Personal finance

‘I don’t want to spend’: How a TikTok comedian’s call for ‘loud budgeting’ can help your wallet

Medium shot of smiling woman trying on sunglasses while shopping in boutique during vacation
Thomas Barwick | Digitalvision | Getty Images

Currently trending on TikTok: digital cameras, Jellycat plush toys and lip oils.

But the bigger trend? Not buying any of it.

“Loud budgeting,” which emphasizes being vocal about wanting to save money, is a contrast to last year’s quiet luxury trend, where people attempted to recreate the old money look. But the idea isn’t completely new: for the past few months, self-proclaimed de-influencers have been talking their followers out of buying certain viral products.

Writer and comedian Lukas Battle first posted about loud budgeting on his ins and outs list on TikTok in late December, declaring loud budgeting to be part of the “in” category for the new year. According to Battle, he came up with loud budgeting after spending too much during a night out.

“It’s not ‘I don’t have enough,’ it’s ‘I don’t want to spend,'” Battle explains in a video, which has received more than 1.4 million views and some 175,000 likes.

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Some ways Battle plans on loud budgeting include participating in Dry January, going grocery shopping instead of dining out and hanging out with friends during the day instead of going out at night. 

‘Everything is hyper-commercialized’

Lukas Battle
Credit: Steven Sierra

In an interview with CNBC, Battle noted that for him, the term loud budgeting started out as a joke. But he sees the very real financial consequences that influencers and TikTok trends like quiet luxury have, especially on younger consumers.

“I think that now, everything is hyper-commercialized,” Battle said. “I don’t think that anybody in our generation has a lack of control. I just think it’s in our face all the time.”

Sophia Bera Daigle, a certified financial planner and founder of Gen Y Planning, agreed, saying that nowadays, people are frequently exposed to celebrity purchases like a Chanel handbag that costs thousands of dollars. But what social media often lacks is nuance.

“There was this idea of keeping up with the Joneses,” said Daigle, a member of the CNBC Financial Advisor Council. “Now people are trying to keep up with celebrities. That’s just not sustainable.”

She points to high interest rates, higher prices and the return of student loan payments as other possible reasons for loud budgeting’s popularity. Nearly two-thirds, 62%, of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, according to LendingClub.

How to make the most of loud budgeting

Daigle has observed a lot of financial trends over the years, including extreme behavior like turning off the oven light to save on energy costs, a trick some frugal bloggers promoted a decade ago.

For loud budgeting to be effective rather than gimmicky, Daigle suggests that people focus on their financial priorities and practice moderation with their spending changes. 

To help stay on track, she recommends using a budgeting tool like YNAB, also known as You Need a Budget. Stash the money saved in a high-yield savings account so it’s working on your behalf. 

What she has seen so far seems promising.

“I think it’s really exciting to see a trend moving towards, ‘Hey, I could go out, but I’m not going to go out right now because this is what I value,'” Daigle said.

‘A different way to think about money’

Loud budgeting’s impact has begun to expand beyond social media.

When Battle shopped at Trader Joe’s recently, he was approached by a person who said he should be loud budgeting instead. After Houston-based marketer Taylor Busse saw Battle’s TikTok video on her For You feed, she told her boyfriend about loud budgeting and he similarly liked the concept.

“I think it’s awesome, chic and a different way to think about money,” Busse, 26, said. 

This year, Busse plans on thrifting instead of buying something new if there’s a style she likes on TikTok. And instead of spending hundreds with friends on dinner and drinks, Busse is thinking of inviting them over to her home.

Battle has leaned into the positive reaction to his TikToks, even joking that he’s practically an economist now. Ultimately, he hopes that by explaining that they’re loud budgeting, people can normalize not wanting to spend money in pursuit of achieving their financial goals.

“I think it’s all about financial autonomy,” Battle said.

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