If the thought of talking about money sends shivers down your spine, you’re not alone - but a new trend is encouraging people to be more honest and open about their finances in order to make saving money more achievable.
"Loud budgeting" is a growing trend on TikTok that focuses on helping people save more money this year, as the cost of living crisis and inflation continues to impact the way we live and spend.
It comes as a new campaign by financial advice firm Cooper Associates Group and national relationship charity Relate highlights how taboos lead to a lack of communication around money, which affects everyone, especially women. It also revealed that fewer women (64%) are likely to understand their personal finances compared to men (74%).
But having honest conversations about our financial situations can lead to solutions. Recent research from Bumble found that there has been a rise in "low-key dates", which are dates with little to no costs involved, leading to less financial pressure.
The dating app also found that nearly one in three (30%) people say it’s now more important to talk about finances with the person they are dating or in a relationship, while one in 10% said they would talk about salary on the first few dates.
What the experts say
Like any trend, there are pros and cons to "loud budgeting". However, experts agree that, largely, being more outspoken about money and personal finance is beneficial to everyone.
Financial expert and co-founder of Nottingham-based accounting service Archimedia Accounts, Chris Demetrious, tells Yahoo UK: "Rather than hiding debt behind closed doors, young adults are now bravely sharing budget battles on social media. And you know what? I'm all for it!
"Money tensions are the number one cause of relationship rifts, after all. Having open conversations about money with those close to you can have significant benefits. From my experience working with clients, I've seen that financial transparency builds trust and understanding between partners or friends.
"When you're upfront about your income, assets, debts and goals, it prevents assumptions or tensions that can happen when money is a secret. Sharing the details of your financial situation also holds you mutually accountable."
Liz Hunter, director at Money Expert, adds that the trend helps break taboos around discussing money and provides a sense of community and support, particularly among young people who are facing financial challenges like getting on the housing ladder.
"Loud budgeting and discussing it openly amongst your friends or online helps you connect with others who feel the same way, allowing you to share tips or struggles and how you’re overcoming them, and receiving encouragement for reaching your goals," she says.
"Building this network can be invaluable for keeping you motivated and finding solutions to any problems."
In addition, the trend helps empower people to say "no" without guilt or shame. A lot of the time, we feel ashamed for not being able to afford going out for dinner or events, but being a loud budgeter can help dispel that.
"Openly communicating your budget helps you say no to anything that doesn’t align with your financial goals without feeling guilty or embarrassed about letting people down," Hunter adds. It also helps you stop comparing yourself to others and "break the comparison trap" that social media perpetuates by setting unrealistic expectations.
How to start talking about money
It might feel really uncomfortable, awkward or even boring to start discussing finances, but it can be very beneficial for all your relationships to do so.
Demtrious says: "Discussing money struggles or achievements openly removes the stigma, and may encourage others to be more comfortable managing their own finances. Of course, money matters need to be discussed sensitively without judgement.
"The right approach depends on each relationship, but regular sharing of financial statuses, with care for each other's situations, is conducive to trust and cooperation overall. In moderation, breaking the silence around money could benefit individuals and society in learning from each other."
Watch: Brits are taking shorter showers and cancelling subscriptions to save cash this year
If you’re keen to start chatting more about money, Hunter’s advice includes:
You need to be open and honest about your own financial situation, even if it’s difficult to acknowledge it.
"There is dignity and realism with these statements that makes you appear as a strong person who cares about managing their finances. Plus, you can offer some alternatives that won’t cost as much, which may be an even better option for everybody involved."
It’s important to be upfront and explain if you are struggling financially, which may mean setting and communicating some financial boundaries.
"If your group of friends or partner constantly wants to go out for expensive meals or go to lots of events, you could say you’ll do one small thing per month and one big event per year with everyone instead, to save money. This way, you’re managing expectations and they won’t keep asking you to go out."
No judgement zones
In the event where you are the one in your friend group who has more money, it’s important to be mindful of this and keep any chats about money judgement-free.
If you think a friend is struggling and worried about talking about money with you, Hunter suggests reaching out and asking them to do something with you that is free - even if it’s a cup of tea at yours.
"On the other hand, your friend is a friend for a reason and so is your partner. Chances are they won’t judge you if you can’t attend every event or keep up with their nights out due to financial issues.
"Everyone is on their own financial journey so try and be honest with them as soon as possible. You never know, they might even be able to help you out or offer advice you hadn’t thought about."
Read more about relationships:
One in five people have split up with their partner due to money misunderstandings (Yahoo Life UK, 5-min read)
Nearly two in five people in relationships admit to committing 'financial infidelity' (Yahoo Life UK, 2-min read)
Nearly half of British couples feel 'trapped' in relationships due to cost of living (Yahoo Life UK, 3-min read)