Two new trends have been circling social media: girl dinner & girl math. While they may seem harmless enough (and entertainingly funny), girl math highlights the ways we all can rationalize away indulgent purchases. However, all women should be careful with how far these rationalizations go. Not only could they ruin your financial future if overused, but it plays into the stereotype that women aren't smart enough to care about their money. A recent Washington Post article explores the psychology behind girl math:
The essence of "girl math":
· "Girl math" is not about complicated calculations; it's about justifying purchases that might seem extravagant or unnecessary. The trend involves individuals breaking down the cost of luxury or non-essential items into smaller, seemingly insignificant expenses. By comparing the cost of the desired item to everyday expenditures, like daily coffee runs or ordering takeout, people rationalize their impulse purchases as minor deviations from their routine spending.
· Anchoring is a cognitive bias where individuals rely heavily on the first piece of information they receive when making decisions. In the context of "girl math," the original price of a luxury item serves as an anchor. By breaking down the cost into smaller increments, the anchor point fades into the background, making the purchase seem more manageable and less significant than it initially appeared.
Instant Gratification and FOMO:
· The fast-paced nature of social media encourages instant gratification, and the fear of missing out amplifies this impulse. The "girl math" trend exploits these psychological drivers. By framing luxury purchases as rewards for hard work or even as investments, individuals feel justified in indulging themselves to seize the perceived opportunity before it slips away.
· In a world filled with stress and responsibilities, the allure of luxury purchases offers an escape from reality. "Girl math" taps into the desire for momentary relief and pleasure. By portraying these purchases as affordable, individuals feel they're not jeopardizing their financial stability, further fueling their emotional need for a pick-me-up.
While the "girl math" trend is intriguing, it also underscores the importance of mindful spending. If you spend money for something that's on sale, you are still spending more money than if you didn't buy it at all. It's important to have self-care in life and enjoy money you've worked so hard to earn, but there is a balance between treating yourself and maintaining financial prudence.