From science teacher to meth dealer to newly minted money expert, Walter White lives on.

Breaking Bad is over, but that won’t stop millions of viewers from watching reruns like a classroom full of junkies. After all, it’s interesting to watch, in a sinister sort of way, as “Mr. White” transforms into a freaky Mr. Hyde and, in a new twist, gives out financial advice.

Seriously, there are many examples, intentional or not, on how to improve your financial situation – just don’t build a meth lab, run people down with your ugly car or rob any trains.

1. Don’t be afraid to negotiate

As Walter famously says in Season 3, Episode 6: Sunset: “Name one thing in this world that is not negotiable.” He’s right, and the guy should know because he negotiated terms with a gun to his head in the ultra-tension filled Episode 13: Full Measure.  Actually, Walt had two guns to his head as he instructed Jesse to kill his future meth cook replacement before the two thugs killed him. Once the bloody deed was done, Walt had leverage once again – he was the only dude on the planet that could cook that 99% pure blue meth.

Lesson: Don’t kill anyone but don’t be afraid to negotiate either. Whether you’re talking to your creditors or bank representatives if you are having problems paying off your debt or you’re trying to get a better deal on a car – speak up. Even if you’re not in debt, if you want better terms on a credit card, call the creditor and negotiate a deal – they won’t put a gun to your head.

2. Don’t obsess

In the Fly Episode in Season 3 Walter is obsessed over a fly that “might” contaminate his lab and product. Jesse is bugged out because he thinks his partner is losing his mind over a minor detail. Walter won’t sleep, eat, cook more meth or leave the dungeon-like lab until that pesky fly is dead. He becomes so warped that Jessie is forced to spike his coffee with a sleeping aid. And just as Walter falls into La La Land, Jesse kills the evil fly.

Lesson: Don’t obsess over things you can’t control or you may drive yourself insane. Keep your eye on the main goal, whether it’s making more money, getting out of debt or managing your finances better. If you need help, just ask for it — there are services all around you.

3. It’s all about detail

Walter White was all about the details. Just check out the final episode, Felina. He scares the life out of his smug and ungrateful old business partners, makes sure his family is financially fit, kills the Neo Nazi freaks that stole his money with a bad ass M60 machine gun rigged in the trunk of his car, poisons his back stabbing ex-partner Lydia, frees Jessie and dies a satisfied man to a cool Badfinger song.  Epic.

Lesson: Don’t leave any rock unturned. Pull a “Walter White” on your life and get busy tying up any loose ends, including financial and personal. Maybe you’ve been waiting too long to invest money or pay off bills. Get moving – you never know when an M60 will pop out of a car trunk and shred your flimsy financial plans.

4. Quality matters

Walter understood quality and the value of a buck. He cooked a killer product (literally), and the people paid. His philosophy on quality started from the pilot episode: “We are going to make a good product that does what it is supposed to, as advertised. No emulsifiers, no baking powder, no bleach, no chili powder.” No doubt. Cooking the 99% pure blue meth kept Walt blazing with life.

Lesson: Quality of life; quality family time; quality products and services– but paying out the nose for something doesn’t make it a quality product or service. It’s up to you to unearth the 99% pure. Educate yourself before you spend a dime.

5. Choose to succeed

In Season 2 Episode 8, Better Call Saul, Walter gives his troubled brother-in-law Hank some advice:”… get up, get out in the real world and you kick that bastard as hard you can right in the teeth.” Hank is shell shocked after watching his partner’s leg get blown off by a bomb planted by a drug cartel and won’t leave his bedroom. Walt believes he can help; after all he survived cancer, strangled a drug dealer to death and sells the purest meth in the world.  Makes sense.

Lesson: You may never see a friend’s limb get blown to hell, but life definitely screws with everyone. You’re misfortune could be personal, spiritual or financial. Listen to Walter White, don’t give up. Find a way to succeed – if necessary, ask for help.


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Meet the Author

Brian Bienkowski

Brian Bienkowski


Bienkowski is a contributing writer and is the face of's 'By the Numbers' videos.

Budgeting & Saving, College

financial literacy, negotiation

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Article last modified on April 1, 2014 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Breaking Bad: 5 money tips from Walter White - AMP.