‘Girl Math’: The New Money Hack And Why You Need To Learn It

‘Girl Math’: The New Money Hack And Why You Need To Learn It

A viewpoint is all it takes to know whether it is a myth or an idea with substance

Jaba ShahUpdated: Saturday, December 09, 2023, 07:25 PM IST
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Pics: Freepik

Is Girl Math a quirky justification for extravagant spending? Or is it a shopping conundrum that plays out in the recesses of our minds? This viral trend has taken the internet by storm. Is there any underlying logic, or is it simply a playful and stereotypical take on the mental gymnastics women go through in their heads when it comes to justifying their spending habits? Are we, as a generation, falling prey to consumer neurosis where we are compelled to spend, even when necessity doesn’t warrant it, stretching our budgets to their limits and sometimes beyond? Can ‘Girl Math’ genuinely empower women to navigate their finances efficiently and save a penny, or is it just a clever alibi for indulging in shopping sprees and rationalising expenses they might not even afford?

This term was coined by a New Zealand radio show Fletch by Vaughn and Hayley when the show host collaborated with listeners to “justify their spending” to the point where it actually felt like the purchases made were actually “free”. Believe it or not, there is a formula that would put an economist to shame when it comes to using the Girl Math logic. But, despite that, the main reason behind the popularity of “Girl Math” is the emotional and mental impact it has on its followers. Many women are struggling with debt, financial insecurity, and the stress of trying to make ends meet. This trend provides them with a sense of community and empowerment, as they can learn from others who are going through similar situations and are inspired to take control of their finances.

This trend provides them with practical tips and advice on how to budget, save, and invest, which can help them achieve their financial goals and build a better future for themselves. Some examples are tips on how to save money on groceries, how to budget for education, and how to invest in stocks and real estate. Now, if all of the above is true then why is everyone poking fun at this logic, which is clearly illogical if you are to actually see some of the (hilarious) videos on social media platforms! One video shows a woman explaining how her coffee is free because she bought an in-store gift card (that she paid for via her credit card) and didn’t actually pay for the coffee in cash, thereby making the coffee “free”.

Ridhima, an avid Instagram user and self-confessed shopaholic says, “My dad is fed up of my spending sprees. He recently took away my credit card because he thinks I buy frivolous items that I do not even need. He asked me to justify my purchases if I wanted the card back, so I explained the Girl Math theory to him. Unfortunately he does not seem to understand the logic and laughed at me! Eventually, I threw a tantrum and got the card back.”

What exactly is this “Girl Math” formula? Basically, you divide the amount of money you have spent by the number of times you will use the item — that could be weeks, days or months — and keep dividing that number till it becomes zero. So essentially, your item is free.

Anyone using the Girl Math trend is self-aware. They know a lot of this is in jest. But then there are some people who actually do believe these trends and this makes it worse as they actually start justifying spends and make money grow in their own heads.

Ask men about “Girl Math” and they will laugh out loud. It’s like cementing the stereo-type of how all women are bad drivers and how women are no good with managing finances. “These women use such twisted logic only to justify the amount of money they are about to spend and make it less painful in their heads because deep down they know it is not justifiable in any way, shape or form. Women will be women and it is no surprise they find logic in this girl math,” says a male investment advisor who wishes not to be named.

Aditya Manasawala says, “My wife spends extra money when she makes purchases on online platforms just to get free shipping. How can you justify spending Rs 200 extra just to save the Rs 40 shipping charge. And the 200 worth of items are not even what she needs,” he laughs.

As is always the case, there are two sides to a coin. When wielded responsibly, ‘Girl Math’ can be a helpful tool that can be a source of empowerment guiding young women seize the reins of their finances and make sound decisions. Nevertheless, there lies a potential peril. In an age where social media’s influence runs deep, there’s a risk of mindlessly emulating what’s seen on platforms like TikTok or Instagram, at the cost of personal logic and discretion. The genuine concern is when trending videos, bereft of logical calculations, are taken seriously. In such a scenario, a consumer-neurosis-driven society stands at the precipice of fiscal peril, potentially leading to a generation struggling with financial woes. So, the question is what formula of ‘Girl Math’ do you want to apply to your life?

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