Loud Budgeting: Bringing Transparency to Everyday Money

by | Feb 16, 2024 | Finance

Times are changing and as a society, we’re bringing money into everyday conversation. After all, money isn’t a secret! Everyone has a finite amount at any given point. Except for a select few tech mogul billionaires, we all have to allocate our income to meet our needs. Let’s talk about it!  

TikTok Creator Lukas Battle coined the term “loud budgeting” to reference being transparent about your finances with others and making smarter decisions when spending and saving. At Milli, this represents what we’re all about – having money for the things that matter most.

Keep reading as we dig into the concept of loud budgeting and share some ideas on how you can put this into practice in your everyday life.  

What is Loud Budgeting? 

Talking about finances out loud can make money empowering, help us all build our financial savvy, and reframe our perspective about how we choose to use our money. This might look like declining an invitation that doesn’t fit with our financial priorities or suggesting an alternative budget-friendly option with no shame. Chances are, at least someone in your friend group or family will be relieved you spoke up!

In a world where overspending is often normalized, being transparent with your finances can be a powerful tool to reel in spending and build long-term financial security. Having open conversations about money with the people we care about can help us learn from one another and build accountability to work toward financial goals. 
If you’re looking to implement loud budgeting in your life, we’ve got some actionable tips for you coming right up. 

Image of a father and young son reviewing a dollar bill with a graphic icon of a pie chart representing loud budgeting

Savings Tips for Loud Budgeters 

Saving is the foundation of financial security, so let’s start with helpful savings tips: 

Pay Yourself First 

One of the most effective ways to make progress toward your financial goals is to make saving a non-negotiable part of your budget. It’s like that person you know who gets up at five in the morning to get their workout in before work or school, because they know if they wait until after, they’re more likely to skip the gym. (Maybe this is you!) You can show up for your financial health by making it a priority, like how people prioritize their physical health. 
Instead of saving whatever money is leftover at the end of the month, treat saving money as a fixed expense, just like paying bills or buying groceries. Set aside a portion of your income as soon as you get paid. Work through a budget to decide how much of your income is feasible to save, then stick to it!  
Automate this process if possible, so you’re not tempted to spend it. You could bump up your 401(k) retirement contribution at work, so the money goes straight to your retirement account. Or you can create a dedicated high-yield savings account and direct deposit a portion of your paycheck into it.  
If paying back debt is part of your financial picture, make sure to factor in debt repayments and saving for the future. Paying back debt can help you save money on interest, so it’s a part of paying yourself first! Research your loan terms and speak with a professional who can provide tailored recommendations for what balance of debt repayment and future savings will serve you best. 

Define Clear Savings Goals

It’s easier to stay on track with your finances when you have specific savings goals in mind.  You can have more than one goal and may actually find it helpful. You may save for a shorter-term goal, while also working toward a multi-year long goal. When you have multiple saving goals, you’ll build the discipline to save up for future purchases in advance.  

How do you know what savings goals to choose? The American Psychological Association published research that “people save more money when their goals fit their personality traits” and are more likely to reach their savings goals when they align with their personality. When you’re thinking about what to save for, think about what aligns with your values and motivations, and select something that resonates with that. Being authentic pays off!  

Set Incremental Goals

When taking on any large project, we often use the strategy to tackle them by breaking them down into smaller tasks to make it more manageable. You can do the same with a large savings goal, by breaking it down into incremental goals!  Here are four ways to break down a larger goal: 

  • Timeline – set a goal of hitting your savings target each month, then keep consistent for consecutive months 
  • Line item – set a goal for all the different line items of your larger goal, such as saving for different wedding vendors if you’re saving for a wedding 
  • Percentage – check in to see as you reach each 10% or 25% of your larger goal amount; acknowledging your progress is important!  
  • Dollar amount – depending on your goal amount, you could set incremental goals for anywhere from $100 to $10,000 – whatever makes sense for you 

Celebrate the Small Wins

When you’re working on any goal, celebrating the steps along the way can keep you on track. When you break down your savings targets into incremental goals, then achieve them, take time to acknowledge each milestone you reach. This can help reinforce the positive financial habits you’re building. 

Research from Harvard Business School found, “of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions during a workday, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work. And the more frequently people experience that sense of progress, the more likely they are to be creatively productive in the long run.” You can apply these findings to your savings by having a goal that is meaningful to you, then tracking your progress and using that as more motivation to keep saving.

If you have a trusted friend or family member who is also loud budgeting (or in support of it), share your wins with them. You’ll motivate each other thanks to built-in accountability. Getting a text from your friend saying, “I hit my savings goal this month!” makes it more encouraging to make choices that allow you to save in favor of spending.  

Cutting Back on Spending

The next part to loud budgeting is – you guessed it – cutting back on the spending portion of the equation. Here are some strategies to try! 

Resist Impulse Purchases

This one takes strength, but you can do it! Resist the urge to buy things on impulse. Being spontaneous in life can bring joy, but making purchases without consideration can leave you feeling unsatisfied later if you find you didn’t really need or want the item.  

Combat this tendency by implementing a “pause and reflect” rule before making any non-essential purchases. Consider whether the item in question aligns with your budget, needs, and financial goals. That new purse may be cute, golf balls may be a new fun color, or that multi-device charging station may be helpful in your life – but if you pause and reflect, you may realize you don’t really have an issue with your current belongings in the category.  

Another tip: avoid the places where you’re tempted to spend money on impulse. Make social plans in places that don’t involve shopping. Order your groceries and household items for pickup instead of browsing in store so you only buy what you need. This also goes for where you spend your time online – unfollow social media accounts that are purely dedicated to showcasing a brand’s new merchandise.

Image of a young woman shopping and considering purchasing a pink blouse. The image also has graphic icon of a sale tag on top.

Skip the Sales

It can feel great to score something for a deal, but sometimes a sale isn’t a good bargain! Sales are sometimes used to clear out excess inventory by offering items at a lower price, but sales can also be a pricing strategy that retailers use to entice shoppers.   

If you know for a fact that an item is selling for less than it usually does – such as a name brand item sold by multiple retailers – then it’s a true sale. If the item is something you really need, like replacing a worn-down item you already have, then a sale can be a way to spend a little less on something and stretch your budget.  

However, lots of brands set their own sales, meaning they can raise and lower pricing as they please. They may have something “on sale” that never actually sold for that price. This is especially relevant for purchases where pricing fluctuates – like airline tickets or hotel room stays. 

To avoid the temptation, unsubscribe from retail marketing emails to keep “sales” off your radar. Ultimately, what’s most important is how the price of the item, service, or experience aligns in your budget – not the potential savings from an item’s maximum selling price.

Own up to Opting Out

Socializing with friends and family doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag. Instead of automatically agreeing to costly outings, be intentional about your social plans. Skip events or activities that strain your budget, and be transparent about why! This is a chance to showcase your commitment to loud budgeting by sharing how you’re prioritizing your financial goals. Politely decline the invitation to that mediocre overpriced restaurant or your distant cousin’s destination wedding in Italy – you really won’t miss it, and your bank account will thank you. 

Modify the Plans to Fit the Budget

Opting out is great, but what if you actually want to go? The next best option is to modify the plans to fit your budget. Suggest more affordable options when making plans with friends and family. Whether it’s a picnic in the park, a potluck dinner at home, or a free community event, there are plenty of ways to enjoy quality time with your loved ones without overspending.

If it’s a specific event or destination that’s up for consideration rather than a flexible hangout, set a goal to go for a future year. You can tell your friends you’d love to go to the music festival with them next year, so you have time to save up.

Plan Ahead for Big Expenses

Planning ahead can help you stay on budget and keep your spending in check! Take a proactive approach with big ticket expenses. If a kitchen appliance is getting older, start saving before it totally conks out. If you want to take the family on vacation, work backward from what you can afford to save up before the trip. 
Then, bring in the loud budgeting by being transparent with others around your pre-planning. Model for your family that you’ve selected the summer vacation destination based on what’s in the family budget. If it comes up in conversation, share with your friends that you’re proactively saving for that upcoming home repair. By planning ahead and saving gradually, you can make the purchase happen and minimize stress, and set a great example for others by loud budgeting for it! 
If you need a place to set aside money for that upcoming purchase, create a Jar in Milli! Set a goal amount, an end date for when you need the money, and Milli will tell you how much you need to save regularly in the Jar to hit your goal.  

Consider the Interest or Return

When you’re making a purchase decision, it may seem like your only options are to buy the item or skip it. That makes it tempting to go ahead and buy it, because having a tangible thing can feel better than just seeing more numbers in your checking account. However, another alternative is to take the money you would have spent on the item and save or invest it. Calculating how much money you could have over time if you save or invest the same amount of money as the purchase price can make it more enticing to put the item back on the shelf and walk away! This reframes the decision from “buy or skip” to “buy or have double, triple or quadruple this amount of money in the future.”  

Of course, you shouldn’t feel compelled to purchase nothing just to save and invest every dollar possible. This is meant to be a helpful exercise when you’re considering purchasing something completely optional.  


With the era of loud budgeting, we’re being open and transparent with our loved ones about money-related decisions. By acknowledging our financial situations and discussing our spending, saving, debt repayments, and investing, we can equip ourselves with the proper lingo to address scenarios that involve money. Pushing past the discomfort can help you and your community learn from one another and stay accountable to reach your goals. 

If you’re looking for a bank that supports you loud budgeters, check out Milli! We’ve got helpful spending insights, automated savings features, a highly competitive annual percentage yield, and customizable Jars – all designed to help you save more for the things that matter most. Download Milli from the App Store or Google Play and sign up today. 

Keep reading on the Milli blog:

Fine Tune Your Finances: Intermediate Budgeting
Budgeting for Beginners (Just 3 Categories!)
How to Save $5,000 in One Year