Is there anything more awkward than feeling like you have to explain why you don’t want to drop money on a fancy dinner or vacation—especially when you’re trying to pay off debt or build up your savings?
In the thick of my debt payoff journey, I turned down a lot of people (and a lot of spending) to hit my money goals. I didn’t have a name for that approach at the time except for “It’s not in the budget.” But there’s a TikTok trend blowing up right now that’s helping us normalize talking about money in a real way. It’s called loud budgeting, and I think it’s just the thing to help you stay on track with your money goals.1 Yes!
So, what is loud budgeting anyway, and is it for you? Let’s talk about it.
What Does Loud Budgeting Mean?
Loud budgeting is a TikTok trend writer and comedian Lukas Battles started. He explained that loud budgeting is a way to say no when friends, family, Instagram influencers or whoever else invites (or pressures) you to spend money you don’t want to.
The loud budgeting movement is all about financial transparency. So whether you’re saving up an emergency fund or paying off debt—or, shoot, you just don’t want to spend your hard-earned cash on a new pair of Jordans even though that’s what all your friends are doing—loud budgeting gives you permission to say, “No thanks, I’m good.” I love that! You should never feel embarrassed or guilty about your boundaries when it comes to managing your money.
Loud budgeting is a TikTok trend writer and comedian Lukas Battles started. He explained that loud budgeting is a way to say no when friends, family, Instagram influencers or whoever else invites (or pressures) you to spend money you don’t want to. Taking control of your budget isn’t just about how you handle money. It’s a behavior change that also affects how you talk about money with people around you. Loud budgeting fits right in to this behavior change because it’s all about being vocal with your money boundaries. Check out the article linked in my bio for five practical ways to get started. #budgetingtips #loudbudgeting #accountability♬ original sound - Rachel Cruze
When my husband, Sam, and I decided over 10 years ago to take control of our money and pay off nearly half a million dollars in debt, we were merciless with our no. Say it with me: mer-ci-less. We made the hard decision to say no to things because we had a greater goal in mind. TikTok wasn’t around back then, but that’s a perfect example of loud budgeting. No fancy dinners, no luxe vacations, no shopping sprees (window shopping only) . . . And you know what? Sticking to our budget and our guns paid off. Within seven years, Sam and I paid off $460,000!
Now back to loud budgeting. How does it work?
How to Loud Budget
Taking control of your budget isn’t just about how you handle money. It’s a behavior change that also affects how you talk about money with people around you. Loud budgeting fits right in to this behavior change because it’s all about being vocal with your money boundaries. And being vocal doesn’t mean “explaining” yourself. Listen, you don’t have to waste conversation calories justifying why you’re not spending money—just tell ’em you’re not doing it.
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Also, loud budgeting isn’t about saying, “I don’t have the money to spend.” It’s about you taking ownership and saying, “I’m choosing not to spend.” And, guys, that’s the kind of empowerment that’s going to hold you accountable as you work on your money goals. Come on now! This is the energy we need!
But, Jade, what if my friends get mad when I tell them I don’t want to spend money on bottomless mimosa brunches every weekend this month?
Okay, hold up. First of all, it’s your money and no one else gets a say in what you spend it on! I’m proud of you for paying attention to your budget. Second of all, if your friends only hang around because of how you spend money, that ain’t a real friendship. Trust me—the real ones will stick around.
So, if you’ve got money and a plan for that money (ahem, that’s what I call a budget!), you can hop right on this loud budgeting trend. Here are five practical ways to get started:
1. Know your budget and money goals.
You can’t loud budget unless you have . . . a budget. Get started by tracking all your income and all your expenses for the month so you can see what kind of money you’re working with. You can use pen and paper, but I recommend the free EveryDollar app. It’ll give you a crystal clear picture of exactly where your money is going and what your money goals are.
2. Share your goals with who you want.
You don’t have to take to the internet and tell the whole world you’re loud budgeting. But if you don’t want to spend money to go along with your friends’ or family’s plans, you can let them know, “Hey, I’ve got a savings goal I’m working toward,” and let them down easy. As long as you’re kind when you say no, they shouldn’t take it as if you’re being defensive.
3. Be positive, but don’t dive into details.
Again, personal finance is personal. It’s nobody’s business how much money you have, how much you want to save or spend, or why you plan to save, spend or give it the way you want. But do stay positive and keep your response short and sweet.
4. Don’t get caught up in comparison.
Like I said earlier, when your friends are spending on fun things but you’re choosing not to—the FOMO gets real. And that’s okay. One more time for the people in the back: That’s okay! Loud budgeting is about owning your unique situation, not trying to keep up with the Joneses.
5. Suggest more affordable or free options.
So you’re saving money right now? Totally cool—you can spend your time instead. Get creative and think of ways to hang out with your friends and family that don’t involve spending a ton of money. You can grab half-price happy hour drinks instead of a late dinner and drinks, go for a cup of coffee instead of a shopping spree, or take a walk and bring your own snacks instead of buying tickets to a show. Quality time with your favorite people is priceless.
Who Is Loud Budgeting For?
Do you have money? Do you spend it, save it, give it away, and have goals for it? Then loud budgeting can work for you. It’s for anyone who wants to set better boundaries around how they use money, especially in social situations where spending is low-key expected.
Listen, if your cousin in Memphis invites you to Justin Timberlake’s upcoming concert, it’s entirely possible that you have plenty of money in your checking account to buy those tickets. But does that mean you have to—especially when you’re saving for a shiny new-to-you car? No! That’s where loud budgeting comes in clutch. You can politely tell your cousin no because you have other goals. That’s what this trend is all about.
What Are Examples of Loud Budgeting?
Here are some scenarios where you can put loud budgeting into action:
- Spending a night out with friends? Offer to get drinks or dinner, not both.
- Cuddling up with your boo for date night? Stream a movie at home instead of buying movie theater tickets and expensive snacks.
- Catching up with a coworker? Go for a walk and coffee instead of buying lunch.
- Spending quality time with your extended family? Visit a museum or local site on free community days or donation-based admittance days.
- Hosting a Bible study or book club? Throw a potluck at home instead of going to a restaurant.
- Eyeing your favorite artist’s new concert tour? Opt for the nosebleed seats instead of front-row tickets.
I’m willing to bet that if you pause a beat before agreeing to spend money, you can come up with other options that are affordable and probably more enjoyable.
Get Started on Your Budget Today
The cool thing about loud budgeting is that you’re in the driver’s seat. You set your spending limits and choose which opportunities you say yes or no to. And you might even inspire your friends and family to pay more attention to their money while you’re at it!
The more content you are with your money situation, and the more you speak up about what you can afford (or not), the more you’ll hit your goals. Come on, you’ve got this. And if you need a little help along the way, I want you to check out the free EveryDollar app. It’s what my husband and I use for our budget, and I know it can help you too. Try it out!
- Know your budget. List your income and expenses every month so you have a plan for your money. (I use the EveryDollar app!)
- If an experience or purchase doesn’t fit in your budget, suggest free or more affordable options.
- Be secure in your no. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable to rock the boat, but that’s exactly what will help you hit your money goals.