Budgeting had a big week on TikTok.
Maybe it was the volatility of the markets, maybe it was the threat of inflation, or maybe it was just the fact that ever-popular New Year’s resolutions for financial fitness get harder as the year advances. But this week, posts on the short-video platform with the hashtag budgeting surged on TikTok’s prominent Discover page.
It’s valuable real estate. The company said last year that more than 1 billion people across the globe use the app every month. Discover guides their consumption, often steering users to the sorts of topics you’d expect to go viral: comedy, new music, even makeup tutorials. But budgeting got its moment in the bright lights of that page, with some 41 million views for that topic over the past two days.
“It’s that time of the year, the start of the year, when people reconsider their habits for fitness, self-care and finances,” said Jim Tobin, chief executive officer at Ignite Social Media, a Raleigh-based social-media marketing company. “Combined with some really unusual financial circumstances in terms of inflation, labor shortages and rising rents affecting young people particularly, the hashtag budgeting is ripe for becoming a topic of conversation on TikTok.”
Tobin said TikTok’s algorithm is personalized but significant viewership numbers — as well as a connection to noteworthy events — could land a hashtag on the Discover page. The Discover page can differ based on users and geography, but hot topics can get elevated across the globe.
A prominent topic in the budgeting category: inflation. It’s been soaring across the globe, a fact that was not lost on TikTokers.
“You can tell how well you’re doing in life based on how you react to inflation,” TikTok user @ansdewschiavone joked in a video posted Thursday. “For me, the more inflation goes up, the more I feel old, because I caught myself saying out loud in the grocery store the other day: ‘the price of grapes are how much?’”
For others who might feel squeezed by higher prices, a number of videos instructed people to practice “cash stuffing” — putting set amounts of cash into specific envelopes for each type of expenditure, and checking their balance at the end of the month. Other posts highlighted savings challenges, such as the idea of setting cash aside, several dollars at a time in separate envelopes, and tracking that progress until enough is saved for an emergency fund.
The videos add to the flood of financial advice from “finfluencers” on TikTok, whose popularity has grown over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.