- “Quiet luxury” was the social media trend of 2023. Everyone wanted to look rich.
- But now, a rival concept is challenging the notion that expensive is cool.
- Welcome to the year of “loud budgeting.”
“Quiet luxury” is the latest buzzword in a social media landscape that promotes expensive looks and lifestyles, but there’s a new rival to it that is threatening to make cheap seem cool instead. It’s called “loud budgeting.”
The concept appears to have originated with a TikTok user named Lukas Battle who explained it to his viewers in December 2023.
He wasn’t explicit about his definition of “loud budgeting,” but suggested it involved being vocal with your friends about choosing to live frugally. “Sorry, can’t go out to dinner. I’ve got $7 a day to live on,” he said as he explained that he thinks the concept will be “in” for 2024.
Aspirational content is rife on social media, from fashion aesthetics like “old money” to the popularity of luxury skincare (even, it seems, among children). Such social media trends often glamorize lifestyles that look and feel high-end.
Instead of trying to look expensive, albeit in a subdued way, “loud budgeting” means being unashamed and, as the name suggests, loud, about living cheaply. And it seems it may be tapping into a desire to reframe attitudes towards money.
‘Loud budgeting’ is a way to push back against a culture of spending
In a conversation with Business Insider, Battle said he coined the term after realizing he needed to curtail his spending.
“I woke up and saw that I had a bar tab that I did not know was that big, and then I decided that this was the year of budgeting,” he said, explaining that the term can allow people to communicate their decision to save in a casual and funny way. “I just feel like there’s not a lot of language for people to use when they don’t want to spend money.”
Battle said on TikTok that loud budgeting was the opposite of “quiet luxury,” which blew up in 2023 after also being popular during the Great Recession. It encourages buying understated high-quality items — typically clothes — as opposed to obviously branded ones. But the goal is still to give off the vibe of spending a lot of money.
Battle said in one of his TikToks that he thought “loud budgeting” was “more chic” and impressive than “quiet luxury,” later adding that while quiet luxury is about “idolizing celebrities,” who are often associated with the trend, “loud budgeting is about the everyday person.”
“I think quiet luxury is unattainable,” Battle told BI, adding, “I think it makes people feel like they’re behind.”
Rather than trying to give off the appearance of wealth, Battle said he thinks “it’s really refreshing to be like, you know what, not spending money can be cool and stylish, because we all agree it can be.”
The idea is starting to catch on as people move away from glorifying spending
After Battle unveiled the concept on TikTok, other creators latched onto the idea, posting videos of their own about it. Some have praised the notion of being proud of one’s frugality, and others have offered suggestions on how to “loud budget” in 2024.
“Don’t be afraid to tell people that you don’t want to spend money on something because you’re trying to work on one of your savings goals,” said a TikTok user who goes by the name Libby Brooks.
Yuval Shuminer, the founder of the budget tracker app Piere, believes that as we enter into a new year, people are seeking reassurance about their decision to save.
In a statement shared with BI, she said that it can be easy for social media users to feel that being less extravagant with money “isn’t really living,” especially when confronted with aspirational lavish spending on social media.
While some data has shown consumers are encouraged to shop on social media, there has also been a string of buzzy trends recently that aim to challenge this, especially as the cost of living has become a topic of conversation online.
“De-influencing,” a term that originally described creators encouraging people not to buy viral products that are popular online, has evolved into discouraging overspending in general, and “overconsumption” has become villainized on TikTok.
More recently, users intentionally trying to reduce their spending popularized the idea of “no spend 2024” to try and hold themselves accountable online.
Now, it seems “loud budgeting” may go a step further, redefining success and coolness to mean saving your money, rather than spending it.