Understanding ‘loud budgeting,’ TikTok’s newest finance trend

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Move over “girl math” and “quiet luxury,” a new personal finance trend is taking off on TikTok.

Social media users are embracing “loud budgeting,” a concept that went viral after TikToker Lukas Battle mentioned it as something he’s starting in 2024.

Now, just three weeks into the year, #loudbudgeting has more than 10 million views on TikTok.

What is loud budgeting?

Much like the name implies, loud budgeting is a financial strategy that emphasizes being vocal about your expenses and financial situation. Financial accountability, if you will.

“It’s not ‘I don’t have enough,’ it’s ‘I don’t want to spend,'” said Battle in his video explanation. He describes it as “the opposite of quiet luxury,” referring to a social media trend last year that involved a more subtle expression of your wealth through high-quality products that didn’t feature logos. 

“[Loud budgeting] is all about talking about your personal finance and ensuring that you are advocating for yourself, especially in situations where sometimes you may not be an avid advocate,” said Zainab Williams, a certified financial planner with Elleverity Wealth Management. 

The concept is taking hold at a time when rising costs are top of mind for many Canadians. 

Canada’s annual inflation rate jumped to 3.4 per cent in Decemberaccording to data from Statistics Canada released earlier this month. Airfares, fuel, passenger vehicles and rent were some of the key contributors to the increase. The report also found that prices for food purchased from stores rose 4.7 per cent compared to the same time last year. 

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Loblaw to reinstate 50 per cent discount after ‘feedback’

After backlash from shoppers, Loblaw says it will return to discounting products by 50 per cent when they’re about to expire. The company said it ‘listened to the feedback from our customers and colleagues’ after revealing last week the discount would drop to 30 per cent.

And while the trend of tighter budgeting and meeting financial goals is resonating with a lot of young people as something new, for some, it’s an established way of life already. 

The philosophy is something that’s been a longtime habit for Reilly O’Connor, a Canadian content creator. O’Connor who’s also an early childhood educator, has multiple videos on social media describing what she calls a “realistic day in the life,” where she highlights things like budgeting and affording what she calls “basic living means.”

“We don’t get paid enough … so we just automatically have to make cuts and costs,” said O’Connor. 

Couponing, finding deals while grocery shopping, eating out at restaurants less and cancelling her gym membership are just some examples of budgeting O’Connor said she’s been vocal about on her TikTok. 

“I wanted to show a way that we can still live a happy life. Everybody has goals, but we can still be happy while we’re trying to make those goals,” she added. 

WATCH | Reilly O’Connor on a ‘realistic day in the life’: 

O’Connor said loud budgeting has not only led to concrete savings but has also been empowering for her. 

“The moment that you’re realistic and open about your financial status, the easier it gets and the less of a burden it’s going to be, and the less you’re going to feel yourself comparing yourself to others.”

“I think it’s really helped just keep me accountable,” she added. 

Williams agrees that loud budgeting can be empowering for some people. 

“The really great thing about social media is the fact that it exposes us to various ideas … whether it’s to advocate for ourselves, when it comes to our money, stories, whether it’s to understand the types of questions you need to be asking your financial adviser, or any tips and tricks on how you should be saving money,” she said.

But at the same time, social media trends like this can create a sense of pressure for some people to participate in something that might not be right for their situation, according to Williams.

“It’s really a matter of being really true to yourself, rather than getting into feeling pressured to behave in a certain manner.”

Finance trends and social media 

Loud budgeting isn’t the first finance-related trend to gain traction through social media. The aforementioned girl math and quiet luxury are both examples of social media trends centred around money. 

Someone is shown using a debit card machine to make a payment.
Couponing and going out for meals less are just some of the ways social media users are practising loud budgeting. (Bryan Eneas/CBC News)

O’Connor says outlets like TikTok have been helpful for how she manages her own finances. 

“It created a support system in a safe place on the internet where other people could share their tips and tricks as well.”

Participating in trends online, especially with your money, comes down to what you’re comfortable with, according to Williams. 

“Money is such a personal thing to us. It may trigger different types of emotions in us whether it’s shame, whether it’s a feeling of pride, because you’ve accomplished something.”

The most important thing is being smart about what you’re consuming online, according to Williams. 

“It’s important to check in and really evaluate what exactly you’re consuming and how that consumption is going to be impacting you down the line.”

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