One of the things I do only when I’m completely alone in the house is eat salty snacks and watch terrible television. And by terrible television, I’m talking infomercials (excluding exercise ones), reality television shows… basically if it would make the average person publicly roll their eyes, I privately love it.
When I was out of Millionaire Matchmaker and Real Housewives of Orange County episodes to watch this week on Hulu, I decided to branch out. Bank of Mom and Dad on the Soap Channel? Yes please!
The show’s premise is simple. Women in debt get an intervention from their parents and help from personal finance expert Farnoosh Torabi. For a week, the family moves into their grown daughter’s space and controls all her spending. The family gets three sessions with Farnoosh, who shows them how to budget, pay down debt, and otherwise move forward. At the end of the week, the woman in debt goes from whiny to grateful as she understands why there was an intervention and how it will improve her life.
Watching the shows, you meet a woman who spends over $400/month on makeup and another who pays so much for designer clothes that she can’t afford furniture for her apartment. No doubt, these cases are extreme but they do make you think: What would my mom think of what I spend my money on every week? Should I really get a second job if it would allow me to save up some money? What fat can I trim from my budget?
Of course, the biggest question is why is the show just women? I’m guessing it’s the fact that the Soap channel’s primary demographic is women more than anything else but I’ve seen that Farnoosh has a pretty good post at Walletpop about how most overspending is emotionally tied. I think all of us can identify with the former beauty queen who buys her friends birthday cakes when no one else steps up. We think, it’s just money and want to say ‘yes’ more than ‘no’ when it comes to people we care about.
If this show makes a few people think, great. It has made me make some changes myself.
This week, for example, I finally admitted to a collaborator that I couldn’t afford our regular business lunches out. When we meet tomorrow, he’s bringing a sandwich and we’re having our meeting at my house. I’m also looking to get a second job for the summer to supplement my income and allow me to save some money.
All in all, with or without my salt and vinegar chips, I’ve enjoyed my time with Bank of Mom and Dad. Farnoosh is great as a smart, young, well-spoken financial role model and the show helping create a dialog with the woman in debt and her family ensures future success for the show’s participants.
Have you seen the show? If so what do you think?