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Big Spender: The Biggest Spender of All

Recently I watched an episode of Big Spender about Joanie and Josh, a young married couple that's starting out on the wrong financial foot. Joanie's the definition of a spendthrift and has been dishonest with her husband about how much debt she's acquired. Larry Winget comes to rescue the couple with a plan to get them talking about their money and rid themselves of debt.

Joanie's mom has been doing everything she can to help the couple stay afloat, but in a way she has served as an enabler to their debt cycle. She gave her daughter a $30,000 loan — that Josh didn't know about — and has moved in to her own mother's home so that the couple could live in her apartment. They live there rent free and don't even pay utilities. If they were using the expense free life to build up their savings, that would be one thing, but they actually have no savings at all.

To find out how much Joanie has been spending at the mall just

Have you ever heard of a 26 year-old journalist organizing their closet by designer? Meet Joanie — after taking inventory of her closet it's evident that she has $600,000 worth of clothes and shoes! Larry says that her collection of clothes and shoes is the worst case of frivolous spending he's ever seen. That kind of money could have been used to purchase a home, but they can't even afford to live in the kind of apartments they'd like to rent.

Larry puts them on a "no excuses" budget that includes completely cutting Joanie's shopping habit, getting a joint checking account to prevent any money secrets, not eating out, and putting more money towards savings and debt repayment. They do a great job at following this budget and Joanie says that she feels much more free and not so guilty.

This episode made me think about the worth of my closet and my shopping habits. Could the value of the contents of your closet have been used to buy a home, like Joanie?


Join The Conversation
shanimalcracker shanimalcracker 9 years
I love my BCBG clothing and Kate Spade bags, but I would never let myself go into debt. I have never paid less than the balance for my credit cards; just because you have credit doesn't mean you don't have to eventually pay for it. It's too bad that some people are so caught up in appearances that they will allow their lives to go in this direction.
chancleta chancleta 9 years
some people really have a problem man i wish my mom had so much bank she could let me live at her crib rent free!
ehadams ehadams 9 years
This reminds me of Carrie from Sex & the City!
SDTransplant SDTransplant 9 years
I love to shop too and indulge my whims when I can, but I also make sure to contribute to my retirement account every month first! This couple is crazy, and the wife's mom is crazy for enabling her debt. These people clearly have no clue that we're heading into a recession and need to tighten our budgets...
writergal8 writergal8 9 years
It's not nice to overspend. It's good to buy nice things, but you aren't supposed to buy tons and tons of it. We North Americans are spoiled by the fact that we have lots of space. Even the smallest New York apartments often have bigger closet space than apartments of the equivalent size in Europe or Asia. That's what the mom should be teaching.
julieulie julieulie 9 years
This makes me feel so much better about myself, haha. I've been hitting up all the online sales this month and raking in a lot of packages, and I keep trying to sneak home from work before my fiance so he doesn't see them, but we're talking about $100 in clothes from Banana, not thousands and thousands of dollars of designer clothes. Plus, it all goes onto my AmEx which I pay off in full each month with my money, not from our joint account, so I don't think it is a big deal. Besides, starting next week my fiance will be home full time to intercept any packages before I get home, so my online shopping has sadly come to an end.
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
wow this is crazy! I would LOVE to live rent free for a few months, pay off some bills and save up. Won't happen but I can dream! I can't imagine squandering away that kind of chance. bummer
flutterpie flutterpie 9 years
seeing people like this me feel better about my shopping habits and why would anyone need 600,000 worth of clothes unless they go to events every single day of the week. crazy.
angelfromlsu angelfromlsu 9 years
I think too much designer duds at one time looks awful. I have a few extremely nice things which I mix in with my vintage and Banana Republic stuff.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 9 years
Oh, and I would NEVER trade my house payment for clothes. I don't care how pretty they are.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 9 years
Joanie's mom could've used some parenting lessons...instead she gives her daughter MORE money to hang herself with. AND a free place to live. I wonder if she's learned her lesson or if her children will end up in the same situation?
colormesticky colormesticky 9 years
I think I own one designer bag, and it was a gift. I'm hard on my stuff, I'm not going to blow hundreds on something I'm only going to destroy.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
Haha no! Not buy a home! I have a lot fo great quality clothes...but it's not lined with Gucci and Prada! I have a few super expensive thigns here and my LV purse...but nothing too outrageous.
gigill gigill 9 years
I don't know if it could buy a home, but it's a pretty decent sized/decent quality wardrobe. I'm not into designers though and my wallet thanks me for it!
emalove emalove 9 years
Wow...I can't imagine being in debt like that.
RosaDilia RosaDilia 9 years
Wow amazing! She really took advantage of the fact that she doesn't pay any rent and utilities.
freegracefrom freegracefrom 9 years
WOW. This completely blows my mind. To be so much in debt even though you don't have to pay for rent/utilities!? So much waste...
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
No, but my rent money could have been an easy down payment.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Wow...what is wrong with them?!
SkinnyMarie SkinnyMarie 9 years
No. There are the morons who make our average debt so outrageous.
paramita paramita 9 years
Whew... I hope not! I know I don't spend that much money on clothing and shoes. However I do realize that I have the tendency to be a big spender as well because my love of the finer things in life. I'm learning to control that by getting myself more financial education so I could know my limit better.
scorpstar77 scorpstar77 9 years
Um. HELL, no. I own one pair of Manolo Blahniks, and those were a birthday gift from my husband back when we were still dating; they're the only piece of "designer" clothing I own. I don't want to say that I'm a tightwad, because I will spend money on things that will last a long time both in durability and style, or on cute, supportive shoes (I have terrible foot problems, and Danskos seem to be the remedy - that means $120-200 a pair). However. Even those great, durable items are things that I will search high and low for to get on sale, and I only need a few, and they don't have to have a particular name on the label to be good-looking and durable. For the rest of my wardrobe, especially things that wear out quickly or go out of style after a season (jeans, trendy tops, purses, etc.), you will find me at Target or Old Navy or in the sale dept of Ann Taylor LOFT. Plus I have a good friend who works for Ann Taylor, so if I let her buy something for me and I pay her back, she can get me an additional 40% employee discount, which I am not at all ashamed to use. This spending - people seeming to think they're entitled to be able to buy designer labels no matter what their income - is an illness in this country, I think.
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