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What is loud budgeting?

Why ‘loud budgeting’ is more than a TikTok trend

Vanessa Tsai
Written by  Vanessa Tsai
5 min read
Updated: 23 Feb 2024

Move over, quiet luxury – loud budgeting is here to stay.

If you’ve been on social media in the past few months, you might’ve noticed one phenomenon making a lot of noise: ‘loud budgeting’.

What is loud budgeting, and where did it come from?

Loud budgeting is all about being upfront and transparent about what you’re willing and unwilling to spend your money on. It involves having honest discussions about your financial goals with your friends and family, which can help dispel the feelings of shame or discomfort often surrounding the topic of money.

The term was first coined by New York-based TikTok creator Lukas Battle. In a video posted on 30 December 2023, he said, “It’s not, ‘I don’t have enough,’ it’s ‘I don’t want to spend.’”

He explained that it was the direct inverse of 2023’s ‘quiet luxury’ trend, which focused on flaunting your unattainable wealth in an understated way. Instead, loud budgeting is eminently attainable, achievable, and aimed at your average joe.

One example he gave: “If your friend texts you, ‘I want to hang out,’ you say, ‘I don’t want to spend gas money on coming to you to hear you talk about your ex for three hours.’”

Though tongue-in-cheek, his overall message rang true – and clearly, his video resonated with many. Since it was posted on TikTok, it has been viewed over 1.5 million times, as well as making headlines in various news outlets and sparking discussion across the social media platform.

Woman with megaphone

FinTok and financial literacy

Loud budgeting’s meteoritic rise in popularity can be largely credited to the FinTok (‘Financial TikTok’) movement. As well as entertainment, TikTok is a surprisingly powerful source of financial education. According to Deloitte, one-quarter of 18-24 year olds get financial guidance from social media. Financial literacy isn’t part of the UK’s educational curriculum, and unless you were brought up in a financially savvy household, the majority of us are left to learn along the way as we enter adulthood.

As a result, the younger generations are increasingly turning to internet strangers and online resources for tips and advice. This is where spaces like FinTok come in. Using the video-hosting platform, people post personal finance and investment tips for others to see and share – all in the style of short-form, bite-sized content that’s synonymous with TikTok.

True, there are plenty of potential risks associated with shareable social media content. The financial and investment advice is unregulated, misinformation can easily spread, and there’s no protection for vulnerable people – who might be easily spurred on to make uninformed decisions about their money.

Ella Jukwey, money expert at MoneySuperMarket, says: "Social media can make understanding finance more accessible and interesting. However, the advice 'finfluencers' give isn’t always fact-checked. Be extremely wary of anything that sounds too good to be true and promises to make you rich overnight."

On the positive side, FinTok has made financial education more accessible and relatable than ever. People can now swipe through tips on their phone, building their bank of knowledge on the go. It’s also encouraged young people to think and talk about money – something that used to be confined firmly to the realm of ‘boring.’

"It’s good to learn about personal finance as money impacts us all, but don’t take any drastic action with your money because of what a finfluencer has said."
Ella Jukwey, money expert

Why does loud budgeting speak to us?

It’s not the first personal finance trend to be borne by FinTok. Other money hacks that have picked up traction in the past few years include cash stuffing, low-buy/no-buy years, Frugal February, and more.

Why do these tips and tricks resonate so much? It points to a wider generational shift in approaches to personal finance and, well, life in general.

Gen Z – those born between the years 1997 to 2012 – are tired of the ‘rise and grind’ mindset perpetuated in the 2000s and 2010s. Gone is the millennial #GirlBoss era that glamourised hustle culture and aggressively pursuing FIRE (‘Financial Independence, Retire Early’). Instead, Gen Z favour ‘soft living’: a way of life that encourages self-care, low stress, and good mental wellbeing.

This, in turn, has given rise to ‘soft saving’ – putting away less money into an uncertain future and more money into the present.

There’s no getting away from the fact that the ongoing economic climate is pretty bleak: the cost of living crisis, rising pension age and a gloomy housing market are just a few of the things to contend with. Back in October 2022, the annual rate of inflation reached 11.1%: a 41-year high. Though it’s eased a bit since then (at the time of writing, it currently stands at 4.2%), people are left to deal with the impact for years to come.

When aspirations like buying a house or retiring comfortably seem further out of reach than ever, it feels much better to divert savings to shorter-term goals.

This doesn’t necessarily mean blowing all your money on fun nights out (‘doom spending’, another Gen Z phenomenon, involves buying luxury goods and temporary pleasures to cope with the stress of the economy – which is a whole other story). Rather, loud budgeting is about refusing to spend on things you don’t care about and putting that money towards something you actually do.

With this shift in attitude comes a shift in the type of content people consume on social media. We’ve become disillusioned with scrolling through perfectly curated feeds that highlight glossy, inauthentic lives. Nowadays, an increasing number of people prefer content that offers practical, realistic steps to tackle financial goals and navigate the sky-high cost of living.

It’s now safe and socially acceptable to say ‘no’ to spending that’s beyond our budgets – in fact, it feels much more glamorous to sit back and watch your savings account grow.

The benefits of loud budgeting

You might roll your eyes that good ol’ fashioned ‘counting the pennies’ has been given a hip new makeover. Nevertheless, it’s positive to see phrases like “I don’t want to spend my money on that” becoming normalised in our collective vocabulary. And when loud budgeting is en vogue, it promotes being confident and unashamed in communicating your money resolutions to others.

What's more, being vocal about your budget invites others to join in the candid camaraderie. Navigating tough economic times can feel isolating, but loud budgeting lets you find other people who are in the exact same boat.

There’s no more stigma attached to admitting you can’t afford something. In fact, there’s now a safe space and sense of community to do so, with comments posted underneath the original TikTok video cheering it on: one user exclaims, “I AM OBSESSED WITH LOUD BUDGETING!! normalize being on a budget.”

Although it’s a TikTok trend at the moment, being frank about finances shouldn’t be a fleeting feeling. By having loud budgeting as a healthy habit, you can reclaim a sense of power over your financial situation – even when many factors are beyond your control.

How do I start the conversation about money?

With all the talk about loud budgeting, you might be wondering how to begin the dialogue.

Luckily, more and more people are joining the conversation these days. Our Money Talks campaign is all about opening up and talking about finances, which can help improve our mental health and mindset about money.

By having honest discussions about money, we can break the taboo, encourage one another through our financial journeys, and keep on track with our goals. Being loud and proud is in – and long may it continue that way.