How ‘Girl Math’ Can Hurt Your Credit Score — And What To Do About It

How ‘Girl Math’ Can Hurt Your Credit Score — And What To Do About It

LightFieldStudios / iStock.com

LightFieldStudios / iStock.com

Oh, the TikTok terms that went viral overnight; they keep coming. Although they can be a little annoying sometimes, it is common for them to have a meaning that is heavier than you think.

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For example, last year the hashtag #LazyGirlJobs took off on social media sites. It sounds silly, but it sparked a whole movement, empowering people who wanted a job that didn’t require a lot of effort.

Another TikTok slang term gaining steam is “Girl Math.” It has a strong misogynistic vibe, which is lousy, but it’s actually a pretty interesting concept. What does this mean? How does this harm your financial well-being (in particular, your credit score)?

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Defining ‘Girl Math’

Part of what’s interesting about some of the terms that have gone viral on TikTok is that they act as nomenclature for meanings that have been in our lives for a while, but without a single word. With this term, there is some irony at play.

“‘Girl math’ is a social media trend that started as a tongue-in-cheek way to justify impulse or unnecessary purchases, especially for girls,” said Christina Roman, consumer education and manager. in Experian advocacy.

“Some key themes from the trend include the belief that money is free money because it’s not sitting in your bank account, things under $5 are free and buying sales is a form of getting money. ,” said Roman. “The trend is meant to be a funny and lighthearted stereotype about women and their financial behavior.”

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Why ‘Girl Math’ Went Viral

What is it about “girl math” that is so appealing? Why do so many women, no matter how ridiculous, accept it? What it comes down to is relatability.

“I think the trend is growing in popularity because I believe girls can relate to some of the ‘girl math’ theories that are being shared,” Roman said. “For example, returning an item and using those funds to purchase another item makes the item feel ‘free.’ We know it’s not true, but it’s a feeling I think most of us can identify with. Like most viral trends, it can make people feel like they’re not alone in their thinking, which is something we all want.

‘Girl Math’ May Be Funny and Relatable, but It’s Not Laughable

The whole concept of “girl math” is harmful not only because of its misogynist connotations but also because if done, it can damage your credit score.

“Before jumping on the ‘girl math’ trend, one thing you want to consider is the potential negative impact it will have on your credit score,” said Isabel Ghanoo, assistant vice president, branch manager at Addition Financial. “The biggest which is why girl math encourages and justifies overspending instead of saving. This kind of circular logic can create a debt snowball effect when you’re spending money you don’t have.

“Justifying your big purchase by the cost every day can leave you unable to save for financial emergencies that may arise,” says Ghanoo. “Simply put, ‘girl math’ does not encourage good money habits.”

Do This Instead…

Instead of jumping on the “math girl” train, practice good money management habits that will protect and/or increase your credit score and put you in a better place financially.

Don’t forget a Credit Card Payment

If you indulge in “girl math,” you’re putting yourself at a greater risk of accumulating debt, which can make paying off your credit card balance each month more challenging. And diligent, timely payment history is essential.

“Generally speaking, payments after 30 days will be reported to the credit bureaus,” says Anne Lester, personal finance, retirement expert and author of “Your Best Financial Life.”

“Credit card companies will generally work with you if you’re at risk of missing a payment, so always get in touch with them before you miss a payment or risk being sent to collections,” says Lester. “Mortgage, utility, and rent payments can appear on your credit report if you are late. Automatic payments can be a big help here. “

Save Compellingly and Regularly

Not only is having enough of a nest egg ready for a rainy day an important financial step, but it’s also a comfort. Save regularly and aggressively.

“Money in the bank that you set aside for a rainy day is always a great feeling,” says Erica Sandberg, personal finance expert at CardRates.com. “This will give you a valuable sense of security. Even better, that money can be used for you. Currently, the interest rates on cash equivalents are amazing, so take advantage! Many certificates of deposits (CD ) and money market accounts have annual percentage yields (APY) of over 5%. You don’t need special girl math to know you’ll come out ahead.

Empower Women’s Livelihoods Instead of Scorning Them

Possibly the most toxic aspect of the term “female math” is that it paints women in a bad light and contributes to a societal narrative that they are bad or don’t care about money.

“This not only undermines women’s financial capabilities but also perpetuates harmful stereotypes that have no place in a progressive society,” said Tomeka Lynch-Purcell, president, PLO, PMG Worldwide Inc.

“By challenging these stereotypes and adopting proactive financial strategies, individuals can promote a culture of financial empowerment and equity,” said Lynch-Purcell. “Education, empowerment and equity are not just ideals to aspire to; these are actionable goals that can transform personal finances and, by extension, contribute to social progress. It’s time to redefine the narrative about women and financial literacy, turning ‘girl math’ from a derogatory term into a relic of the past.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: How ‘Girl Math’ Can Hurt Your Credit Score – And What To Do About It

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