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Boy Math: Why Bad Spending Habits are Genderless

Boy Math: Why Bad Spending Habits are Genderless

May 09, 2024

A while back, we wrote a piece about the TikTok trend surrounding “girl math” and how it wrongly gives people the excuse to spend frivolously. And while I don’t want to entirely take the fun out of a social media trend – especially when it shines a light on bad budgeting – I can’t help but feel that trends in men’s spending habits should also be highlighted.

But First…What is Boy Math?

While “girl math” focuses on finances, “boy math” seems to draw attention to everything from men rounding up when it comes to their height to this comment on X: “I think the great equivalent to girl math for boy math is the fact that all of us dudes think we could land a plane.”

When we look at it from a financial standpoint, both genders have their issues with spending. According to Gitnux, when it comes to spending, women are ahead of men with 70-80% of consumer spending while men make up the rest. But here’s where men pull ahead in the spending race:

  • Men are more likely to make impulse purchases (54%) than women (45%).
  •  Men spend 110% more on electronics than women.
  • Men spend nearly twice as much on dining and entertainment for socializing than women.
  • Men account for 62% of the total online spending in the United States.
  • Men are twice as likely as women to spend $2,000 or more on gadgets.

Bad Spending Habits are Genderless

So, why can’t I just look at girl and boy math as lighthearted fun?

In some ways, I can, but what it’s really doing is reinforcing the incorrect assumption that women aren’t as good with money as men. What this does is undermine a woman’s confidence in their capabilities as a money manager and that has lasting effects.

However, before I start going down the rabbit hole of women and finances, let’s take a look at how BOTH genders can improve their math (i.e., break bad spending habits):

Identify Triggers: Recognize the triggers that lead to your bad spending habits. It could be stress, boredom, peer pressure, or even certain environments like malls or online shopping platforms. Once you identify these triggers, you can work on finding healthier ways to cope with them.

Create a Spending Plan: Develop a realistic spending plan or budget that aligns with your financial goals. Prioritize your needs over wants and allocate specific amounts for different expense categories. Having a plan in place can help you stay focused and avoid impulse purchases.

Track Your Progress: Keep track of your spending habits and monitor your progress over time. Use tools like budgeting apps or spreadsheets to track your expenses and identify patterns. Regularly reviewing your spending habits can help you stay accountable and make adjustments as needed.

Practice Mindfulness: Before making a purchase, pause and consider whether it aligns with your values and long-term goals. Ask yourself if the item is a necessity or a luxury, and whether you truly need it. Being mindful of your spending can help you make more intentional choices and avoid unnecessary purchases.

Find Alternatives: Instead of relying on shopping as a form of entertainment or stress relief, find healthier alternatives. Engage in activities that don't involve spending money, such as exercising, reading, spending time outdoors, or pursuing hobbies. Finding alternative ways to fulfill your needs and desires can help break the cycle of bad spending habits. 


And one more thing before I let you go. No, guys, most of you could not land that plane.

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