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Three Ways Reality TV Could Be Leading You to Real-World Debt

Could reality television be to blame for the overwhelming amount of personal debt carried by many Canadians across the country? Although, at first, the idea may seem a little far-fetched, it’s certainly not hard to see how these popular shows can have a lasting impact on your spending behaviours and habits. Here are three ways that reality television could be leading you to your own real-world debt., as well as how your family can  combat reality show debt.

1.) Home renovation madness

Reality television is rife with home renovation shows in which families labour together to create their dream home, while also managing to keep their credit score intact. This may be ‘reality television’, but it’s not really reality. Although sprucing up your home might add to the value of your investment, home renovations are costly and need to be planned in advance in order to avoid overspending and potentially adding to your family’s consumer debt burden. If you find yourself inspired by the next home reno show you watch, bring it up at your next Family Annual Meeting. An honest discussion about whether an updated bathroom or new deck could be incorporated in your family’s overall financial plan can help you to avoid the “HGTV effect”,  as well as stay financially on track.

2.) Dream weddings

When it comes to reality show weddings, bigger is always better, despite the fact that bigger often leads to financial problems for the happy couple. For many reality show couples, breaking the budget is par for the course. Overspending in order to create the perfect day is almost expected. For real-life couples, reality is different. Budgeting for your wedding (and sticking to the budget) ensures that you won’t spend more than you intended. It’s also a good way for you and your partner to creating and maintaining a budget as a team, ensuring that you will also have a happy financial future ahead.

3.) Children’s spending expectations

Adults are not the only ones susceptible to the power of reality show overspending and reality show debt. Many children who watch reality shows about lavish birthday parties or the lifestyles of wealthy teens could expect their own families to follow suit and spend, spend, spend. Avoid these unrealistic expectations by using these shows as an opportunity to discuss money and debt with your children. Consider watching the shows with your child and then discussing them afterwards.  By helping them to see that the spending habits exhibited by reality show stars could lead to money and debt problems in real-life, you’ll be teaching them a valuable lesson about money management and likely help them to develop healthy spending habits in the future.

Realizing the effect that reality television has on your family’s spending habits and debt is the first step. Working together to avoid the impact of reality show debt is the next. Whether you work together as a family in order to create a budget (and stick to it no matter what!) or visit a trustee in bankruptcy or credit counsellor if you are already struggling with the debt you have acquired, you’ll be taking the necessary steps to stop debt problems from becoming a reality for you and your family.

Do you think that reality shows can lead to real-world debt? How do you avoid the temptation of #realityshowdebt. Share your thoughts with BDO Barrie!

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