The TikTok money trend that could save your finances this year

Fake 350 million pound notes hang from a "Magic Money Tree" outside the Houses of Parliament in London Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020
Fake 350 million pound notes hang from a "Magic Money Tree" outside the Houses of Parliament in London Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020 Copyright Matt Dunham/Copyright 2020 The AP. All rights reserved
By Indrabati Lahiri
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Loud budgeting could help savers stick to their financial goals, while increasing financial inclusion and lessening taboos around money.

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Saving money has never been more of a concern for most people, with inflation still uncomfortably high across Europe, and the cost of daily essentials rising rapidly. 

This has led to many having to cut back on luxuries and non-essential spending such as drinking and eating out, shopping, travel and personal care appointments.

However, the social pressure to do these things may still be present in a lot of cases, especially with social media still making it seem like everyone you know is living their best life. 

It might also be more uncomfortable and embarrassing to turn down friends and relatives for social gatherings and other activities you may not necessarily want to spend on.

Enter the latest TikTok craze: loud budgeting, which claims to allow you to take back control of your finances. 

Coined by comedian and writer Lukas Battle, loud budgeting took TikTok and other social media platforms by storm earlier this year. It’s all about being vocal, open and clear about having the money, but just not wanting to spend it.

Through this, not only do people manage to lessen taboos around discussing finances, but also set firm goals and boundaries for themselves.

“Being authentic and having boundaries around how we are spending our money, along with being able to communicate that message to the world around us, will lead to saving more money and paying off more debt,” said Alaina Fingal, owner of budgeting website The Organised Money, as reported by CNET Money.

However, it’s not about not going out at all, or rejecting every social invite. Rather, it’s about prioritising the ones you really want to accept, instead of the ones you feel peer-pressured to say yes to.

“There’s a lot of pressure to spend, especially when you are seeing so many products being advertised to you all the time, or lifestyles that aren’t very attainable,” Battle, reportedly told CNBC.

“Let’s send a message to corporations about the national inflation level. Let’s take a stand. It’s not ‘I don’t have enough.’ It’s ‘I don’t want to spend.’”

Why should you try loud budgeting?

Loud budgeting emphasises sharing financial goals and hopes openly and without hesitation with the people in your life. In a way, this also allows you to break free of societal expectations around finances and lifestyle and prioritise your own goals and needs.

As such, when one turns down a social engagement, you can give the exact reason why you’re choosing to save that money and what you would rather spend it on.

This can be smaller goals, like saving up for a special occasion or item, or bigger ones, such as a house or a luxurious holiday. It could also be prioritising other more important or pressing payments such as mortgages, student loans and other kinds of debt.

In doing so, it also encourages a sense of financial community and inclusion, by sharing and acknowledging that the majority of people have debt, are struggling with the cost of living, or prefer to stick to a budget for a variety of reasons. In this way, it also reduces social isolation and fear of missing out (FOMO).

Not only that, but this practice of being more open with finances as a society and community could also lead to more shared goals, as well as tips and plans to accomplish them. People could also find themselves being more supported by friends and family, while at the same time being more accountable towards themselves, thus more likely to stick to their budget.

On TikTok, influencers such as Jenny Park (@mohaewithjennypark) and Shanna Miller (@shannatravels) are just a few to share their budgeting tips, which include maximising retirement savings and dupe travel destinations - supposedly lower-budget, less-crowded destination duplicates.

Tips to practice loud budgeting

Loud budgeting can help you manage everything from student loan payments to paying your taxes and credit card bills. As such, there are several ways to practice it, such as suggesting meeting friends for coffee or an alcohol-free meal, to save money on drinking.

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Several people also opt for more budget-friendly meetups which don’t involve expensive restaurants, such as picnics, or a walk in the park. Travel destination dupes are another very popular way that people are still enjoying travel but not spending so much on touristy locations.

When it comes to families, loud budgeting can be practised at an early stage, by installing healthy financial habits and values in children while young. Clear savings goals, both individually and as a family can also help, as can documenting your expenses either in a notebook or an app, to keep track of outgoings.

Bringing your own lunch to work, as well as going for supermarket brands, or planning outings around happy hours can all be little ways to meet your financial goals.

However, it’s important not to deprive yourself of social occasions too much, which can lead to isolation and poor motivation, and could even see you falling off the bandwagon early.

It’s also important to avoid oversharing details of your personal finances, such as how much you make, or how much you have in savings. Likewise, try not to compare yourself to other people’s goals and progress.

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How can social media harm your finances?

According to a study by personal finance company SoFi, across 1,000 people, 74% of respondents revealed that they purchased something they saw on Instagram, TikTok or Facebook in 2022. This was a leap from only 40% of people back in 2017.

Furthermore, 56% of people admitted that more than half of their online buys were impulsive, with millennials clocking in as the most impulsive shopping group when it came to online purchases.

On the other hand, 12% of Gen Z respondents said that they never buy something impulsively online, whereas 10% of boomers said the same.

Social media can be very helpful on your loud budgeting journey, especially through several challenges, such as the “eating-in” challenge, which cuts back on pricey restaurant bills. 

Other savings challenges and tips such as the 52-week challenge - where you save one euro for the first week and cumulatively add another euro every week for the rest of the year - or cash stuffing - where you set aside cash in envelopes for different spending categories - are also freely shared.

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However, in a lot of cases, social media may be the reason people’s finances have been stretched to breaking point in the first place, leading to tighter budgets. Sometimes drawing a boundary around finances, through loud budgeting, could also feel like the only option you have left, after overspending online.

“When opening Instagram and routinely seeing photos of that friend who travels to Europe every month, or near daily dinners in $100 (€91.81) per person downtown restaurants, it can become easy to feel that doing the opposite, putting more into savings for a single annual vacation, isn’t really ‘living’”, Yuval Shuminer, the CEO of budgeting app Piere, reportedly told CNBC.

This feeling of inadequacy and fear of missing out has also become worse through lifestyle trends such as quiet luxury, or viral products such as Stanley cups. Social media influence can also extend to dictating the kind of furniture, home decor, vacations or clothing you should have.

Due to this influence touching so many different aspects of our lives, it can be much harder to know where to draw the line.

However, ultimately, it all comes down to making sacrifices today for a better tomorrow, which millennials and Gen Z people seem to be warming up to nowadays. 

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This has also led to a paradigm shift in the most popular personal finance content in recent years being tips to save money and budget, rather than how to make quick money.

Disclaimer: This information does not constitute financial advice, always do your own research on top to ensure it's right for your specific circumstances. Also remember, we are a journalistic website and aim to provide the best guides, tips and advice from experts. If you rely on the information on this page, then you do so entirely at your own risk.

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