What is ‘loud budgeting’ and why is it good for our mental health?

Loud budgeting mental health. (Getty Images)
Try loud budgeting to help look after your mental health. (Getty Images)

One of the growing trends circulating on TikTok and in our everyday lives – loud budgeting – signals people's increasing desire to be more transparent about their money management.

This coupled with new research from Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) and MoneySuperMarket, revealing people's financial concerns are having a huge knock-on effect on their mental wellbeing, shows just how needed more openness around the subject is.

Some 40% of UK adults' mental health has been negatively affected by money concerns in the last 12 months, with cost of living payments now ending amid claims inflation is falling, the Money Talks report finds.

However, nearly half of Brits (47%) consider talking about financial worries to others to be a bigger taboo than politics, gambling, and mental health.

Man looking depressed while sitting alone with his head in his hand on his living room sofa at home
Keeping money worries to yourself will only make them feel worse and lead to spending you don't want to do. (Getty Images)

"When the cost-of-living crisis began, our services saw a 43% increase in chats about cash, and they’ve remained steady since then. The cost-of-living crisis is having a huge impact on people’s mental health and more people than ever are turning to CALM," said Wendy Robinson, head of services at the suicide prevention charity.

The top five reasons people aren't sharing their financial concerns are:

  • they don't want to burden friends and family (30%)

  • they think money worries are universal and everyone has them (28%)

  • they feel embarrassed (15%)

  • they feel trapped in their financial situation (27%)

  • they don't think anybody would be able to help them (16%)

But while services like CALM are there and ready to help, if more people felt like they could talk to friends and family about money worries – no matter how big or small – there would be no need to bottle it up and reach this point.

So, here's how to start putting loud budgeting, aka being open and honest about your finances and what you can and can't afford, into practice, according to experts from the campaign...

'Loud budgeting' to improve mental health

Close up image of women enjoyed talking and drinking coffee together
There are simple but effective ways to talk about money with friends and family. (Getty Images)

1. Remember the more you talk about money, the easier it gets

Normalise conversations about money and the cost of things. Bringing things up when you’re out for a walk, playing a game or making dinner can feel easier than being face to face. And once you chat about cash, you’ll realise it’s not so bad, especially when people around you relate.

2. Utilise the free financial advice out there

Sometimes it’s better to let the pros handle it. If your stresses about money are mounting up, there’s always support available.

Check out CALM’s Financial Stress Guide which is packed with advice or MoneySuperMarket has resources and guides.

There are also charities and organisations who specialise in financial support. Here are just a few of them:

  • PayPlan: The UK’s largest provider of free debt solutions

  • The Money Charity: A charity that help people achieve financial wellbeing by managing their money well

  • Citizens Advice: Offers advice on lots of issues, including money matters

  • StepChange: A debt support and advice service

Female psychologist talking to young man during session.
Use the support available at your fingertips. (Getty Images)

3. Listening to others' money concerns doesn't mean you need all the answers

If someone comes to you with money worries, be there for them and approach the situation with an open mind. Unless you’re a finance whizz, it’s probably best to leave the advice to the professionals, but that doesn’t mean you can’t direct them to support if you’re concerned about their mental wellbeing. This is helpful to bear in mind when you choose to talk to someone about your financial concerns.

4. The skint dictionary is your friend

Some events or spends can be really hard to say no to – birthday parties, a gift collection at work, pre-wedding celebrations, or the annual holiday you’ve never missed.

But the good news is, there are ways to say you're struggling with cash. Here are a few ways to start the conversations...

  • “Hey, I know we had plans to do (X) but money’s a bit of a stretch at the moment. I’d still love to see you though. How about chilling at mine or this free event I found?”

  • “Hi, I’m struggling a bit with money at the moment, would you be annoyed if I skip the meal and just join for drinks after?”

  • “Hey, I know we usually do (X) but cash is tight this year, is there something fun we could still do that’s on the cheaper side of things?”

  • “Hello, I’m really not going to be able to afford (X). Fancy meeting up to chat about it?”

Diverse group of teenagers looking at abstract art in art gallery or museum standing in row with African American girl in foreground
There are plenty of things you can do with friends without parting with cash. (Getty Images)

5. No money doesn’t mean no fun

Swap meals out or takeaways for a bring-a-dish night with your friends or family – eating in doesn’t mean you have to dress down. Make an occasion of it. Check out free activities near you, like local parks and places to hike or cycle, art exhibitions, libraries, museums, or events.

6. If you feel like there’s no way forward, don’t struggle alone

If you’re feeling in over your head one of the best things you can do is talk to someone you trust, whether that’s a best friend, family member or a professional.

Sorting money stuff out might feel like a huge task but admitting that you’re struggling can be the first step towards dealing with things. Money can have a massive impact on your mental health, but with support things can get easier.

And just like that, a money problem shared is a money problem halved.