How Young People Are Spending Their Friends’ Money

Money transferred electronically from one person to another is more commonly spent on this good than any other. Find out what it is.

How Young People Are Spending Their Friends’ Money Photo (cc) by jseliger2

Money transferred electronically from one person to another is commonly spent on pizza.

Yes, pizza — at least according to data compiled by the app Venmo for CNN Money.

Venmo enables users to transfer money to people in the U.S. who have a phone number or email address, according to its website. The app is popular among members of the millennial generation, CNN reports.

One feature that differentiates Venmo from comparable services like PayPal is that it requires users to include a brief message when they send money. CNN reports that users often simply enter a so-called emoji in the message line.

These tiny symbols, commonly used in text messaging and on social media websites, are often representative of feelings. (Think of the round yellow smiley face or frowning face, for example.)

But the emojis most commonly sent in Venmo messages represent goods and services, which CNN reports is a reflection of users’ spending habits:

[Venmo] doesn’t share the actual dollar amounts of the transactions, but the emojis give some insight into what millennials spend money on when they are out with friends.

Nationwide, the pizza-slice emoji takes the lead.

State by state, the most common Venmo emojis from this summer include:

  • New York: Taxi
  • Los Angeles: Pizza
  • San Francisco: Pizza
  • Chicago: Pizza
  • Boston: Pizza
  • Philadelphia: Clinking beer glasses

Other popular emojis include the rent symbol and the knife-and-fork symbol.

This fall, the football symbol has also become popular in Chicago, Boston and Philly, reportedly in association with users paying each other for tickets, viewing parties and related events.

Which emoji do you think best represents your spending habits? We’d love to know — share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

Karla Bowsher
Karla Bowsher
I’m a freelance journalist and former newspaper reporter who has covered both personal and public finance. I've worked for a top 50 major metro daily and a community newspaper as well as ... More


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