It’s No Joke: Loud Budgeting Takes Aim at Money Shame



Money talks, so the saying goes, but rarely is it considered appropriate to talk about money. Whether it is among friends, family or between colleagues, discussion of personal finances has long been taboo, leaving many to experience what is referred to as money shame. That is, the feelings of embarrassment or shame which result from experiencing common money issues, like increased debt and limited budgets, or feeling as though one is unable to keep up financially with their peers as well as, conversely, exceeding the means of their peers. According to Forbes, the prevailing attitude of money as a means of status and power leads to upward comparisons, which only further fuels the cycle of shame, and even financial mistakes1 spirals of money shame leave many feeling isolated, but the reality is that American credit card debt hit a record $1 trillion in the final quarter of 2023, CNBC reports2. Moreover, these financial woes are felt across a range of households, including those raking in over six-figures a year, over half of which report living paycheck to paycheck. All this to say, for those feeling the strain: you are not alone.  

In fact, a different kind of trend is turning the status quo on its head by encouraging us all to declare our financial status loudly and proudly, especially when budgets are tight. When TikTok creator and comedian Lukas Battles rejected the quiet luxury trend, which encourages flaunting understated, but still very expensive markers of wealth, by suggesting “loud budgeting” as an alternative, he told CNN, “It started as a joke, But then when I kind of saw the response it was getting, I kind of got behind my own idea more. Having financial autonomy and being confident and kind of being transparent about your money situation can be just as cool as flexing it and trying to buy all these expensive items.” Battles added that loud budgeting empowers people to stop feeling compelled to spend money by making conversations around money less awkward3

It is important, however, to not get it twisted. Battles is very clear in his definition of the phrase. Loud budgeting is not an expression of “I don’t have enough” money, but a declaration of “I don’t want to spend” my money. While the concept itself is nothing new, Forbes reports loud budgeting introduces emotional literacy to money conversations, which is far less common. For example, just by openly discussing budgetary constraints among one’s inner circle, it encourages others to do the same while also reducing peer pressure, increasing financial awareness and building a more supportive social circle4. In short, it is all about boundaries and holding yourself accountable rather than casting judgement on others. Likewise, as you ask others to respect your financial boundaries, it is just as important to recognize that not everyone is ready to be out and proud with their finances. It is important to feel out those in your expanded social circle without the expectation of reciprocity and to respect their personal decision not to share4.  

As people get real about their finances on social media, financial experts are invested in transforming this social media trend into an enduring habit. One way to do this, according to Andrea Woroch, a personal finance writer and consumer saving expert that has appeared on shows such as Good Morning America is to get an accountability partner. “Is there someone else you know who recently proclaimed their loud budgeting efforts on social media or in your circle of friends?” Woroch recently told Nerd Wallet. “Reach out to share your goals and support each other by holding each other accountable with monthly check-ins or texts when you're feeling like spending5.” 

Woroch’s other tips for making loud budgeting a habit? Wield the power of unsubscribing. “The most simple way to dodge temptations is to get off the list by unsubscribing from emails, opting out of text alerts, turning off push notifications in retail apps and unfollowing brands on social.” She further suggests removing payment information stored online to create a payment hurdle which can help shoppers pause to think twice about impulse purchase decisions6.  

Is loud budgeting making a difference in your life? Share your best loud budgeting tips and trick for turning this trend into a habit with @MICPA on Facebook, LinkedIn or X

  1. Whysel, Brett. “The Money Taboo: What Can We Do About It?Forbes. 18 Feb. 2020. Accessed on 11 Mar. 2024.
  2. Dickler, Jessica. “Credit Card Balances Spiked in the Third Quarter…CNBC. 7 Nov. 2023. Accessed 11 Mar. 2024.
  3. Yurkevich, Vanessa. “Loud Budgeting Is in, Quiet Luxury Is Out…CNN. 5 Feb. 2024. Accessed on 11 Mar. 2024.
  4. Joy, Bernadette. “3 Ways Loud Budgeting Is Good for Your Money…Forbes. 14 Feb. 2024. Accessed on 11 Mar. 2024.
  5. Curtis, Tiffany. “4 Ways to Make ‘Loud Budgeting’ a Habit.Nerd Wallet. 13 Feb. 2024. Accesssed on 11 Mar. 2024. 
  6. Dickler, Jessica. “Loud Budgeting Is Having a Moment…CNBC. 7 Feb. 2024. Accessed on 11 Mar. 2024.


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