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Girl Math: Justifying Spending Habits or Reinforcing Stereotypes?

Girl Math: Justifying Spending Habits or Reinforcing Stereotypes?

Girl Math: Justifying Spending Habits or Reinforcing Stereotypes?

By now I assume you’ve heard the term, ‘girl math’. If not, let me tell you that the term, ‘girl math’ started in New Zealand where the host created a segment to help female listeners justify pricey purchases. The trend started when the host was helping a caller justify a $5,600 purchase of Taylor Swift concert tickets (plus accommodations, airfare, food, merch, etc.) in Sydney, Australia. Long story short, ‘girl math’ is women finding ways to justify their money habits and spending choices. There is no mathematical sense to the term. 

Understanding the Concept of Girl Math

It represents the mental accounting that we all do. For example, buying anything less than $5 isn’t real money because it’s changing. I don’t know about you but lately, my TikTok feed has been filled with women getting on the bandwagon and talking about their version of ‘girl math’. 

Some examples are you’re losing money if you don’t purchase something when it’s on sale, or you’re losing money if you don’t spend enough to qualify for free shipping. You’re making money when you skip your daily soda or coffee. Anything in your Venmo or Apple Wallet that isn’t immediately spent is free money. My personal favorite is if you return an item and you get store credit or a gift card, it’s free money. 

I will be the first to admit that I always do this kind of stuff in my head. Because everyone does this, of course, it’s become a trend. It’s so relatable and, honestly, we’re all just doing our best. It’s how we justify spending because we want to live our lives and still do fun things without feeling guilty about spending money to have a good time. 

I think the whole goal of this trend is to help women not stress about money, but it’s done in a very unconventional way. I’m still supportive of all women, but I am talking about money and spending, especially when it comes to ‘girl math’. This trend has helped put things in perspective like small purchases that make you happy aren’t going to make a huge difference in your daily life. Like that coffee every day or trip to Target’s dollar section. 

When we stop beating ourselves up over the little things, we will become more intentional with our spending. I believe the trend has gotten out of control in some parts and has become part of the YOLO (you only live once) lifestyle. You are making choices today not thinking about how they will impact you in the future

Balancing Budgeting and Empowerment in Women Finance

I believe that the ‘girl math’ trend is dismissing the idea that we don’t need to take finances seriously and that money isn’t something we can ignore. We have to be aware of all the moving parts that come with making large purchases, and when we don’t look past the price tag and think about the consequences of overspending, we risk not knowing how to manage our finances. 

I believe the ‘girl math’ trend tells women to pretend money isn’t there. That it doesn’t exist. It’s trendy to act like money isn’t there but rather it just appears out of thin air. Not to mention that the ‘math’ in ‘girl math’ isn’t even there. When we are in this mindset, we can end up causing terrible financial issues for ourselves in the future. I know we all logically know that money doesn’t grow on trees. But it’s the justification for spending money. It adds this layer of “Well if she’s doing it then why can’t I?” or “I think the same way so it must be true”. 

Let’s not forget that the ‘girl math’ trend perpetuates the notion that women aren’t good with money. Which reinforces a stereotype that women have worked so hard to overcome. I mean it’s taken us decades to start seeing wealthy women globally. This is what makes me so upset because we’ve been cracking this glass ceiling only to have ‘girl math’ come in and disempower women. 

There are other ways to justify our spending habits and not feel guilty about them, and we can do it without ‘girl math’. We can be intentional with our purchases. Check in on your finances and look at them. What do you have for savings? What are some of your financial goals that you are working toward? Have you even listed your financial goals? Where is your money going and what are your recurring expenses? 

Remember that one decision can impact other areas of your life years down the line like purchasing a house, car, or epic vacation. You might not have the funds now, but get creative on how you plan to get the funds. This means realigning with where your money is going. But pretending that the bigger picture doesn’t exist is not being empowered around money. It’s avoiding it entirely. 

So, let’s take the ‘girl math’ trend with a grain of salt. We don’t need to feel shame or guilt about our purchases. The caller that bought Taylor Swift tickets, I hope you had an amazing time and felt like you got your money’s worth (which from the videos I’ve seen from that show you did.). You’ve got this and are designed to become a money maven and master of ‘girl math’! 

If you’ve enjoyed this blog, check out my podcast, Money Isn’t Scary where I help people overcome their fear and negative associations with money by empowering individuals to take control of their finances.

Join my Mindful Money Mamas Facebook Group to hear more from me and other women who are working towards creating a healthier relationship with money.  


About the Author

Women Thrive Magazine Author - Meghan Dwyer

Name: Meghan Dwyer

Professional Title: Certified Financial Planner and Money Coach 

Bio: Meghan Dwyer is a Certified Financial Planner and host of the Money Isn’t Scary podcast. After spending 15 years watching women take a passive role in the management of their money, she’s on a mission to help them stop playing small. By challenging the societal norms around women and money, Meghan aims to empower women to make money decisions out of a sense of abundance and confidence, rather than scarcity and fear. When Meghan isn’t working, she loves running, writing, and being a mom to her two young boys.

Website: www.moneyisntscary.com 

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Media platform spotlighting and celebrating entrepreneurial women and their achievements. Creating a platform where every woman can be seen and heard. We are disrupting the media industry by democratising media channels for women. If you have a business or an idea and you would like to rise and thrive, you are in the right place.
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