‘Girl Math’ Goes Viral On TikTok – But At A Cost

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If you’ve been on TikTok lately, you’ve probably encountered the “girl math” trend. This trend involves women explaining and justifying their spending habits, often stemming from clips on the New Zealand radio show “Fletch, Vaughan & Hayley.” Callers share the cost of significant purchases in these segments, such as a $999 luxury tote, $5,600 for Taylor Swift tickets over four nights, or a $699 Dyson hair dryer. The hosts then assist the callers in rationalizing the high prices by estimating usage frequency or potential savings, making the total cost seems almost negligible – that’s “girl math” for you.

The radio show’s concept has sparked TikTok users to share their instances of the occasionally contradictory but uplifting girl math logic. This logic applies not just to significant expenses but also to smaller purchases, creating a positive perspective.

Girl math, often seen as “fun logic” on TikTok, involves creators playfully showcasing complex calculations, highlighting the irony of feeling things are “basically free.” Despite this awareness, the videos attract millions of viewers, indicating their resonance. Jen Hemphill, a certified financial counselor and podcast host, attributes this popularity to people finding comfort in shared imperfections, especially during tough times, fostering a sense of connection and camaraderie.

A caution: Treating girl math seriously and using it to excuse excessive spending crosses the line from fun. To determine this, Hemphill advises self-reflection: Is it about justification or self-compassion and realignment? For instance, the “cost per use” girl math can guide purchases only before buying.

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Experts Advise Against Regularly

Embracing ‘Girl Math’

Taking girl math seriously has potential negative societal and financial repercussions. Vivian Tu, a former J.P. Morgan equities trader and author of “RICH AF: The Winning Money Mindset That Will Change Your Life,” acknowledges its humor but likens it to harmful stereotypes like “women are bad drivers.” Such notions can perpetuate damaging views about women and finances. Tu advises against dismissing small expenses, advocating for enjoying everyday pleasures while recognizing their cost.