Loud Budgeting Is the Viral TikTok Trend That *Actually* Saves You Money

Finally, a TikTok trend is here that financial experts and therapists can get behind: Loud budgeting. Amid a sea of content encouraging us to buy more stuff we definitely donโ€™t need (see: the latest โ€œitโ€ water bottle to replace the reusable one you already have), the buzzy concept is, against all odds, actually making saving money cool.ย 

It all started late in 2023 when TikTok creator Lukas Battle declared โ€œquiet luxuryโ€ out for 2024 and โ€œloud budgetingโ€ in. In a follow-up video explaining the now-viral trend, he defined loud budgeting as โ€œthe opposite of quiet luxuryโ€โ€”and claimed that itโ€™s actually โ€œmore chic, more stylish, more of a flexโ€ since โ€œrich people hate spending money.โ€ In other words, rather than consuming more to follow the โ€œstealth wealthโ€ trend (or the TikTok home decor trend โ€œbookshelf wealthโ€), loud budgeting is about openly using your budget as a reason to spend lessโ€”so you can build, you know, actual wealth.

A major bonus? Financial therapists say loud budgeting could have a huge impact on our relationship with money and help ease financial anxiety. Below, financial planners and therapists share how loud budgeting can support your bottom line and your mental health, and how to actually put the concept into practice.

What is โ€œloud budgeting,โ€ and why are people doing it?

Simply put, loud budgeting is being vocal about your boundaries around spending, with the goal of better maintaining your budget and overall financial standing. โ€œSo itโ€™s like, if your friend texts you, โ€˜I want to hang out,โ€™ you say, โ€˜I don’t want to spend gas money on coming to you to hear you talk about your ex for three hours,โ€™โ€ says Battle, in the explainer video above. Sure, his example might be a bit harsh for comedic reliefโ€”you donโ€™t need to go that hard!โ€”but financial experts say the concept behind it is a sound money-saving method.

Why? In order to be loud about a budget, you need to, well, have a budget (which is always a good thing for your financial health). And that means doing an inventory of your spending to figure out where you do and donโ€™t want to be dropping coin, given your total take-home income. This kind of intentional spending allows you to do the things that are most aligned with your goals and (short- and long-term) priorities, says Jordan Gilberti, CFP, a certified financial planner at financial wellness platform Facet.

From there, being loud about where your spending limitations fall (maybe you feel good about spending on the nice dinner but not the weekend trip) can help you further fine-tune exactly what it is that fits in your budgetโ€”and keep you accountable. And hey, vocalizing your current money scenario doesnโ€™t just encourage others to let you off the hook for skipping plans; it might even remove the pressure others feel to keep up with spending or solicit some helpful money advice from those whoโ€™ve been in your shoes.

Loud budgeting can help normalize the fact that we all have different wants and needs and incomes and expensesโ€”and push back against this taboo that money is something youโ€™re not supposed to talk about, says financial therapist Lindsay Bryan-Podvin, LMSW, CFT-I, author of the Financial Anxiety Solution. And when money becomes a fair topic of conversation, so much of the stress we hold around it can dissipate.

How can loud budgeting help your mental health?

One of the primary sources of financial stress is feeling like you donโ€™t have control over your money or canโ€™t stick to your budget. And peer pressure can play a key role in that: In a 2023 survey of more than 1,000 adults conducted by Credit Karma, 36 percent of Gen Z and millennials said they were driven to overspend by a friend, causing a whopping 47 percent of Gen Z and 36 percent of millennials to consider ending these friendships altogether to avoid spending beyond their means.

โ€œ[With loud budgeting], you can focus on whatโ€™s best for you, rather than spending to keep up with others.โ€ โ€”Courtney Alev, consumer financial advocate at Credit Karma

Loud budgeting, however, empowers you to โ€œfocus on whatโ€™s best for you, rather than spending to keep up with others,โ€ says Courtney Alev, consumer financial advocate at Credit Karma. This way, you can better stay in control of your own financial decisions (and avoid mindless doom-spending on social media), while also keeping your friends, says Alev, which is always a good thing for your mental health, too.

By a different token, loud budgeting can also help remove some of the financial stress that comes with feeling โ€œlike money is something we have to do alone,โ€ says Bryan-Podvin. After all, talking openly about money and receiving social support can help to remove the unnecessary stigma, shame, and secrecy.

Thatโ€™s especially beneficial for those dealing with financial anxiety, which can make it hard to sleep, cause you to avoid social situations, and lead to many of the same physical symptoms that come with traditional anxiety, says Bryan-Podvin, like a racing heart, sweating, and aches and pains.

โ€œOur anxiety loves to catastrophize and jump to conclusions,โ€ says Bryan-Podvin. โ€œFor example, โ€˜If I tell my friends I canโ€™t afford to go to an Airbnb with them for the weekend, theyโ€™re going to cut me off,โ€™ or โ€˜Theyโ€™re going to say Iโ€™m dumb and broke.โ€™โ€ But just being upfront with your budget is likely to solicit a more neutral response (โ€œBummer, wish you could make it!โ€), which makes it easier for the brain to โ€œcreate new neural pathways that are more rooted in realism,โ€ she says. Over time, that can help make conversations about money and sticking to your budget far less anxiety-provoking.

What’s the best way to practice loud budgeting?

Real talk: Telling your friends youโ€™re going to have to pass on that concert theyโ€™ve been talking about for months,ย or maybe even breaking the news to your parents that you canโ€™t fly home for the holidays this year is a lot easier said than done. Hereโ€™s how to practice loud budgeting in a way that can help ease your stress around money, and even bring you closer to your family and friends in the process.

1. Be specificโ€”and vulnerableโ€”in your explanation

โ€œSorry I canโ€™t go out to dinner, Iโ€™ve got $7 a day to live on,โ€ Battle says in his first video about loud budgeting. You donโ€™t necessarily have to be so explicit about your numbers, but the financial experts say the key is to share a bit about the financial goal(s) motivating any decision to skip a particular expense, beyond โ€œI canโ€™t afford it.โ€

Maybe itโ€™s a simple, โ€œIโ€™d love to go out to dinner, but Iโ€™m saving for my trip to Spain later this year,โ€ Gilberti suggests. Or, if you feel close enough, maybe you say something like, โ€œFor the next three months, Iโ€™m really buckling down on social and entertainment expenses because Iโ€™m trying to pay off my credit card,โ€ Bryan-Podvin recommends.

It might feel scary the first time you do it, but being vulnerable and transparent can often help the other person feel closer to you, Bryan-Podvin says. And hey, it might even motivate them to start loud budgeting, too.

2. Offer up an alternative way to spend time together

If youโ€™re turning down a dinner out, be sure to suggest a free (e.g., going on a walk) or cheaper alternative (e.g., cooking a meal at home together) that does meet your budget so you still spend quality time with the people you care about, says Kendall Meade, CFP, CFT-I, certified financial planner and therapist at SoFi.

3. Stick to your truth (no matter how many times you have to say it)

Practice makes perfect. โ€œYou may find yourself having these conversations a few times over with certain friends and family members before they fully understand your financial boundaries, but make sure those around you who cause you to overspend recognize your limits,โ€ says Alev.

If that friend who tends to peer-pressure you (โ€œYou know, โ€˜Weโ€™re only young once!โ€™โ€) isnโ€™t accepting your answer, firmly push backโ€”and bring some receipts. That could sound something like, โ€œEvery time we go out, I spend at least $100, and thatโ€™s money I need to put toward my student loan debt right now,โ€ Bryan-Podvin says.

And if youโ€™re having trouble holding onto your conviction, try focusing on what you get to do with the money youโ€™re saving (an abundance mindset), rather than focusing on what you donโ€™t want to do or canโ€™t do (a scarcity mindset), says Gilberti. That might mean thinking about the big trip youโ€™re planning to take in a yearโ€ฆ or even the dream house that youโ€™re planning to buy in 10 years, rather than harping over the details of the menu at the restaurant where youโ€™ve just declined a dinner invite.

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