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Why Is Everyone So Obsessed With 'Girl Math' Right Now?
Human Interest

Why Is Everyone So Obsessed With 'Girl Math' Right Now?

Girls, it’s time to pull out our calculators because there’s another TikTok microtrend that’s putting our mental math skills on center stage — and it’s called “girl math.”

In the case of “girl math,” it’s pretty simple to follow if you understand the mind of a woman and the nano decisions we make every day from buying coffee to making returns to the store. To explain it plainly, “girl math” is a method to justify day-to-day expenses or spending habits in a manner that, to some, falls short of logical-mathematical justification.


The concept was made popular by a New Zealand radio show called, Fletch, Vaughan & Hayley that features a segment where listeners share their lavish purchases, such as buying a $1000 bag or spending $330 on a dress for a special occasion. The hosts assist callers in justifying their spending by calculating how often they will use the item or the potential savings it may offer.

@fvhzm

Big fans of girl math 🫶💁‍♀️ #girlmath

Since the clip reached virality, the term has made its way into the internet lexicon to make sense of what women have done for centuries with our mental calculations and trying to make a dollar out of eighty-five cents.

One TikTok user @mckennaelianna, explains her perception of the girl math concept by saying, “Anything under $5 is free, anything I buy with a gift card is free, if I buy something and then I return it, I’ve made money. Going to an event or a concert is free because I purchased the tickets so long ago it doesn't even count.” Checks out to us.

Another creator @csagwa_, shared in a video describing girl math things that “make sense” to her that, “If I spend money before payday, I didn’t lose any money,” and “If I’m ordering clothes and the clothes comes out to $100 and shipping is $50, that’s too much money. If I’m ordering clothes and the clothes come up to $150 and the shipping is $0 dollars, I can deal with that.”

#girlmath

@csagwa_

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Some girl math logic has since turned into relational tidbits rather than financial hacks, with women taking to X to share their thoughts on how they’ve used their intuitive rationale to justify various life decisions and relationship blunders.

While girl math is a light-hearted means for women to express the collective mental gymnastics we got through to not feel shame around our spending habits, there is a reclaiming of gendered financial language taking place. A study by Starling Bank found that “65% of money articles in women’s magazines define women as excessive spenders and advise them to limit, restrict and take better control of shopping ‘splurges.’”

They were then encouraged to find “financial support, like a parent. Or a husband.” The idea that women are reckless spenders further perpetuates the stereotypes that men are made to make money and are better at it, while women are loose slurgers, in need of constant financial supervision.

If there’s anything that we can take from the social phenomenon that is girl math it’s that women are, in fact, thinking many steps ahead before making large purchase decisions and trying their best to make life decisions that are within reason.

In this economy, we shouldn’t feel judged or feel that every major life or financial decision has to be put under a microscope before the “buy now” button. Yes, financial literacy is key to cultivating smart spending habits, but from what we’ve gathered, there’s always been a personal finance guru within us, and that’s girl math.

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Featured image by Manu Vega/Getty Images

 

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