23rd Oct2017

What television has taught me about my finances

by James Smith


Television is made for our entertainment. It keeps us occupied and gives us a look into a world that we aren’t living. We find ourselves relating to the characters’ emotions while we laugh and cry along with them. Not only does TV indulge us in these ways, it also teaches us life lessons about our finances. How? Well, here we have put together some of the things that television has taught us about dealing with our money.

The Real Housewives

This has taught people everything they need to know about what not to do with their money! The Real Housewives live life to the fullest and give off the impression that anyone can do the same. That couldn’t be further from the truth for many of us. We need to be living within our means and sticking to our own restrictions. However, the show has taught us that if you have a good idea it doesn’t hurt to give it a go and dip your toe into the world of entrepreneurship. But just be prepared for it to not always go your way and don’t throw all your money into it, because just like one of the Housewives, Bethenny Frankel, said: “The road to entrepreneurship is filled with twists, turns and dead ends.”


Losing your job is tough and when Monica loses hers she ends up struggling. Her dad reminds her that one third of your salary needs to be saved so you can use it for a rainy day. This has taught us that not all the money you earn needs to be blown and spent within the first few days. Taking some money from your pay slip and putting it into a savings account for those unexpected problems that may occur will really help you out, giving something to fall back if your income take a knock.

2 Broke Girls

This programme has taught us one of the most valuable life lessons there is. Namely, that even if you are skint – set yourself goals. Caroline goes from being filthy rich to poor after her dad is jailed. In the hope that one day she will own her own bakery she teaches her friend Max to set goals for herself. Doing this with your money will not only save you funds, it will make you make you money, too.

Downton Abbey

Now, we understand you don’t all live a lavish lifestyle quite like the characters in Downton Abbey. But while you might not own a grand estate, you surely still want your family to be successful and happy in life, right? So creating a household budget, tracking your expenses, setting allowances and then frequently checking progress to make sure you stay on track is the right path to go down. You should review your budget on a monthly basis – this way it will stop you from spending silly amounts of money. What Downton Abbey has taught us is to manage our personal expenses in the same way we would manage our professional expenses.

How I Met Your Mother

The lesson from this show? It’s simple. Don’t overspend! You might have some money, but you’ll end up in massive amounts of debt. Lily spends her time in How I Met Your Mother shopping for shoes or bags whenever she is upset or disappointed in herself and as a result of this she gets herself into debt. No matter what it is that you’re buying, think and then think again; do you really need this new top or do you really need this new game? It’s a fair assumption that you can live without it, just for now at least.

The Big Bang Theory

This teaches us how, as a married couple, you should be discussing any big financial decision together before doing anything. In one episode Howard buys a $5,000 3D printer without speaking to his wife and when she finds out she isn’t happy – instantly taking him off the joint account until he learns his lesson. So if you are married and sharing finances, what should you be doing? Well, don’t make any important financial decisions alone, you are now part of a team and purchases that require lots of money should be discussed first. Take a look at this article by The Spruce for the financial advice you probably don’t want to hear but you should be listening to.

19 Kids and Counting

This demonstrates how you should prioritize how you are spending your money. It shows you how that child in the family is fed, clothed and housed. What you don’t see is any extra or overspending. It all comes down to knowing exactly what your priorities are and how to balance your money to get by in life.

Broad City

The lesson to be learnt from Abbi and Ilana in Broad City is that living within your means takes dedication and some effort. Whether you are taking advantage of vouchers, offering your domestic services, sneaking snacks in the cinema or charging entry to a house party, these two have done it all and they enjoy every minute of life. If nothing else, this has taught us that living within what we can afford is going to be hard and there might be times you need to earn some extra cash – but you should approach everything with a positive attitude and know how to celebrate all the little things.

Dealing with money is often a challenge for many of us and can leave us with financial woes and worries. But if we know and learn how to manage our money better and understand how to budget, life can feel a lot easier – and you may be much better off, financially, in the end.

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