Pop culture financial advice

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Money—or a lack thereof—is a big theme in pop culture. From the logistics of how Carrie Bradshaw could afford her New York apartment—not to mention all those shoes—on Sex and the City to the financially-driven decisions made by the White family on Breaking Bad, money plays a role in some of pop culture’s most beloved story lines.

But just because money is portrayed on the silver and the small screen doesn’t mean it’s always handled well. We’ve reviewed the financial strategies of some of our favourite characters to evaluate just how good they actually are with money.

Grace & Frankie

The titular characters in Netflix’s Grace & Frankie have dealt withfinancial situations with a lot of grace—and frankly—savvy. In the secondepisode of the first season the two women struggle to adjust to life aftertheir husbands cut off their credit cards—always a good reminder to have somecash on hand in case of emergency or a sudden change in lifestyle and livingarrangements. 

In later seasons, Grace and Frankie delveinto various business ventures but once again run into financial troubles whenthey’re not able to secure a business loan. They eventually secure funding froma family member, a situation many small business owners and entrepreneurs findthemselves in. Getting the money you need to start your small business orpassion project isn’t always easy, but having a solid business plan and thesupport of your friends, family, and community can certainly help.


Money is arguably an unnamed main characteron Shameless. Finances are often theprimary driver of many of the show’s plot lines and story arcs. From the entirefamily chipping in and embodying an entrepreneurial spirit to keep the lightson, to Fiona’s ability to make a dollar stretch and feed a family of six, thereare also a few important lessons to be learned from the Gallagher clan. 

One lesson is the importance of setting ahousehold budget. Knowing what your monthly bills will cost and how much incomeyou have coming in will make things a lot less stressful when it’s time to payup. Download our free household budgeting sheet if you need a bit ofhelp getting started. 

Orange is the New Black

The ladies in Orange is the New Black know the value of a dollar. In seasonthree, we learn from Piper the importance of a side hustle. Finding a way toearn a second income on top of your regular salary can be a great way to savefor that vacation or big purchase. Unlike Piper’s example, a legitimate sidegig can not only earn you extra money, but help you in other ways as well. For example, walking your neighbours' dogs could help you fit in your daily workouts, or a job atyour favourite store could allow you to save through employee discounts.  Just as long as it’s a legitimate operationthat doesn’t involve stolen goods and other questionable practices like Piper,a side hustle is a valuable tool. 

In the most recent season, goods areused as currency as resources become harder to come by within the walls ofLitchfield prison. Some characters were able to harness their entrepreneurialstreak to make a few extra bucks—or in this case, snacks—while others were ableto save a little for a rainy day. This speaks to the importance of planning ahead for thefuture. You just never know when you might need to dip into your reserves toweather a crisis.