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The Issue With “Girl Math” and the Correct Way to Justify Your Purchases

The Issue With Girl Math and the Correct Way to Justify Your Purchases

We’re all familiar with the moments of indecision that precede a significant purchase—those internal struggles where you eventually make the purchase regardless. Subsequently, you come up with reasons to justify the splurge, regardless of the impact on your bank account. This phenomenon, often referred to as “justifying,” has found a home on TikTok under the label “girl math.”

This viral TikTok trend involves helping women rationalize extravagant purchases and make financial decisions that defy traditional logic. For instance, one TikTok user argued that a bride spending $400 on hair extensions would eventually save her $40,000 in the long run. Another suggested that anything priced under $5 is virtually free, while someone claimed that exchanging a $68 item for a $58 one at Lululemon not only saved money but also allowed the remaining $10 to be spent on food. It’s an amusing trend if you understand it as a joke, but adopting this kind of thinking can have long-term financial consequences. Let’s explore this further.

Does “girl math” work?

Admittedly, “girl math” doesn’t add up logically, but it has become a TikTok sensation due to its relatability. We all aim to indulge without the accompanying guilt, yet this concept implies that women buy into financial stereotypes, which isn’t accurate. In reality, women are often more adept at managing money than men. Propagating this different narrative doesn’t benefit anyone.

Money doesn’t materialize from thin air, and we must face the reality that it must come from somewhere, primarily our bank accounts. There are genuine repercussions for consistent overspending and living beyond our means, and dismissing these consequences is counterproductive. While financial discussions might not be the most entertaining, we should prioritize open and honest conversations about our spending habits, making financial decisions that support, rather than hinder us.

Despite the initial appearance of glorifying overspending and the illusion that money is an unlimited resource, this trend does contain valuable financial advice. Life is meant to be enjoyed, and that includes occasional indulgence. By focusing on ways to splurge responsibly, our financial well-being will be all the better for it.

4 Ways to Justify Purchases Without Resorting to “Girl Math”

Assess Your Finances Before and After a Big Purchase:

When faced with a substantial purchase, take a moment to evaluate your financial situation. Understand how this purchase will impact your finances, savings, and monthly expenses. Listen to your instincts; if your gut tells you it’s a bad idea, it probably is. If you know you’ll be making a substantial purchase in the future, don’t wait to plan for it. Determine the cost of the splurge and adjust your budget accordingly before and after the purchase. If you veer off course and overspend, make necessary adjustments to get back on track toward your financial goals.

Prioritize Your Financial Goals:

Many people overspend due to a lack of clear financial goals. Determine what holds the most value for you, whether it’s buying a home, traveling, attending concerts, or other objectives. Consciously allocate your money toward goals that align with your values, allowing you to prepare for significant expenses in advance while saving more effectively.

Minimize Small Purchases:

Expenses under $5 may seem insignificant, but they can add up over time. To splurge without stressing, identify areas where you can reduce small, daily expenditures. For example, consider making coffee at home, bringing lunch to work, or exploring more affordable alternatives. Reducing such expenses not only helps you save money but also encourages more mindful spending habits. It can also help you control impulse and emotional spending.

Reward Yourself Appropriately:

Celebrating both small and large wins is essential, but it’s crucial to distinguish when a reward is warranted and when it isn’t. Small victories may call for a minor treat, while major milestones require more significant celebrations. Learn to differentiate between the two, acknowledging your achievements without unnecessary splurges. Appropriate rewards will be more beneficial for your finances in the long run.

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