You don’t have to spend more than a minute on Instagram or TikTok these days to see people discussing their “Girl Math,” but if you are sitting squarely out of the loop on this viral concept, let us explain it for you:
Girl Math (when it comes to shopping, at least) is a lighthearted internet trend wherein women justify non-essential expenses in their lives or simply explain how they think about expenses in general. Examples include the idea that if you use cash to buy something, it’s free, since no money is leaving your bank account, and when you purchase a $300 handbag but then you use it every day, it actually costs less than $1 a day, so in fact, it’s a really inexpensive purchase.
Naturally, since we here at RetailMeNot live and breathe shopping, we’ve been avid Girl Mathematicians long before it was a trend (like most of you!), and since we offer cash back for purchases, coupon codes at all your favorite retailers and dupe suggestions and sale guides on our The Real Deal blog, we’re also a tool to help you with your Girl Math, too. So basically, you can consider RMN the trusty calculator to your Girl Math.
So while plenty of people have been accused of “shopping like it’s their job,” here at RetailMeNot, we happily confirm that when you earn cash back on purchases, you are making money when you shop, so shopping is actually a job, thank you very much, mic drop, #GirlMath.
Now let us break down our officially sanctioned RetailMeNot Girl Math:
Cash Back = Shopping is Making You Money
This one is honestly so obvious, it doesn’t even need explaining: If you earn cash back for your online purchases, then you are getting income when you shop, which means that shopping is quite literally your job, because shopping is making you money.
And since the more you purchase, the more cash back you earn, a shopping spree is basically working overtime. There’s also a little geometry in this particular Girl Math, because it’s circular: Our RMN Cash Back Program puts up to $50 per purchase straight in your pocket, which means if you buy a $50 pair of shoes with that cash back, those shoes were FREE.
Plus, every year, RetailMeNot throws Cash Back Day. It’s basically the Girl Math final exam, where cash back gets multiplied.
Adding To Cart to Get Free Shipping = Saving Money
If your planned purchase isn’t enough to qualify you for free shipping, so you add more items to your cart to hit that minimum free shipping amount, you have, in fact, saved money while shopping, not spent more money.
The free shipping cancels out the “extra” you spent to get the free shipping, because paying for shipping is the worst.
girl math is avoiding shipping costs by buying more
— em (@DI0RSBABY) October 9, 2023
Money from Returned Purchases = Profit
You buy a pair of shoes for $75, but they arrive and are uncomfortable, so you return them. Because that money is going back on your credit or debit card, you’ve made money. Consequently, anything that you then purchase with that $75 is now free. You can easily see how this works using our list of the stores with the best online return policies.
Promo Codes = Free Items
Coupon codes are kind of our thing at RMN, and coupon code shopping is a vital part of Girl Math. If you have a promo code for 30% off your purchase at American Eagle, and you are purchasing two pairs of $60 jeans, you can obviously add another $36 worth of clothes to your cart, because they are free.
Not Shopping During a Sale = Losing Money
From Prime Day, to Black Friday sales, to warehouse sales, to end of season sales, RMN will always keep you up to date on when and where you need to be shopping, and yes, we do mean need, because if you’re not saving money with the Barnes & Noble buy one get one 50% off sale or Dick’s Sporting Goods’ fall clearance sale, et al., you are actually losing money.
Girl math is to stock skincare for a year in advance cause it's on sale
— Sultan (@replaceab1e) October 12, 2023
Expensive Items That You Use All the Time = Not Expensive
If you spend $400 on the cult-favorite Dyson Airwrap, but you use it every day for the next year, it will only cost $1 per day, so it’s actually super cheap.
Shopping During Old Navy Super Cash or Kohl’s Cash Periods = Earning Money
You can consider applying for the Old Navy Rewards Program the same as applying for a job, since the program allows you to earn Super Cash during specific periods throughout the year. You can earn up to $30 in said Super Cash during those earning periods, which is free money, which means when you shop at Old Navy during Super Cash earning periods, you’re not spending money, you’re making money. And since shopping at Kohl’s during earning periods earns you $10 in Kohl’s Cash for every $50 you spend, the same math applies.
Shopping at Sephora in Kohl’s = Free Clothes
Since you can earn Kohl’s Rewards on purchases you make at Sephoras inside Kohl’s stores (in addition to earning your Sephora Beauty Insider points), you’re not spending money at Sephora, you’re getting free clothes at Kohl’s.
Shopping With Target Circle = Investing in Your Future
If you’re a member of the Target Circle rewards program, you can earn 1% cash back every time you shop, which you can redeem the next time you shop. But, the program also allows you an annual birthday shopping trip, where you will earn 5% on your purchases, which means you save money every year older you get, which means Target Circle is basically like a retirement account.
Don’t forget to take this Girl Math into a more advanced level by adding RetailMeNot cash back multiplier on top of all that.
Shopping with the RMN Deal Finder Tool = Acing Girl Math
Simply installing the RMN Deal Finder extension to your browser ensures that all the best promo codes, free shipping offers and cash back offers will be automatically applied AND STACKED to every purchase you make. So any time you shop with the extension installed, it is basically doing the Girl Math for you.