Loud Budgeting: How This Budget Technique Works

Social media is often blamed for encouraging consumers to spend beyond their means but a new trend on TikTok of all places is trying to change that reputation. In a December 2023 video sharing his in’s and out’s for 2024, TikTok user Lukas Battle shared one of his outs for 2024 was ‘quiet luxury,’ while declaring ‘loud budgeting’ is in. 

Now ‘loud budgeting’ has become the first viral financial trend of 2024. 

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, ‘loud budgeting’ is a budgeting technique in which individuals don’t shy away from sharing how they are being conscientious about what they are spending their money on, not only in real life but on social media as well. It’s a 180-degree change from the quiet luxury trend that emerged in 2023, which involved idolizing celebrities and flaunting luxury whenever possible, even at the detriment to your financial health and well-being.

In his TikTok video, Battle shared that an example of loud budgeting would be responding to the group chat that you can’t make it to dinner because you’re trying to pay off your student loan debt, not because you have to work late again. 

Another example is telling your friend you are not coming over because you don’t want to spend gas money driving to their house if they are going to talk about their ex for three hours. It may sound harsh to some, but for others, it may be a financial boundary that empowers them to make daily decisions that are better aligned with their short and long term money goals.

@lukasbattle

Replying to @operelly LOUD BUDGETING IS THE NEW 2024 trend

♬ original sound – Lukas Battle

There really are few rules when it comes to loud budgeting. As Battle explained, the whole point of this budgeting technique is to frame the idea of not spending money as a personal choice. “It’s not, ‘I don’t have enough,’” Battle explains. “It’s, ‘I don’t want to spend.’”

In other words, loud budgeting is more inspired by a “vibecession” instead of an actual recession.

Vibecession

As wealth management advisor Brian Ford from Northwestern Mutual explains it, loud budgeting encourages you to “publicly [proclaim] your budgeting efforts and being open about trying not to overspend.”

Financial peer pressure is very real, and can lead you to overspend as you attempt to keep pace with your peer group—but it can also have a positive effect. As Ford notes, saying “no” to an expensive dinner or a pricey vacation is much easier when your friends and family are aware of and onboard with your more frugal mentality.

Many of us have internalized shame and discomfort when it comes to “money talk,” Ford noted. 

Loud budgeting provides “people…a sense of camaraderie with their financial decisions,” he said. 

Battle agrees loud budgeting is more about empowering consumers, not a form of restrictive punishment. 

As Battle noted, so much of the messaging surrounding spending money is that doing so will bring you happiness, friendships, and even love. In other words, declining an invitation for a night out or a dinner can make someone feel deprived or even feel like an outsider far beyond the event. But with loud budgeting, consumers are empowered to say no to spending money without making them feel guilty or angry about their financial situation. 

Just say, “have you heard of loud budgeting? That’s what I’m doing this year,” Battle suggested.

The sheer fact that people are thinking critically about their spending is a huge step. So is publicly discussing it.

Julie O’Brien, SVP and head of behavioral science at U.S. Bank, says that loud budgeting can make people feel less alone and more empowered — especially in a world where social media can amplify one’s desire to keep up with the Joneses.

“They are saying there is no shame and guilt in their financial situation,” O’Brien says about loud budgeters. “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: How This Budget Technique Works

Loud Budgeting is not just for those on a debt payoff journey, rather it’s designed to help those who have trouble saying no to spending money to put their financial health at the front and center of their decision making process.

For example, it’s saying no to a new pair of boots in order to fund summer travel plans; it’s saying no to joining a trendy country club and instead using that money to fund your honeymoon; it’s saying no to delivery fees and other upcharges by picking up your takeout yourself.

Talking about money is notoriously awkward, but loud budgeting encourages you to embrace open and honest conversations when it comes to money. This, too, has a perk: Like with regular New Year’s resolutions, telling others about your commitment to saving money can increase accountability, making it more likely you’ll follow through.

“Many people can identify with having to prioritize essentials like food and housing over disposable expenses, and loud budgeting is giving people a community where making those difficult-but-responsible choices can be celebrated,” Ford says.

Moreover, opening up conversations about money, even just with your family and friends, allows all of us to learn from each other’s mistakes and make more informed financial decisions. And once you’ve adopted the loud budgeting mindset, you can aim for increased transparency around other taboo money topics like discussing how much money you make.

Money Talks

What makes loud budgeting different from other financial savings trends is that it involves a public commitment to your goals. 

“Having an open and honest dialogue with friends and family might sound difficult,” says Ford, “but you should never feel ashamed for sticking to your financial goals.” If someone in your life suggests spending money that you do not wish to, offer up an alternative solution to spending time together. Through loud budgeting, you can make it clear this is not about them, but rather about you sticking to your goals.

A big part of loud budgeting is being transparent about the reason you are saving. Ford advises it’s best to publicly identify specific goals you are trying to achieve for the year, “so that you can articulate your intentions clearly to others.”

If you’re someone who struggles in the face of temptation, it helps to prepare for situations where you know there’s likely to be financial peer pressure. Write yourself a tentative script so you know what to say in the moment—like, “I can’t afford that right now, what about [alternative solution]?”

The more transparent you are (aka the “louder” you are), the more likely you’ll be to hold yourself accountable, and the more your friends and family will come to understand what you’re trying to do, and hopefully even help you along the way through encouragement or keeping you accountable. That way, rather than feeling the pressure to spend, you’ll feel pressured to save.

Loud budgeting is not just about staying on track financially, it’s a way to “push back against corporations that have been jacking up prices in the past couple of years,” Battle said. Financial experts agree Battle is on to something here. If you want to do something to help cool inflation, try to buy less of the stuff that keeps soaring in price.

Although vowing to “be obnoxiously CHEAP” in 2024 definitely has merits, it comes with downsides.

Ben Markley, a personal finance educator and content creator for You Need A Budget (YNAB), gives the example of turning down a request from a friend to get drinks at a local bar. Maybe you’ll save a few bucks, but you risk alienating your friend and denying yourself some much-needed personal connection.

“Broadly being like ‘Anything that sounds expensive, I’m just gonna say no to’” isn’t quite the right approach here, Markley says. Instead of blindly following the loud budgeting trend, he suggests using it as an opportunity to ensure your spending/saving habits are aligned with your goals.

Using an app, spreadsheet or even just a note on your phone, write out what you’re hoping to accomplish, how much you think it’ll cost and how you plan to afford it. That way, the next time a friend asks you out for drinks, you can make an informed decision.

“That empowers [you] to say, ‘I’d like to do that, but I really want to go to Colorado next summer,’ or ‘I really want to get these student loans paid off,’” he adds. “It also empowers you to say, ‘Actually, yeah, I decided this was important to me. I made space for it with my money. And so now I can say yes with confidence.’”

What do you think  of loud budgeting? Will you use loud budgeting in 2024? Share your story with us in the comments below.

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