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 with financial situations with a lot of grace—and frankly—savvy. In the second episode of the first season the two women struggle to adjust to life after their husbands cut off their credit cards—always a good reminder to have some cash on hand in case of emergency or a sudden change in lifestyle and living arrangements. 

In later seasons, Grace and Frankie delve into various business ventures but once again run into financial troubles when they’re not able to secure a business loan. They eventually secure funding from a family member, a situation many small business owners and entrepreneurs find themselves in. Getting the money you need to start your small business or passion project isn’t always easy, but having a solid business plan and the support of your friends, family, and community can certainly help.

Shameless

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

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

Orange is the New Black

The ladies in Orange is the New Black know the value of a dollar. In season three, we learn from Piper the importance of a side hustle. Finding a way to earn a second income on top of your regular salary can be a great way to save for that vacation or big purchase. Unlike Piper’s example, a legitimate side gig 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 at your favourite store could allow you to save through employee discounts.  Just as long as it’s a legitimate operation that doesn’t involve stolen goods and other questionable practices like Piper, a side hustle is a valuable tool. 

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