ATLANTA - There’s a social media trend out there called "Girl Math." As most trends it started likely as fun; it went viral, and now there’s concern it’s telling young women that it’s cool to manage your budget this way.
First let’s let TikTok users explain #GirlMath.
"If you return something and the money gets put on a gift card, and then you spend the gift card later, also free. Girl Math," says one joking user.
Another young lady with a deep southern drawl expounds on that. "Here’s a list of things I believe because of girl math. Anything under $5 is practically free. Buying tickets to a game, event, or a concert in advance, makes it free the day of because you bought the tickets so long ago."
And there's this one, "Botox clearly counts as investment in my future self. Boutique gym classes are also an investment because $45 to get yelled at for an hour is actually less than $200 of therapy and I can’t do that every day."
OK, so it’s meant to be funny and these are just social media users revealing how in their heads sometimes they justify bad purchases. But we all do it from time to time, not just girls. It’s boys, men, and women. Everybody does this. This is why US credit card debt for the first time ever has hit one trillion dollars.
Yes, the economy has been hard for some, but Americans have been spending outrageously on things like Taylor Swift tickets. We’ve had passport backlogs in part because a record number of Americans charged overseas vacations. We like to complain about money, but in reality we don’t mind spending it.
So let’s hit on some bad math.
- If you spend $5 on coffee every day, that’s $1,825 you’ve spent a year on something you can make at home.
- A grilled chicken meal at a local fast food restaurant every day at lunch is $11.21. Annually, that is $4,091.65
- Let’s look at one more. Let’s say you spend monthly $125 on a cable TV option. The math show this is $1,500 a year.
- That’s a total of $7,416.65 for these three annual expenses. Just try cutting these in half. You could save $3,708.25. That’s huge!
Here is a helpful rule: 50-20-30. Fifty% of your budget goes to those firm costs like rent or mortgage, insurance, car payments, and food. Non-negotiable is 20% that goes straight to savings. Then what’s left - 30%- is for caching a movie, eating out, or maybe buying new clothes. That is good math we can all use.