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What we can learn about money from TV

There’s a lot we can learn from TV. Whether that’s every fact about sharks in a week on Discovery, how to dress like Carrie, or how the other half lives courtesy of Vinnie Chase.

Thanks to my bundled Foxtel and internet, I have access to a lot of TV (side note: bundling, excellent idea) and somewhere along the way I realised that all my favourite shows have one piece of financial wisdom or another to bestow upon us.


Share housing is great. It saves you a tonne of money and if you can arrange it, you can live with your best friends and have a well-scripted ball. And if you’re lucky you might get an ugly naked guy across the street.


Arrested Development

Be honest with your money. Save and use it wisely and don’t wind up in money schemes à la George Bluth and find yourself in prison. Yes it’s a bit extreme, but still, a good lesson for life.


How To Make It In America

This fast became my favourite show on TV, and you can thank your love of Aloe Blacc’s ‘I Need A Dollar’ to the opening credits. Sadly not enough people shared my enthusiasm and it was cancelled after two seasons. But in it’s short life it told a tale of pursuing your creative passions and how to hustle hard to bring them to fruition.

How I Met Your Mother

Lily Aldrin is the firecracker ranga we all came to love/hate. She was a sweet character, but for a long time carried a dark secret – she had a mountain of credit card debt. This is a very real problem for many people and unpaid credit card debt can become a crushing burden. The long term effects and bad credit rating are hard to get rid of – think of it as the ugly cold sore on your financial face.

Breaking Bad

If there’s one thing we can learn from Walter ‘I Am The One Who Knocks’ White, it’s that you reap the rewards of being the top of your game. I’m not condoning becoming a drug kingpin, but Heisenberg was able to charge top dollar for top quality, and he saved it wisely, as Huell discovers #justsayin.

Bored To Death

Another fantastic show gone too soon from our airwaves (Jason Schwartzman, Zach Galifinakis and a weed smoking Ted Danson, c’mon) was  all about a side hustle. Our protagonist isn’t doing so hot as a writer so moonlights as an unlicensed private detective, making some extra cash and having quite the adventure.

Game Of Thrones

Any GoT’er will be familiar with the Lannister creed, “a Lannister always pays their debts.” While this may be easy for one of the richest dynasties in Westeros, it’s a good motto to live by as tackling debt is always the first step in the road to financial responsibility.


Parks & Recreation

We have two very different sides of the coin here. On one side we have the face of fiscal responsibility, Ron Swanson, who somehow has a mountain of cash saved away somewhere, probably buried in the woods protected by a bear trap. On the other hand we have the entrepreneurial Tom Haberford and idiot Jean-Ralphio and their colossal business failure, Entertainment 720. Please friends, learn from the former and don’t become the latter.


Sex And The City

There is a memorable episode where shoe addict Carrie stresses about not being able to put a deposit on her apartment and risk being evicted. She calculates how much her shoe collection would be worth, which is estimated to be $40,000. Silly Carrie, your savings look better on your bank statement than on your feet.

2 Broke Girls

This is basically an entire show about saving money to get a startup off the ground. We could pick up many tips from Max that can be applied to the everyday struggle of first world Gen Ys on how to save while living in the big smoke, for example, proper use of coupons. 

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