Loud budgeting gives you permission to say no to social engagements by saying you don’t have the money for it.
To put loud budgeting to work, you commit yourself and share that you’re doing it.
Loud budgeting lets you spend money on true priorities while skipping things that won’t really provide value.
Whether you’ve done a great job building a budget or haven’t even taken the first step to keep track of your spending, the social pressure to spend is real. Between wedding invites, friends going to expensive restaurants, and even people just going to brunch (seemingly every weekend, right?), it can feel like your social life is vacuuming money out of your account. How do you stay on budget when there’s so much pressure to spend money?
Enter “loud budgeting.” The idea is to help you push back on that pressure to spend by, well, just publicly admitting that you don’t want to spend. It’s not a short-term reset but a whole different way of thinking about money and feeling less guilty about saying no to get what you ultimately want. If you’re curious about the trend, keep reading to see how to put it to work for you.
What is loud budgeting?
Your friends are going out to brunch. You know that you’ve already spent too much this month. The loud budgeting trend means you decline the invite and tell your friends why. In the past, that was tough because talking about money was taboo. And you didn’t want to feel like the person who didn’t have as much money as your friends. Loud budgeting turns that idea on its head by taking the stigma out of saying you can’t afford to do something.
The trend appears to be starting with Gen Z and younger millennials on social media, but anyone can do it.
Putting loud budgeting to work
Loud budgeting can be a simple way to push back when you’ve spent too much. But it works best when it starts with a solid budget and a financial plan that helps you balance future goals with what you need for today. The idea isn’t to say no to everything, but loud budgeting should help you say no when needed.
This is where working with a financial advisor can really help. Your advisor can help you get clear about your goals and what it will take to reach them. This individual will help you balance what you need for the future with what you need to live the life you want today. That will give you a road map that helps you understand how much money you have to spend each month.
Then think about the money that you can spend each month and how you want to use it to do more of what’s important to you and less of what’s not. Loud budgeting lets you spend money on true priorities while giving you grace to skip things that won’t provide as much value to you. It looks different for every person because we each have different goals and different ways in which we spend money when we really shouldn’t.
For example, you might really want to get concert tickets with your friends. With loud budgeting, you might go ahead and buy them but explain to a friend why you aren’t joining them to shop for a new outfit to wear to the concert. The night of the concert, you might still eat at a restaurant but choose somewhere less expensive. You still get to enjoy the music and make fun posts about what you’re doing, but you’re not flexing about VIP tickets or hitting the hottest restaurant while wearing the latest luxury handbag. In fact, you’re doing the opposite; you’re celebrating the money you didn’t spend so that you can hit that savings goal for the vacation you’re dreaming about.
To put loud budgeting to work, you commit yourself and share that you’re thinking carefully about your money. Being really committed means knowing what you’re aiming for, whether that’s making student loan payments or saving toward an awesome summer trip to celebrate a birthday. Write down your priorities and occasionally look them over, maybe as a reminder in your phone that pops up around when you tend to overspend on a whim. Make a promise to yourself and talk it over with your significant other and the people you spend the most time with.
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Telling people is an important part of the process because they can help remind you about your intention. When you’re feeling lazy and want to order some food, hearing “I thought we were going to make pizza at home” might be the nudge you need to stay with your new intention. (Sometimes all it takes is that one look from your significant other.)
Loud budgeting might mean spending some time and energy to save some money—so you can achieve what really matters to you. If you need help, a Northwestern Mutual financial advisor can ask the right questions to help sharpen your goals and find what you might have overlooked. Once you achieve the first goal, you can feel great about it and move to the next.
How can loud budgeting help?
Loud budgeting is helpful because it’s a realistic way to achieve your goals. Talking about money can be awkward, but this trend gives you a way to bring it up. Explaining your goal helps your family and friends know what you’re up to, so they can support it (or at least understand where you’re coming from). Then, have a sentence or two ready to use when you’re tempted. Maybe what comes naturally is something like “Not this time ’cause I’m trying that loud budgeting thing.” You’re giving the real reason for your decision and not making such a “hard pass” that you never get invited again. Your friends might even re-think their choices, opting instead for a less expensive night in—hey, you just helped their budget goals, too!
Here are some of the advantages of loud budgeting:
- Loud budgeting makes it socially acceptable to say no and share the real reason behind your decision.
- It helps you focus your money on things that are truly important to you.
- Family, friends and coworkers can help support you when they know about your goals.
Loud budgeting takes a little extra effort, but the results will be worth it. You might even convince others to jump on the trend and make a lasting lifestyle change. Here’s to challenging ourselves to get loud about our budgets in 2024.
NM in the Media
Our advisors are spreading the word about the loud budgeting trend.
Wealth Management Advisor Brian Ford talks about prioritizing meaningful spending. Read
Financial Advisor Nikolina Cuca shares that the loud budgeting trend provides a sense of accountability. Read
Wealth Management Advisor Brian Ford explains that the loud budgeting trend can help every age group. Read