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 Solving the ‘Girl Math’ trend on TikTok

by Joyce Remo

SOCIAL MEDIA trends centered on girl lifestyle and problems have been emerging across different platforms, and the “girl math” trend has recently taken TikTok by storm.

According to the notion of this bizarrely comical trend, cash isn’t “real money” and buying things using a gift card is basically free.

“Girl math,” which centers on spending, consumerism, and economics, is used by young women to justify their illogical spending habits. 

To put it simply, women just don’t care about the cost of what they purchase. It’s a manifestation of the girl boss attitude that says: “When she wants it, she gets it.”

In the world of girl math, particular expenses can be deemed justifiable due to their rarity. For instance, splurging on The Eras Tour concert is okay because it is a once-in-a-lifestyle experience to witness the performance of the music industry herself, Taylor Swift.

Meanwhile, some purchases are  even considered free. These include a trip you booked several months ago. Since the tickets and accommodations were bought a long time ago, these no longer count as expenses. 

Also, if you’re using a gift card to buy a coffee, it’s technically free because you did not use real money to get it.

Not getting items on a sale? Oh girl, you’re losing money for not copping those good deals!

Another logic in girl math is that if you buy an expensive bag, shoes, or any clothing piece, you’re basically getting it for free because you’ll be wearing it everyday.

Getting botox, laser treatments, a nose job, and other procedures? In girl math, the high costs of these services are reasonable because you do these as an investment in yourself. 

Choosing a more convenient way of commuting is also part of the girl math culture.

TikTok user Anisah (@uhkneesxh) shared that she would rather pay more to have a more comfortable and stress-free commute by hailing taxis and motorcycles online. 


the thing i hate about commuting is that you need to switch modes of transportation/vehicle just to get to the place you really need to go to 🥲 it’s so tiring fr #fyp #girlmath

♬ Pink (Bad Day) [From Barbie The Album] – Lizzo

On the other hand, when you get a refund after returning a purchased item, or if you canceled your manicure appointment, you’re basically earning money that you can spend on other things. 

That’s how girl math works.


GIRL MATH 🤝🏻 CONSUMERISM ✨ (why the system works for us 🤪) • • Stimulating the economy, one girl math at a time #fyp #shopping #capitalism #financebro #financetips #girlssupportgirls #womenempowerment

♬ original sound – J A Z ❤️‍🔥🇮🇩 – J A Z ❤️‍🔥🇮🇩

Funny, or dangerous?

While some find this overspending habits of women cute and funny, others believe this girl math trend should stop.

According to Spending Coach Paige Pritchard, who goes by the TikTok handle @overcoming_overspending, subscribing to the girl math movement sends women down into the narrative that they are not as good with handling finances as their male counterparts.

“It sends the signal that we’re kind of like ditzy, that we can’t do math, that we can’t make wise financial decisions, that we are frivolous and irresponsible with our spending,” she said in a TikTok video.

Some parts of the girl math concept that are obviously illogical, including that notion that cash isn’t real money, are something people should strive to break free from. 

Money, especially during times when the cost of living is skyrocketing, shouldn’t be treated as something trivial.

But at the end of the day, girl math isn’t that deep. Sometimes, it’s just some women’s attempt to reclaim their girlhood by spending money on things they previously couldn’t afford.

So if you buy yourself some overpriced toys like the tiny Kewpie-like Sonny Angels to comfort your inner child, then it’s basically free because you’re doing it for your younger self so it doesn’t really count. That’s girl math.



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