Millennials And Gen Z Are Making Finances Fun In 2024

Between inflation, stagnate wages, and high cost of living, it's not surprising that a large portion of Millennials and Gen Z feel intimidated by finances. Although the former spent the better part of the 2010s being called out for a lack of financial literacy, per one 2023 survey by Rocket Mortgage, only 51% of Gen-Z respondents report using any kind of budget. Thankfully, the world of social media is working to change that. Across TikTok, trends encouraging a personalized, active approach to finance are becoming increasingly popular. People are talking about budgets, no-spend challenges, and even accessorizing their credit cards and piggy banks. Of course, part of this conversation is also about spending money on yourself, and self-care in a productive, financial way. But it's also about making personal finance less boring, and as essential to one's wellness as anything else. And it seems like Millennials and Gen Z have come up with some unique ideas for doing just that.

The piggy bank makes a comeback

In a world of virtual payment systems, it's likely many people don't think twice about their card or what it looks like. However, by the looks of trend reports, that stands to change. According to Pinterest Predicts, trending searches for credit card stickers are up by 140%, while searches for ceramic piggy banks are up by 95%. Searches for aesthetic piggy banks, meanwhile are up by 35%.

Since piggy banks were such a marker of childhood for many Millennials and Gen Zers, this might seem like nothing more but people tapping into the nostalgia trend. But for some, these aesthetic approaches to money management are significant. Many people are used to automating expenses and not giving their money a second thought because it feels distant from them. However, having a custom, physical reminder could help a person take pride in their financial journey and stay motivated with their goals. As Lightbeam Stationery wrote in a caption over one TikTok showing their bpiggy bank "It's not about the practicality in a lot of ways [...] it's entertaining and relaxing and that is the main reason why it makes you wanna add money to it in [the] first place."

Plus, if you put in the effort to customize a card, it's possible you may become more mindful when you use it. In fact, TK recommends using credit card labels as a strategy to help you maximize your card benefits and rewards. This can look like a palm tree sticker on a card you use for flights and vacations, a car sticker on a card you use for gas and transit, or whatever customization you like. Stores on Etsy, like yellowfoxglove, make customizable credit card skins, where people can even add any photo they want. If you're motivated by taking care of your inner child, adding a photo of yourself as a child to your credit card skin could be a tangible reminder to apply compassionate and loving self-care when shopping. 

Customized budgets make financial planning easier

Gone are the days of the basic, black and white Excel spreadsheet budget. Across TikTok, content creators offer unique aesthetic options for colorful digital and physical financial planners that provide an easy and interactive way to manage your money. Finance and lifestyle blogger Dominique Jonae, for instance, provides followers with a specialized budget spreadsheet that breaks down spending into separate categories, including transaction logs, bill and savings trackers.

The difference between these types of products and a regular planner is that they're dedicated specifically to money management. This can offer some structure to those who were struggling to stick with a particular budget in the past. They're also much nicer to look at than a regular ol' ledger. Plus, the fact that they're interactive and user-friendly also means that people have resources at their fingertips to get on top of their funds. "It makes you feel like you have your life together," wrote on TikTok user over a video of an aesthetic budget planner. 

The rise of no-spend challenges

Having grown up in the vlog generation, it shouldn't be surprising that Gen Z and Millennials love to learn about finance by watching ordinary people who are in the same boat as them figuring it out. One of the most popular trends on personal finance TikTok the no-spend challenge, which involves not swiping your card for anything that isn't an absolute essential for a set amount of time. Some people practice this experiment for a month, like No-Spend January, while other content creators document their attempts to avoid spending for months at a time.

What makes the challenge particularly unique is that it focuses on creativity rather than deprivation. TikTok creator @emmmck shared that as part of her no-spend challenge, she was making more efforts to make coffee at home and rummaging through her bathroom to use up already-purchased skin care products rather than buying new items. Others, like TikTok creator @katelynschwartz offers tips like recognizing your triggers (for them, that's stepping foot into a Target) and knowing when to say no. 

The challenge has inspired creators to share their ideas for resisting temptation to spend, as well as how to reduce the overall cost of living. The goal isn't to deny one joy, but rather to figure out how to make things work without fueling hyperconsumption. This goes hand-in-hand with the rise of the de-influencing trend, which sees creators list reasons why a product doesn't live up to the hype and isn't worth the money. 

A move toward mindful shopping

A big part of financial over-spending comes from mindless shopping. People share all sorts of reasons for why they consume items they don't need, from looking for a dopamine hit to shopping out of boredom. But, where historically, people may have shamed others for their purchases (who could forget all those articles blaming Millennials and their lattes), several content creators on are instead using their platforms to encourage mindful spending. For TikToker @piglet788z, one rule they stand by is not buy anything immediately. Instead, they take a week or a month to ponder whether a product is a worthwhile addition to their life.

TikToker @hyojean offered tips on becoming a more conscious shopper. They pointed out that disciplined shopping means that we enjoy the items we actually do buy. They also urged followers to ask themselves about the genuine usability of a product, and whether or not people bought things just because they were cheap or on sale.