local produce). So, is there coal or methane gas under the farms wanted for export?

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