Feb 2, 2024 - Business

Gen Z fuels "loud budgeting" personal finance trend

Illustration of a piggy bank standing at a microphone.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Welcome to the era of "loud budgeting," where speaking up about saving money and not overspending is no longer taboo.

Why it matters: The new personal finance trend — born on TikTok — is a quick reversal from last year's social media fad of flaunting luxurious purchases.

What's happening: Loud budgeting encourages being vocal to family and friends when something doesn't fit into your budget and not caving to peer pressure.

  • Some people declare their budget goals in social media posts. Others communicate their budget parameters offline with friends before agreeing to go out to dinner or planning a trip together.

The big picture: The return of student loan payments, high credit card debt and inflation are fueling the trend, especially among members of Generation Z, born mid to late 1990s to 2000s.

  • Personal finance experts told Axios that the "no shame" approach is a positive trend they expect to last because of the empowering message it sends about setting boundaries and being in control.

By the numbers: 69% of Americans said they have financial regrets from 2023, according to a November survey of 2,098 adults by The Harris Poll on behalf of Credit Karma.

  • 53% of Americans said their financial situation worsened last year.
  • 31% said they regretted not saving money and 22% regretted overspending.

Loud budgeting trend

Zoom in: Comedian Lukas Battle introduced loud budgeting in a late December TikTok video viewed more than 1.5 million times with more than 177,000 likes.

  • "If you know any rich people, you know that they hate spending money. So it's almost more chic, more stylish, more of a flex," Battle said. "It's not 'I don't have enough,' it's 'I don't want to spend.'"

How it works: Bridal parties, skiing trips, summer vacations and pricey dinners are examples where loud budgeting is helping people voice concerns about spending beyond their means.

  • "It's any sort of any sort of group event where it's just out of line with your budget," Erica Sandberg, personal finance expert at CardRates.com, told Axios. "Before people may have been a little bit more willing to suck it up and to whip out their credit card. This is a retraction."
  • "For some people, it will be a lifelong way of dealing with finances, which is just really being willing to open up to people in your life," Sandberg said.

State of play: Loud budgeting has helped some young adults kick "delulu" — or delusional spending — and "doom spending" habits, said Courtney Alev, a consumer financial advocate at Credit Karma.

  • 27% of Americans admitted to spending to cope with stress in a Credit Karma survey of 1,004 adults.
  • "It's a positive spin on taking back some power over your wallet," Alev said of loud budgeting.

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