A look at characters that can't seem to stop emptying their wallets, and as a result, suffer the consequences.
Fictional characters are supposed to have flaws. Perfection is boring, and there wouldn’t be many conflicts to resolve if every person in a movie or TV show made all the right decisions.
If you’re a money-conscious person, you’ve probably noticed that some of your favorite fictional personas are atrociously irresponsible with their finances. Most of the time those bad habits are only there to help flesh out the character — but sometimes they become a major, recurring plot point that drastically affects the character’s future.
Carrie Bradshaw — “Sex and the City”
Carrie’s shoe obsession is part of her personality, but it isn’t presented as a character flaw until season four. When her apartment goes co-op, her ex-fiance buys it out from under her. Our Prada-loving protagonist tries to buy it back, but of course she doesn’t have the money — and doesn’t qualify for a loan due to her paltry savings.
Distraught, Carrie tells her BFF Miranda, “What happened to my money? I know I made some.”
Miranda explains to her that her 100-pair stash of $400 designer shoes equals the amount of her down payment. Fortunately, Charlotte lends Carrie her old diamond engagement ring to use for her down payment.
Takeaway: Whether your weakness is a pair of Manolo Blahnik’s or a new car, always set aside money for the future. You never know when you’ll need it.
Rebecca Bloomwood — “Confessions of a Shopaholic”
Rebecca Bloomwood’s shopping is on another level. The twenty-something journalist is obsessed with the latest designer styles and racks up thousands in credit card debt due to her shopaholic tendencies.
Not only does Rebecca spend more than she earns, she spends money compulsively, as evident in a scene at Shopaholics Anonymous where she describes how nothing in the world feels as good as buying something new.
Ironically, Rebecca also works at a personal finance magazine where her colleagues don’t know the extent of her financial problems. Eventually, a debt collector confronts her during a TV interview and she loses her job.
Takeaway: If you feel like you can’t control your spending, it’s time to cut up those credit cards. Use a debit card when you go out or only keep a certain amount of cash on your person.
Tom Haverford — “Parks and Recreation”
Tom Haverford has many iconic moments, but his “treat yo self” day has to be among the best. Once a year, he and co-worker Donna Meagle embark on an endless shopping spree, splurging on designer clothing, fragrances, accessories, and essentially, whatever they want no matter the price. Having a treat day once a year is OK, but Tom takes it to new levels.
Oh, and Tom also seems to have a spending problem the other 364 days of the year.
When his friend Jean Ralphio comes into some money from insurance fraud, the two decide to start a production company — Entertainment 720. Buoyed by their new fortune, the pair rent a hangar space for their office, hire models to work as receptionists for $150,000 a year, and employ NBA players Roy Hibbert and Detlef Shrempf to play basketball around the office. The business closes shortly thereafter, and Tom has to return to his old job at the parks department.
Takeaway: Starting a new business is hard, and it can take a few years to turn a profit. During that time, spend as little as possible on overhead. And if you feel the need to make a spontaneous major purchase, consider treating yourself to something small every day instead.
Cersei Lannister — “Game of Thrones”
The Lannisters are known as one of the wealthiest families on “Game of Thrones.” But in season four, Tywin Lannister, patriarch of the family, reveals that their gold mines have been dry over the past three years and that they owe the Iron Bank a “substantial amount.”
That doesn’t stop Cersei Lannister, Queen Mother, from spending gold like crazy. When the debt reaches an insurmountable sum, she decides to stop paying the Iron Bank altogether.
This is what eventually drives the Iron Bank to fund the Lannisters’ enemy, Stannis Baratheon, in the hopes of regaining their principal. Not only does Cersei’s debt end up affecting the whole country, it endangers the throne she cares so much about. This is like defaulting on a business loan, causing the bank to fund your biggest competitor out of spite.
Takeaway: If you’re going to take out a loan, you have to pay it back. No matter how hard it is or how much you’re struggling, you can’t avoid paying. Take a cue from the other, more responsible Lannisters who abide by the motto: “A Lannister always pays their debts.”
Lorelai Gilmore – “Gilmore Girls”
Lorelai is one of the few examples of single motherhood on television. After getting pregnant at 16, she raises her daughter Rory by herself and opens a successful inn. All in all, her life looks pretty good on paper.
Despite this, money problems continue to haunt Lorelai. She has to mend fences with her parents in order to get money for Rory’s private high school tuition. She also needs her mother to co-sign a loan for a home repair and borrows money from her friend Luke to finish construction on her new inn.
But Lorelai’s financial trouble could easily be solved by doing one thing: eating at home. During every episode of “The Gilmore Girls,” Lorelai and Rory eat out at least once and sometimes twice a day. They often have breakfast at Luke’s diner and order takeout for dinner. By buying groceries, cooking, and eating at home, Lorelai could probably afford to pay for Rory’s tuition with money to spare.
Takeaway: Even small purchases add up quickly. Consider that even spending an extra $10 every day adds up to over $10,000 in less than three years. Before you head out to your favorite diner for breakfast, consider making the same meal at home.
Article last modified on July 25, 2017. Published by Debt.com, LLC .