What Is Loud Budgeting and Is It for You?

Quick Answer

Loud budgeting is a TikTok trend where you prioritize your budget out loud. Instead of overspending or making up an excuse to skip going out with friends, you simply tell them you don’t have the budget to spend money.

Group of happy friends browse social media on a smartphone in a lively cafe.

The gang is getting together at a new bar downtown. Your problem: This week, you can afford maybe one-fifth of an $18 drink. Instead of making up a polite excuse, you tell your friends you won't be joining them because you don't have the budget.

When social pressure to spend feels like too much, loud budgeting may help. Loud budgeting is a TikTok trend that encourages people to speak up for their financial priorities. Instead of buying that Balenciaga bag or dutifully booking a hotel room for your friend's destination wedding, loud budgeting gives you permission—and social cover—to spend within your means.

What Is Loud Budgeting?

Loud budgeting started out as comedian and TikTok content creator Lukas Battle's answer to quiet luxury. The original post was a joke, but it struck a nerve with Gen Z and millennials who are struggling with credit card debt, student loan payments and lifestyle inflation fueled by social media.

"I think people feel a bit of relief," Battle said in an interview with CNBC. "There's a lot of pressure to spend, especially when you're seeing so many products being advertised all the time, or lifestyles that are not very attainable."

Loud budgeting takes some of the awkwardness out of opening up about money struggles. In a culture that's deeply uncomfortable talking about money—and a social media universe that celebrates consumerism and premium experiences—exercising restraint is not the norm. Since loud budgeting went viral early this year, scores of regular people and financial influencers have weighed in on social media with tips for saving money, learning more about personal finance and resisting social pressure gracefully (or at least humorously).

Examples of Loud Budgeting

So, where does loud budgeting intersect with real life? Let's go over how you might handle a few common scenarios.

  • Your friend asks if you want to meet up at a trendy spot for dinner. You respond by saying that you're trying not to spend money right now and suggest getting together next week or hanging out at your place instead.
  • An influencer you follow posts about a luxury product you just have to have. Ask yourself how a luxury purchase fits into your financial plan. Think about seeking out social media content that promotes sustainability: capsule wardrobes vs. endless outfits of the day. Consider using the money you save to finance life goals or pay down debt instead.
  • Your family is planning a reunion trip to Bora Bora. You don't want to miss out on seeing your family, so you raise the issue of affordability. Chances are, if Bora Bora isn't in your budget, it's out of reach for other family members as well.

In each of these examples, loud budgeting gets you to think twice before spending beyond your means. There's a social component too: By signaling that it's cool to care about your finances, you're helping to take the stigma out of being money-conscious.

Pros and Cons of Loud Budgeting

Is loud budgeting for you? On the plus side, there's little risk involved, though the benefits may be limited as well. At minimum, loud budgeting can help you think differently about your money—and possibly spend differently as well.

Pros of Loud Budgeting

  • Transparency: Acting like you never worry about money is exhausting. By opening up about your own financial challenges, you invite others to open up about theirs.
  • Freedom from FOMO: In a perfect world, we're all jetting off to Copenhagen in cashmere loungewear at the drop of a hat. In the real world, loud budgeting may help you prioritize the things that really matter to you so you don't inadvertently spend everything you have based on other people's priorities and the fear of missing out on the fun.
  • Financial self-awareness: It's not your imagination: Getting ahead financially is hard right now. Between inflation, high rents and the return of student loan payments, regular expenses are up. Credit card debt is rising, with credit card interest rates at record highs. Sticking to a financial plan is a first line of defense.

Cons of Loud Budgeting

  • Oversharing: Not everyone needs to hear about your budget or self-imposed financial restrictions. Some people may not feel comfortable hearing about other people's money issues; others simply aren't interested. In these cases, holding yourself accountable is the important thing.
  • Might not be the most diplomatic approach: Loud budgeting isn't always the right tactic. Instead of telling your sister you don't want to waste money on a bridesmaid dress for her wedding, try nudging her toward an inexpensive dress. Maybe ask your parents to chip in. You can resist peer pressure to overspend, but you still want to show up for the people you care about without causing them to feel guilty.
  • Narrow focus: Loud budgeting can be a springboard for a richer financial life if you use it as part of a larger plan. To have more impact, also review your regular expenses, consider refinancing credit card debt, create an emergency savings plan, maximize your retirement contributions and learn the basics of investing.

5 Ways to Practice Loud Budgeting

Loud budgeting is easy to implement. You don't need a formal plan or special permission; just look for ways to bring financial awareness to your social interactions.

  1. Share your financial priorities. While you don't have to delve into the fine details of your finances every time you decline a social invitation, you can say—out loud—that you're trying to spend less and mind your money.
  2. Seek out allies and accountability partners. Not everyone will jump on the budgeting bandwagon with you, but the friends and family members who do can make excellent allies and accountability partners. Share strategies for saving more and spending less. Post about your goals and let social media help keep you accountable.
  3. Forget the Joneses—and the Kardashians. So many lifestyle expectations are unrealistic, whether they're based on reality TV or your friends' social media feeds. Just because your colleague is having a second wine fridge installed doesn't mean you need one too.
  4. Find flexibility. If you really want to go out on the town with friends, look for ways to make that happen. Can you skip a few other social engagements to free up money for the big night? Can you raise a little capital by working a side hustle? The answer doesn't always have to be no.
  5. Know where the fun is. If you can't afford NBA tickets or an all-day spa package, expand your list of cheap entertainment options: fishing, taking a hike, watching the game at home, walking around at a local crafts fair or attending a free concert, for starters.

The Bottom Line

Loud budgeting may be a small change in the way you approach your finances, but small shifts can be significant. If it inspires you to set a budget and spend more consciously, that shift can be game-changing. And if sharing financial priorities with friends starts to raise our awareness as a culture, all the better.

While you're on a roll, consider opening a high-yield savings account for your emergency savings or sinking funds, or exploring balance transfer credit cards and personal loans that can lower the interest rates you pay on credit card balances. You can check your credit score and Experian credit report for free to get a sense of your options.