What is Girl Math? The TikTok Trend Exposes the Most Gen Z Reasons For Horrible Money Management

Girl math is for those with a mind of a mastermind.

The basic principle of girl math: we’re making money by spending money.

Related: What Is Girl Dinner? A Tiktok Food Trend That’s Actually Relatable

We’re not broke, we’re broqué. That Gen Z phrase proved how we, the millennial successors, sometimes fumble adulting with seriously sus financial decisions. With the introduction of Girl Math, you’re probably assuming we’re just getting creative with catchy excuses to justify wasting, throwing, straight-up blowing money—whatever you wanna call it. Totally acceptable, but who would pass on better deals and “basically free” money? Nope, not Gen Z girlies.

The TikTok FYP that served Girl Dinner now delivers Girl Math. The term was hyped thanks to New Zealand radio hosts Vaughn, Hayley, and Fletch. In one of their segments, they totally backed a caller who splurged $5,600 on travel, accommodation, and tickets for the Taylor Swift Eras Tour in Sydney. The trio went all out explaining that this spending spree was, you guessed it, “basically free.”

The calculations behind Girl Math aren’t exactly new, but the way we talk about ’em—connecting them to shared experiences and the thrill of treating ourselves—is totally refreshing. Here’s the rundown of how we’re making money by spending money.

Cash isn’t “Real Money”


Just speaking my truth cash just doesn’t register in my brain😩

♬ original sound – LUCY

It’s true that cash isn’t real money. Whether it’s due to the pandemic or technological advancements, we’re heading towards a cashless era. Today, the real money is in your bank cards, cash apps like Gcash, and even Apple Pay. That being said, if it’s not directly coming out of my bank account, it’s not real.

Example 1: If I find some loose change or crumpled cash at the bottom of my bag and use that to score dinner. Technically, my meal’s on the house. Who needs Girl Dinner when you’ve got this kind of math?

Skipping Sales, Discounts, and Better Deals is “Losing Money”

@uhkneesxh 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

We’ve been told that sales, promos, and discounts are a scam. But when we pay full price after a seasonal sale, aren’t we losing money? Basically, missing out on the better deal translates to losing money. Yes, that includes convenience fees and shipping fees.

Example 1: Think about shipping fees as little leaks of money. If it costs an additional ₱250 for free shipping in LazBeauty, I’m spending that additional ₱250. Trust me, it’s the best deal! Imagine getting one more makeup product AND free shipping? 

Example 2: Choosing comfort isn’t losing money. While it’s an additional cost of ₱80 for a Joyride compared to your usual UV Express, you’re getting there hassle-free. If you’re swiping left on the better deal, that teensy convenience fee is “losing money.”

Girl, it’s “Basically Free”

@samjamessssss oh how i love being a woman #girlmath ♬ original sound – samjamess

The best part? Everything’s basically free. But before you start thinking that it’s too much, humor me. Even I know some scenarios involving Girl Math might seem silly, like considering anything under ₱100 as a cost-free purchase. Here’s the real deal: most times, we’re using an actual combination of two economic principles: cost-per-wear and prospective cost.

Cost-per-wear: The cost of clothing pieces, bags, and accessories, divided by the number of times you’ve worn them. The lower the cost-per-wear, the thriftier the purchase. Imagine splurging on a pair of rare sneakers for ₱18,000. If you sport them daily throughout the year, break down that ₱18,000 by diving it through 365 days. Your grand total: ₱50.

Prospective Cost: A cost no longer exists if paid prior to the event. For instance, those tickets, hotel bookings, and restaurant reservations? Look, they’re ‘basically free.’ By the time you’re sipping fresh mango shakes in Bali or screaming the lyrics to Illicit Affairs at the Eras Tour, those expenses are far from gone. If I were you, treat yourself to a whole new outfit. After all, you practically traveled for free.

Bigger Problems and Baseless Stereotypes

@samjamessssss i said what i said #girlmath ♬ original sound – samjamess

I totally agree–now, math is actually fun. The real question is, does Girl Math rationalize a serious problem? While the trend may seem harmless, it actually perpetuates the baseless stereotype that often portrays women as poor money managers. From acts of ‘self-sabotage’ to outright ‘bank-breaking,’ some content creators believe that Girl Math should be canceled. Yes, we should save for medical emergencies, rent, and things that truly ‘matter.’ But here’s the thing: Girl Math never mentions anything about (not) saving money. A spontaneous trip, pamper day, or indulging in online shopping doesn’t mean most of us don’t have a stash somewhere.

If I’m being honest, we’ve progressed enough that women tosses the shame game and guilt after another shopping spree. I mean, we’re well aware of compulsive purchases and its consequences. Duh, we’ve all binged Confessions of a Shopaholic. We’re simply all about what we deserve—and if we feel we’ve earned something, you better believe we’ve earned it.

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