Thomas Robinson

18 Expenses Boomers Cling to While Millennials and Gen Z Embrace Change

The spending habits of older generations, particularly baby boomers, often differ from those of younger generations due to their preference for familiar comforts over digital advancements. While younger individuals prioritize convenience and online shopping, boomers tend to invest in tangible items that reflect their upbringing and values. This divergence in spending patterns underscores the generational gap in consumer behavior, with boomers finding solace in traditional purchases while younger cohorts embrace modern trends. Understanding these differences sheds light on the varied perspectives shaping consumer choices across generations.

Print Media

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The digital era’s frustration of losing online articles contrasts with the boomers’ appreciation for tangible news sources. Redline reports the United States has 16 major newspaper owners, with Gannett leading, owning 487 newspapers in 2022. However, three significant newspapers saw substantial declines in print circulation from Q1 2020 to March 2021. USA Today suffered the most critical loss, with a 62% decline of 303,000 in print circulation, followed by The Wall Street Journal with 208,000 (21%) lost circulation and The New York Times with 48,000 (12%) lost circulation.

Specialty Home Appliances

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Unlike younger generations who favor budget-friendly appliances like $20 coffee makers and hand mixers, boomers prioritize quality and functionality in their home and kitchen equipment. Their inclination towards investing in top-notch appliances reflects their dedication to home cooking and hospitality. Boomers are willing to splurge on high-end espresso machines, artisanal bread makers, and efficient food processors, recognizing the value of having specialized tools for various culinary tasks. In contrast, Gen Zers and millennials lean towards practical, versatile appliances or simply opt for dining out or ordering delivery.

In-Store Shopping

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Boomers exhibit distinct shopping habits shaped by their upbringing, favoring traditional in-person retail experiences over online shopping, a preference influenced by the era they grew up in. They’re more inclined to allocate time and money towards brick-and-mortar stores, relishing the tactile and personalized aspects of in-person shopping. In contrast, younger Americans lean towards the convenience and efficiency of online shopping. For boomers, the allure of browsing through physical stores resonates deeply, reflecting their unique consumer mindset.

Knitting and Crocheting

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Many older individuals engage in hobbies such as knitting and crocheting, demanding patience and hands-on effort. These pursuits are not only widely enjoyed but also deeply satisfying for them. These activities allow them to express themselves creatively and produce practical or aesthetically pleasing items. Moreover, it is a welcome respite from the fast-paced digital world, permitting them to slow down and relish crafting something tangible with their hands.

Cable TV

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For boomers, reliability takes precedence when spending their hard-earned cash. They see the added cost of cable TV subscriptions as a worthwhile investment, providing them with effortless access to the familiar channels and programs they cherish, all without the hassle of adapting to new technology. Tech Report highlights a significant decline in cable TV subscriptions, plummeting from 98.7 million in 2016 to 72.2 million in 2023. This is indicative of shifting consumer preferences away from traditional media consumption methods.

Big Cars

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Unlike younger generations who prefer smaller, fuel-efficient vehicles, many boomers view their cars as symbols of status in addition to mere transportation. They’re willing to invest in cars that reflect their achievements and ensure safer and more comfortable travel. Despite their higher initial costs, increased fuel expenses, and maintenance requirements, Boomers often opt for spacious sedans or SUVs. On the other hand, millennials and Gen Z prioritize environmentally friendly transportation options, including green vehicles, public transit, cycling, scootering, or car-sharing services.

Greeting Cards

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Boomers cherish the heartfelt tradition of sending physical birthday cards over modern digital greetings. Unlike younger generations, who may settle for a quick emoji-laden text or social media shoutout, boomers value physical cards’ tangible connection and emotional depth. Despite the cost ranging from $3 to $6 per card, boomers deem it a worthwhile investment for the personal touch and sentimentality they convey. While the expenses can accumulate over time, the emotional value far outweighs the monetary cost for this generation.


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Having ample leisure time, numerous baby boomers embark on four to five leisure trips annually, often opting for cruises as their preferred mode of travel. Regarding international destinations, Europe, the Caribbean, Asia, and the Middle East top their travel lists, offering diverse cultural experiences and scenic landscapes to explore and savor. For baby boomers, these leisurely excursions provide opportunities to unwind, indulge in new adventures, and create lasting memories.

Shopping Channel

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What draws baby boomers to these channels? Firstly, it’s the infectious enthusiasm and apparent ease showcased in demonstrations of new gadgets, even for mundane tasks like peeling potatoes. Boomers frequently find themselves captivated by these presentations. Yet, there’s an additional allure – the appeal of special offers. The enticing promise of receiving two high-quality potato peelers and a free book on the health benefits of vegetables if you call within the next 30 minutes proves irresistible to many.


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While most Gen Zers have grown accustomed to the convenience of smartphones and may not recall the nostalgia of using a landline to chat with friends, for boomers, the trusty landline remains an integral part of their daily lives. Surprisingly, many boomers still maintain a landline at home despite the prevalence of cell phones. While we’re glued to our mobile devices, they’re shelling out up to $45 monthly for what seems obsolete to us. Yet, for them, it’s all about reliability and the peace of mind that comes with having a physical phone, particularly in times of emergency. ISP.Page reports that the prevalence of landlines in American households has steadily declined over the past decade, from 74% in 2010 to approximately 35% in 2021. This sharp decrease can be attributed to the surge in mobile phone usage and the growing popularity of internet-based communication platforms. Projections suggest that this downward trajectory will persist, with an estimated 25% of US households expected to still have landlines by 2023.

Writing Letters and Sending Them

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In today’s fast-paced digital world dominated by instant messaging and emails, the art of letter writing may need to be updated for younger individuals. However, for older generations, it holds immense significance as a personal and heartfelt means of communication. They carefully select each word, expressing their thoughts and emotions sincerely and intentionally. Sending letters via traditional mail adds an element of anticipation and excitement, akin to embarking on a wonderful journey. These tangible letters become cherished keepsakes, preserving memories and forging genuine connections that digital communication cannot replicate in the same meaningful manner.

Overpriced Alcohol

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Baby boomers are facing a concerning issue with alcohol consumption. They account for a significant portion of America’s population, representing 33%, yet consume a staggering 45% of the nation’s alcohol. The rehab center underscores the persistent risk boomers face despite increasing awareness of the dangers associated with drinking. Their permissive attitudes towards alcohol use leave them vulnerable to the development of alcohol addiction, highlighting the need for greater awareness and support for this demographic.

Snack Foods

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Baby boomers show a 20% higher likelihood of indulging in ready-to-eat snack foods than their offspring. This preference stems from their inclination towards avoiding the hassle of preparing elaborate meals, especially considering their increased instances of dining alone. When it comes to snacking, boomers tend to gravitate towards various options, including fruits, candies, potato chips, nuts, and yogurt, reflecting their diverse tastes and preferences in satisfying their cravings.


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Baby Boomers reminisce about a time before the convenience of Spotify or Apple Music when their musical world revolved around vinyl records and cassette tapes. Unlike today’s digital formats, these cherished relics required careful handling, with even the slightest scratch potentially rendering a favorite song unplayable. Navigating through tracks meant manually rewinding or fast-forwarding, adding a tactile element to the listening experience that starkly contrasts with the seamless convenience of modern streaming services.

Expensive Healthcare

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While Canadians benefit from universal healthcare, the situation in the United States poses greater challenges. The University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy delves into the ramifications of what it terms the “Baby Boomer Effect” on healthcare expenditures. With the Medicare-eligible population projected to reach 35.1 million by 2030, acute care expenses are anticipated to soar to approximately $259.8 billion annually. This presents a significant dilemma as many baby boomers have not prepared financially to cover their escalating healthcare expenses.

Health and Wellness Products

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Baby boomers are more willing than previous generations to invest in products to enhance their overall health and promote active lifestyles. Their substantial expenditures on health and wellness merchandise have significantly contributed to the robust sales of dietary supplements, reaching a staggering $109 billion in 2020. Projections indicate a continued growth of 5% through 2024, underscoring their commitment to prioritizing well-being and embracing measures to support their physical and mental vitality.

Common Brands

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Although baby boomers rank second in average debt among age groups, they exhibit a relatively relaxed attitude towards price concerns when purchasing at retail stores. Less than half of them express apprehension about costs. Boomers have established a sense of loyalty towards brands and retailers they trust, often opting to remain faithful to familiar names and establishments as they navigate through this stage.

Home Remodeling

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Baby boomers are spearheading a notable uptick in home remodeling endeavors, investing an average of over $22,000 into upgrades. With a focus on creating an ideal living space to “age in place,” their preferred enhancements encompass features such as heightened lighting, curbless showers, bathroom grab bars, non-slip flooring, and widened doorways. These modifications cater to their evolving needs and contribute to fostering a safer and more comfortable environment for aging gracefully within the familiarity of their own homes.

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