At a Glance

This new FinTok trend is gaining momentum, but could it be as big as the ever-so-viral cash stuffing (did you see our survey about it which was written about in The New York Times)? What is the savings ladder, and how can you use it to pay off debt and add money to your emergency fund?

What to expect:

What is FinTok?

FinTok is an area of TikTok that teaches people all about personal finance. From influencers to regular people, plenty of trends have exploded on the platform. The most popular trend was cash stuffing, a method of budgeting where users physically stuff envelopes labeled with different spending categories. After your envelope has run out, you can no longer spend in that category. This system became shockingly widespread in the digital age, with videos of people stuffing their envelopes garnering millions of views.

Although FinTok can be a great resource, it can also be a dangerous place to get advice. Many influencers are getting paid to advertise a company or service to their followers who might not benefit from said service. Young, impressionable people on the platform might get into bad financial situations due to these trends. However, some trends teach young people and finance veterans new ways to save, shop, and splurge.

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Savings ladder: What is it and how to use it?

We can thank TikTok user Jandra Sutton for introducing the savings ladder. The method is simple–just determine what you want to save for, and then decide how much you want to have in your savings account before you splurge on that item.

For example, let’s say you want new AirPods. The AirPods Pro are currently $249. Determine how much you want to have in your savings account before you make that purchase. It could be twice or ten times that amount; all that matters is you have a savings goal with a reward. Once you reach that goal, you can splurge on your reward.

@jandralee We’ve used this tip for almost 8 years, and it’s amazing. #financialfeminist #moneysavingtips #savingmoneyhack #savingsladder ♬ original sound – Jandra Sutton

This method can be for significant savings or small savings. Sutton used it to pay off her student loans, but you can use it for something as small as going to a happy hour after work on a Friday. When you have something close to working towards, you are more likely to focus on saving than if you were only saving for something years away, like retirement.

The ladder part comes in by continuously increasing the reward cost and, subsequently, the amount you need to save after reaching each goal. If you start with a $50 reward where you need to save $300, you might get a $100 reward with a $600 savings goal. Then, you keep climbing the savings ladder.

What people are saying about it?

Currently, this video has over 700,000 likes and 90,000 saves. The overwhelming response to the video posted about the savings ladder was positive. However, some users noted that this trend only works if you have excess money to save in the first place. This is true, so before incorporating this trend into your lifestyle, you will need to set up a budget where you have a little bit in excess after paying your bills.

There will always be skeptics of any personal finance trend, but there will also be people who swear by it. Don’t knock it until you try it.


is the median savings for those under 35, according to the Federal Reserve.

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Other FinTok trends we love

There isn’t one correct way to save and pay down debt. These trends can be a great inspiration, but you should ultimately go with the method that works best for you. One trend we love is saving your leftovers at the end of each month. You can put them in a separate bank account or an envelope, no matter the amount. TikTok user Jessica Kowtko used this method to save almost $4,000 in one year. If you are patient, you can accumulate a good chunk of money throughout the year and then use it how you choose.

Another recent trend that gained popularity on FinTok was choosing a denomination of bills, whether it be $1’s, $5’s, or more, and saving each you get for a set period. This works incredibly well if you work in a setting like a restaurant where you get paid in cash. Every $5 bill you get must go into an envelope for however long you choose. This unconventional method can be a great way to save a lot of money without realizing it.

Savings can come from anywhere. Even if it’s just a couple of dollars every paycheck, that will compound into a good chunk of change before you know it.

Bottom line

Trends will come and go, but what is essential is that you develop practices that help you save money and pay down debt. No matter how silly or unconventional it may seem, if it works for you, then you are doing it right. Start small and set little goals. Once you reach them, set bigger goals. In no time, you will have a beefy savings account and be debt free.