Feeling some financial anxiety in the New Year? Enter, loud budgeting.

Picture this: you’re out to dinner with a friend who you know makes a lot more money than you do. When you open the menu, your heart sinks. There’s not an entree in sight that’s less than $35, and even a soup is going to run you $18. Then the waiter comes by with…oh God, is that an in-house sommelier? That’s it, you’re dropping $100 tonight, at the very least.

If you’ve been in this scenario (and let’s be real, who hasn’t) you probably left the dinner and vowed to subsist on dollar pizzas slices until payday to make up for it. But what if you just turned to your friend, closed the menu, and said, “Sorry, I have to be honest. I can’t afford this. Let’s go somewhere else?”

That’s the idea behind loud budgeting, a TikTok trend that could not only help its adherents financially, but actually could be both mentally and emotionally helpful when dealing with these sorts of stressful situations. In an age where it seems everyone is putting on a facade and flexing all the nice things they have for the ‘gram, it feels somewhat revolutionary to just tell the truth about what you can and can’t afford.

The term and concept was first introduced by TikTok comedian Lukas Battle as part of his 2024 in versus out list, in which he states that quiet luxury is out for 2023 and “loud budgeting” is in. In a follow-up TikTok, Battle explained his concept. Simply put, loud budgeting is being honest about what you do and don’t want to spend money on.

“Loud budgeting has the same feeling as sneaking candy into a movie theater,” he says in the video. “You feel like you got away with something.”

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Since his video, the concept has taken off among young people on TikTok, who are rightly pointing out that the trend has come at a significant time. Mainly, because everything right now is out-of-control expensive.

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At a time where inflation seems to be affecting the price of everything from haircuts to groceries, while wages continue to stagnate, it seems a lot of Gen Zers and Millennials are welcoming the chance to admit that it’s hard—and maybe even dumb to try to keep up with the Joneses. They’re sharing their own tips for saving money and changing their habits, from only doing dinner or drinks out (not both) to quitting $22 salads for lunch (or at least, cutting back).

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Battle told MarketWatch that he thinks why this trend is resonating with so many of his peers.

“I think this age group on TikTok is feeling the financial pressures of today’s world,” he said. “It started as a joke, but it struck a chord.”

It’s not just a TikTok thing though. Even those in the financial services industry are on board with the trend. Nikolina Cuca, a financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual, says that she’s seen social media add pressure to her clients to spend beyond their means on luxury items they can’t really afford, and welcomes a movement to mitigate that.



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