Quiet Luxury Is Out. Loud Budgeting Is In.

saving is so 2024

loud budgeting: illustration of black person holding wallet with money flying out
nadia_bormotova/Getty Images

ICYMI: Last year was the year of quiet luxury, all thanks to a certain Roy family and Kendall’s $500 Loro Piana cashmere baseball cap. But honestly, even that “ludicrously capacious” $3,000 Burberry bag can feel like a stretch for those of us who are, sadly, not media moguls. However, after yet another year of tipflation, “buy now, pay later” and dealing with those pesky student loans, it seems the headwinds are changing and that frugality is actually trending for 2024. Let’s take a look at TikTok’s latest money trend, which is surprisingly attainable.  

Meet the Experts

  • Courtney Alev is a consumer financial advocate and associate director of product management at Credit Karma. Prior, she was a group product manager at Intuit-owned Mint. Before joining the workforce, Alev volunteered in the Peace Corps, working to increase the economic resilience of residents, especially women, in remote communities in Mozambique.
  • Sharon Fletcher is a financial advisor at Northwestern Mutual. She has over a decade of experience in the banking and retirement industry. Prior to her role at Northwestern Mutual, Fletcher was a vice president at Truist. She holds an MBA from Florida Southern College.

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First Thing’s First: People Are Buckling Down on Debt

According to WalletHub, the total consumer credit card debt has ballooned to $1.23 trillion, due, in part, to inflation and high interest rates. The company’s credit card debt survey revealed that nearly 60 percent of those surveyed reported having more debt than in 2023, and over 50 percent of respondents expected inflation to affect their debt in 2024.

However, the survey also indicated that debt management was top of mind. Over 80 percent shared that they would attempt to lower their interest rate and get out of debt this year. Coupled with the fact that last year we reported people were breaking up with friends who caused them to overspend, it makes sense that loud budgeting and frugality are in.

Enter: Loud Budgeting

So, what is loud budgeting? The concept took off in this viral TikTok video (above), in which creator Lukas Battle explains that “If you know any rich people, you know they hate spending money. It’s almost more chic, more stylish, more of a flex. Loud budgeting has the same feeling as sneaking candy into a movie theater. You feel like you got away with something. You feel like you’re coming out of the situation winning.”

Alev puts it like this: Loud budgeting helps you focus on what’s best for you and not spending to keep up with other people. “In a time where it has never been easier to mindlessly scroll social media and doom spend along the way, loud budgeting puts you in control of your financial decisions.”

But what about this concept is “loud”? Well, money is often a taboo subject, and while it may be common practice to have a budget, it has also historically been common practice to quietly ditch it for the sake of “keeping up with the Joneses.” (Or, quietly ditching those friends who are causing you to overspend.)

Loud budgeting, on the other hand, is about saying out loud—yes, sometimes even to other people—what you do and don’t want to spend money on. As Alev explains, “By saying, ‘I don’t want to spend,’ or ‘I don’t want/need these things,’ you’re making a deliberate choice based on what’s important to you, and you’re spending within your limits.”

Fletcher adds, “With the shift of saving and budgeting goals going from being more private to now being more public with loud budgeting, people can feel camaraderie with their financial decisions.”

So What Does Loud Budgeting Look Like in Practice?

Let’s say friends are planning a trip to the French Riviera, and someone has floated the idea of luxury hotels. Instead of either getting pressured into the spend or making up a lie, loud budgeting is simply saying, “This isn’t in my budget. Luxury hotels aren’t a priority for me, and I’d like to use my money elsewhere. Feel free to stay in that hotel; I’ll find accommodations nearby and we’ll meet up.”

Or perhaps you’re asked to chip in for a group gift, and the organizer is asking for an amount that’s more than your comfortable with. Your response: “This sounds like a great idea. Thanks for asking, but I’ve already put together a present for them, so I’m going to pass on the group gift.” This way, you control the amount you spend and you’re loud and clear about it.

Ultimately, loud budgeting is about confidently and securely communicating that the expenses in question aren’t a priority for you, and that you’ll be using the money elsewhere. And as for all that cash you’re now saving? We suggest plunking it in your retirement account.

MW 10

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I’ve covered the lifestyle space for the last three years after majoring in journalism (and minoring in French) at Boston University. Talk to me about all things sustainable &...