Opinion

Can We Loud Budget Our Way Out of Luxury?

Keep the splurge at bay, this summer it's all about saving

Exactly halfway into 2024, now might just be the best time to revisit what had been predicted as the Ins and Outs for the year (really, why do these lists never have any follow-up?) Depending on whom you ask, however, it could also be the worst possible time, especially if those being asked have had (somewhat ambitious) New Year’s fitness resolutions yet to materialize.

In vaguely related news, maybe don’t ask me that either. *Sighs*

That being said, though, among the dozen or so such (generally obnoxious) listicles that have reared their heads in my corner of the Internet, perhaps the most delightfully random pertains to a certain Mr. Lukas Battle of TikTok, which reads:

  • Outs – Being shy in social situations, buying from the frozen section at Trader Joe’s, quiet luxury, and stealing oil from other nations. 
  • Ins – Being brave enough to ask the person in front of you in the bathroom line if they’ve knocked on the door already (quick note: they haven’t), growing your own food, and loud budgeting. Oh, and also cardigans.

One of the many reasons I love the Internet is that it chooses to look past the obvious fashion crime that is the cardigan (unless you happen to be Katie Holmes) and instead fixated on loud budgeting, Gen-Z’s latest mantra for spending.

Or not spending, to be more specific.

Don’t Spend More, It’s Recessioncore!

If you think about it, loud budgeting couldn’t be a more natural outcome to the state of affairs: it’s literally budgeting for better finances – and loudly, at that.

But its emergence has been in the making for quite some time now.

The viral reel by Lukas Battle

With the post-COVID economic downturn finally making its presence felt at the tail-end of 2022, a number of different micro-cores simultaneously cropped up across the social media landscape, from an all-around abandonment of logomania to the culture of thrifting and de-influencing among the TikTok crowd urging you—perhaps for the first time ever—not to buy that viral Stanley cup.

Or, for that matter, it’s a shady, dubiously quality-controlled dupe.

Thus, loud budgeting came around at an hour most opportune to the shifting dynamics of the luxury world and the broader consumer goods industry in general, with the “No-Buy January” challenge eventually making way for the year-round “No-Spend 2024” movement. As personal finance expert Jenny Park of @mohaewithjennypark recapitulates, “We all had this YOLO, seize-the-day mentality with money coming out of COVID. We did that for about a year and a half, and now reality is setting in. People are like, Wait, I need a sustainable way to continue living my life and pay my student loans. How do I manage this?”

Polenne Neiti Camel
Few contemporary labels have captured the zeitgeist like Polène

From Quiet Luxury to No Luxury

Now, it’s one thing to eschew the monogram in light of the impending recessionary gloom and doom of the new world order; it’s entirely another to keep dropping similar (or higher) sums of cash on logo-less, sometimes bland paraphernalia that, at the end of the day, still signal your potential purchasing power – or lack thereof.

And therein lies the primary distinction Battle makes in his viral TikTok, which has now received over 1.4 million views on the platform, necessitating the man to come up with a follow-up reel explaining what exactly he means by loud budgeting.

In Battle’s words, therefore, loud budgeting proclaims, “It’s not I don’t have enough; it’s I don’t want to spend,” comparable to the feeling of “sneaking candy in a movie theater. You feel like you got away with something… an adventure. You feel like you’re winning.” In real life, you’d probably be kicked out of said theater.

JW Pei Gabbi Bag
The rise of budget brands like JW Pei is another offshoot of recessioncore

But really, it’s all about making a choice – must you “invest” in that $10,000 grey couch (that your toddler will probably throw up on at some point) just because Kylie Jenner has said so? Battle thinks not, and clearly, neither do his legions of adherents – the penny-pinching average Joes who’ve had it with trying to keep up with the Kardashians. Maybe it’s time you quit that $21 Erewhon salad, too.

So, Does the Devil Not Wear Prada?

Clearly, the advent of loud budgeting has been as much a response—not to mention an audibly verbal one—to lifestyle inflation as it is to the general sense of luxury fatigue that has gripped many purse lovers in recent years.

MIU MIU SPRING 2024 Bags 16
I shall absolutely never tire of these Miu Miu runway photos

But where stealth wealth is predicated in the form of yet more consumables (The Row, Phoebe Philo, Ralph Lauren, Savette, Khaite, Totême – how many more such labels can you name?) for the consumer to consume, loud budgeting instead puts the reins of the finances into their hands – it’s a feeling as freeing as it is empowering.

And so, what we’ve been seeing is that in this economy, the devil doesn’t wear Prada; she wears Miu Miu, her elegantly disheveled bowler stuffed to the brim with newspapers, wedges for the lengthy walks home, and flats for the subway, maybe even a lunch pail or two thrown in for good measure. Or perhaps she wears contemporary labels – the Polénes and Cult Gaias of the world that infuse personality rather than blatant branding into her outfits.

Why? That is the same reason Warren Buffett owns a private jet and a decade-old sedan. Get yourself your dream bag – and use the s**t out of it. Everyone’s out to get your money; ultimately, it’s where you spend it that counts.

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Burro
Burro
22 days ago

What did I just read?

Megs Mahoney Dusil
Admin
Megs Mahoney Dusil
21 days ago
Reply to  Burro

I think the obsession with giving names to everything like “loud budget” is a bit silly at times, but the premise makes sense to me.

Post Covid, it felt like many felt the need to make up for lost time in spending – thru travel, shopping, and purchasing in general. Luxury prices rose as well and we found ourselves in a spot where it felt like the ‘majority’ were spending non-stop.

These movements, or trends, can be a bit funny but it also means to me that we stop and think about what we are buying, if it is what we truly want or need, and also trying to pause and be ok with not attempting to keep up with the Kardashians if you will.

Burro
Burro
21 days ago

The article is just very confusing, I have no idea what the author is saying.

CatJ
CatJ
20 days ago

This blog post is unintelligible at best. If you’re trying to make a statement about the economy, do your homework. The U.S. is not in a recession. Unemployment is low. Stock market is doing well, and as soon as interest rates go down, it will surge. Focusing on TikTok micro trends that disappear in a week tell us nothing, if that’s what this author is attempting to do with this word salad.

Paris
Paris
21 days ago

First, this may arguably be the most disjointed article I’ve ever read; secondly, “Pay my student loans”? Biden took care of that for a lot of people; I wish that was retroactive 15 years ago as I struggled, but succeeded as a single Mom of 3, to pay off my college/post graduate loans.

Eric
Eric
17 days ago

That Miu Miu Arcadie bag at the start of your manifesto retails for about $3600 and the shoulder bag at the end of it goes for about $4500. I don’t think you should keep using these as your poster-bags and reference brand for the loud budgeting movement.

Kathy
Kathy
9 days ago

This author should find a new blog to write for they don’t know anything about fashion and economic trends and it really shows in this article. Every time I find myself reading an article from this author it just ends in a dumbfounded haze of me realizing I just wasted time I won’t get back. SAVE YOUR TIME AND JUST SKIP IT