Over the past few years, TikTok become the birthplace of buying trends, fueling beauty empires and water tumbler rebrands via hashtags and cleverly named movements encouraging users to spend and spend freely. Concepts like “Stealth Wealth,” “Quiet Luxury,” and the controversial “Girl Math” began as niche lifestyle labels on the app before graduating to the mainstream discourse, permitting us to live lavishly and teaching the everyday buyer how to mimic the casual affluence of the rich and famous. “Girl Math” gaslit us into guilt-free splurging, “Stealth Wealth” taught us how to spot the one percent, and “Quiet Luxury” gave us a roadmap for cosplaying as one of the Roy siblings on Succession.
But, as we recover from the financial shellshock of sky-high inflation rates, insurance premiums, housing costs, and avocado prices (!!!), the newest viral trend on TikTok has nothing to do with that keeping up with the Joneses mentality. Instead, it’s all about financial austerity.
In early January, comedian Lukas Battle recorded a video that has since surpassed a million views. In it, he coined the term “Loud Budgeting.” As Battle would later explain, “Loud Budgeting” is outwardly rejecting the pressures of consumerism to develop a healthier relationship with money. “It’s not, ‘I don’t have enough,’ it’s ‘I don’t want to spend,” Battle explained. “Sorry, can’t go out to dinner, I’ve got $7 a day to live on.”
Replying to @operelly LOUD BUDGETING IS THE NEW 2024 trend
What likely began as a joke has morphed into a movement amongst millennials and Gen Z users who receive more of their financial advice online than generations past. The phrase’s hashtag has racked up over 10 million views with users adapting the concept to fit their lifestyle needs and financial influencers weighing in on how to utilize the term to empower their savings mindset. And most agree, the practice actually works.
What Is Loud Budgeting?
Think of “Loud Budgeting” as more a mindset than a spreadsheet formula. In much the same way people broadcast their New Year’s resolutions and weight loss goals, “Loud Budgeting” is all about being vocal and proud of your money-saving priorities. It’s erasing the stigma that can sometimes accompany frugality by sharing your financial boundaries with friends and family on social media and in person.
“They are saying there is no shame and guilt in their financial situation,” Julie O’Brien, SVP and head of behavioral science at U.S. Bank, told DebtWave of people adopting the trend. “They are just saying, out loud, that healthy management of their money is something they value more than consumption and the curated, unrealistic ideals they see portrayed.”
“Loud Budgeting” can help people establish financial boundaries which might make it easier to forego spending that can drain a person’s financial goals — think a night out with friends for dinner and drinks at a new, expensive restaurant or exorbitant gift-giving at family celebrations. It’s not about penny-pinching or always canceling plans, but about setting limits you can live with and enjoying activities within those margins.
“In no way am I saying ‘skip the daily coffee and you’ll be rich,'” Battle told Buzzfeed. “It’s really just about not feeling pressured to spend money to appear a certain way. With inflation, high housing prices, and student loan payments restarting, I think being honest and realistic about money should be considered stylish and cool.”
How To Practice Loud Budgeting?
The easiest way to draw the line between “Loud Budgeting” and “being cheap” is to establish goals for your savings. We’re not saving money for the sake of saving money, we’re working towards something, whether it’s better investment opportunities, a longed-for vacation, or a first home. Jenny Park, a Brand Partnerships Lead at Linkedin who uses her TikTok channel to dole out financial advice said in a video that the trend’s biggest strength is how it can help people adjust their mindset when it comes to building a nest egg.
“If the idea of Loud Budgeting stresses you out because it makes you feel like you are being deprived or that you are living a life smaller than you deserve, this might resonate with you,” she begins in her post. “When I think about budgeting or living below my means, it’s really important to reframe and focus on how my future self is winning by making these decisions now as opposed to focusing on what I can’t get.”
“Loud Budgeting” is proudly making investments in your future self and there are plenty of ways, big and small, to do that. Setting up debt repayment plans via an avalanche or snowball method is a great way to pare down those absorbent interest payments on credit cards and student loans. Opening up a high-yield savings account and placing 10% of each paycheck into it each month guarantees you’re building on what you already have. A site like Rocket Money can comb through all of your subscriptions — even the ones you forgot about — to help you pinpoint which ones might be worth cutting in favor of an extra $10-$20 per month. Using a Robo-Advisor to help you navigate the Wild West of investment funds can prove a promising path to earning passive income — a term Wall Street execs love to toss around when sharing how they achieve their eight-figure lifestyles.
Ultimately, the key to “Loud Budgeting” is self-awareness — taking a hard look at your finances and identifying what’s necessary for you to live a joyful and fulfilled life. If weekly drinks with friends rate high on your priority list, maybe budget cuts can be made in how many times you eat out a month or what you’re spending on Amazon hauls. Similarly, if there’s an overseas trip you’ve been dreaming about, it’s okay to let friends know you’ll be skipping the next few brunch hangs to make a deposit in your travel funds. Most importantly, don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed that you’re using your hard-earned money as a tool to help you achieve a goal instead of engaging in the kind of impulse spending social media and our consumerist society often encourage.
“Being open and honest about your money situation should be normalized,” Battle told Good Morning America. “I think this age group is feeling the financial pressures of today’s world. [Loud Budgeting] started as a joke, but it’s struck a chord.”