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The new ‘loud budgeting’ trend is so smart—especially for families

woman budgeting at home - loud budgeting
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We’re only a few weeks into 2024, and quiet luxury has already been ousted for a new (and honestly, much more practical) financial trend: loud budgeting.

TikToker Lukas Battle coined the term and explained its concept at the end of 2023 in a TikTok with more than 1.4 million views as of January 17. “It’s not ‘I don’t have enough,’ it’s ‘I don’t want to spend,’” he explained in the viral video. “Let’s send a message to corporations about the national inflation level. Let’s take a stand.”

What is loud budgeting?

Where quiet luxury was a way for rich people to subtly show off their wealth, loud budgeting is all about prioritizing financial goals and vocalizing your frugal-by-choice lifestyle. This can look like declining a destination wedding invitation or dyeing your own hair, and being honest with others about the reason behind your decision. As Battle put it in another viral TikTok: “‘Sorry, I can’t go out to dinner—I’ve got $7 a day to live on.’”

“While quiet luxury is about idolizing celebrities, loud budgeting is about the everyday person,” Battle declared. Simply put, it champions the idea of being transparent about the importance of your financial goals, which is not only empowering but also holds you accountable when it comes to accomplishing your objective.

“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,” Brian Ford, a Northwestern Mutual wealth management advisor, told Money.

“Prioritizing savings and doing it proudly seems like a great idea,” Elizabeth Schwab, Program Chair of the Behavioral Economics and Business Psychology Divisions at The Chicago School, told CNBC. “It de-stigmatizes what many Americans are feeling and experiencing.”

How can loud budgeting help family spending?

Loud budgeting is a new trend, but it’s something a lot of families are already doing. It might look less like declining bougie brunch with friends (because let’s be real, most of us parents aren’t doing that often anyway) and more like buying kids gear secondhand or meal-planning to cut down on the cost of groceries, but the mindset is the same. And as the strategy catches on, it can be a great way for parents to build much-needed community and feel less alone in their money-saving journeys.

“The strategy lies in finding someone trustworthy to share your financial journey with, providing a mix of support, accountability and motivation,” said Shawna Martin, CEO of Seedling Coach, told CNET.

The estimated cost to raise a child from birth to 17 years old is $233,610, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, so parents know all about budgeting and savings. Chances are your friends with kids will be onboard with going on thrift store hunts and scheduling playdates at parks or houses instead of expensive outings.

Does loud budgeting work?

The concept of loud budgeting is so new that it’s too early to tell if its implications will be positive or negative. In theory, it’s a brilliant strategy; however, those who take it too far could risk missing out on meaningful social experiences out of principle.

“Broadly being like ‘Anything that sounds expensive, I’m just gonna say no to’ isn’t quite the right approach here,” Ben Markley, a personal finance educator and content creator for YNAB pointed out to Money. Instead, he advised using an app, spreadsheet, or word document to write down your goals and devise a plan on how to best reach them. That way, when something costly comes up you can make an informed decision on whether to say yes or pass.

“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,’” Markley added. “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.’”

If you’re having a tough time deciding, you can tailor your experiences based on your budget. For instance, go out to dinner but don’t order drinks. “Declining all of those social invites eventually takes its toll on us socially and emotionally,” Schwab noted to CNBC.

As a parent, this point holds extra weight. We are so often deprived of quality interaction with friends and don’t need an extra reason to feel guilty for going out (especially without our kids). While being bold about our budgeting can do wonders for our pocketbook, we need to be mindful of our mental health as well. So mama, if it’s important to you, do those drinks! Take that spa day! You can be mindful in your spending and also make room for the things that bring you joy.

If loud budgeting sounds like the perfect opportunity to get your family’s finances organized, Motherly compiled a list of five free budgeting apps.