10 Lessons from the Downsized TV Show

Posted by Madison on November 8, 2010

I caught the first episode of the new Downsized show on WE TV on Saturday night.

The Downsized show was about a family, the Bruces, who were struggling to make ends meet. Their home was foreclosed on, as was their investment condo, and they went through their savings and 401k, when the Downsized show catches up with them.

I was anticipating the show, since I still maintain my secret desire in the back of my mind to voluntarily downsize. Obviously, it isn’t voluntary for this family, since they’ve filed bankruptcy and are using food stamps, but I did watch the whole show.

After watching the show, here are some lessons that we can all take away from the family, and implement now!

Downsized TV Money Tips

  • Save As Much as You Can. The family said in good times they brought in $1.5 million per year when the dad was a general contractor. Saving even half of that instead of spending it would probably mean they would have a very different life right now.
  • Know How Much You Spend. The family claimed they use to spend $15,000-$18,000 per month. Based on their income and lack of savings, I think if they went back and actually looked at how much they were spending, it must have been way more than that. Otherwise, where did the rest of the money go?
  • Don’t Use Money to Deal with Emotions. The Bruce family admitted to using money to ease the transition after they got married and blended their families. Just think how much money they could have saved if they would have dealt with their emotions in another way.
  • Emergency Fund. While they said they did go through their savings, they clearly didn’t have enough in emergency savings. Think about your own situation right now, if you became unemployed in January, would you wish you would have spent less on holiday shopping? Just something to think about.
  • Make Energy Efficient Changes. The Bruce family installed a water saving device to cut down on their shower times for their seven kids. Consider some energy efficient changes now to save some money.
  • Educate Your Kids on Money. The kids are (obviously) stressed when their parents tell them they are behind on rent. The kids also talk about how they used to spend money and not care about it. It’s important to educate kids on money all the time, not just when things go bad.
  • Change Adds Up. Saving all of your extra change can really add up. The family cashed in their change bank for $186. Don’t overlook the small things in your budget; when things are tight, it can make a big difference, even if you are not on Downsized WE TV.
  • Save on Groceries. Clipping coupons and watching sales can really put a big dent in your grocery bill. It’s not something you want to overlook.
  • Dumpster Diving. The kids went dumpster diving to gather recyclables to turn into cash. Obviously, that’s extreme, but if you have the option of turning in your own recyclables for money, it’s something to consider instead of just putting them out on the curb.
  • Sell Stuff. One of the kids sells his baseball glove for cash. We all have stuff laying around the house that you can sell on ebay.

The teasers for the upcoming episode show that the family will likely be looking to downsize again. I was expecting that since I’m watching Downsized tv. Although, it will be interesting to see how it turns out for the family.

The Downsized TV show airs on WE TV at 8pm CST.

Did you watch the Downsized TV show? What do you think?

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Comments to 10 Lessons from the Downsized TV Show

  1. This sounds like a good show to check out. I don’t even know if I have WE TV. Never watched anything on it before. It might be worth it!

    Chris Gagner @ SmartPF

    • I was watching your show about the hospital bill,s and how they were going to pay them.Don,t you know that you can pay them as little as 50.00 a month and it will not ruin your credit as long as you are giving them something there is not a thing they can do about it i have done it this way for years with it not affecting my credit try it .

      larry maxwell

      • Hey!

        I agree-especially with hospital bills-you can pay even $10.00/mth, and there’s really nothing the creditors can do about it because they see that you are sending in SOMETHING. They, too realize the severe state of the economy right now. I’m wondering what did they do with the money that they received from the show? At the beginning of this season, they said they paid some things down or even off, and I know they have a huge family….but I guess it really does prove that the economy is no joke….people think when you make money that EVERYTHING will be resolved with one pay check…um, NOT SO MUCH…and about where they live (in response to previous posts!): it may be in an “upscale” suburban area of AZ-but I’m a parent as well, and I DO value where my daughter lives, too. I totally understand if the Bruce family still want their children to live in a decent area…anything else they are doing is their business…but please don’t knock them if they are living in a decent area….they still look as if they are trying to hold on to at least ONE thing they want to hang on to-and that looks like the nice rental house…so what if it’s in a nice area? If you were a parent, wouldn’t you sacrifice a little just to be able to know and feel comfortable at least a LITTLE (I mean comfortable mentally, not financially!!)-wouldn’t you feel comfortable knowing that you may very well be struggling, but at least your children are still in a decent area?? I know I would.


  2. How can you be making $1.5M and struggling to make ends meet. That doesn’t make sense to all to me.


    • Todd’s company made 1.5 million a year. When you own a business you need to always put money back into it. The phrase “it takes money to make money” didn’t come from nowhere. If you work for yourself it is a constant money pit. He had a construction business and if he hired legal workers he had to pay workers comp, insurance, and salaries….he didn’t pocket 1.5 I assure you. He also seems like the type to run a legal business.


    • How about the money they made from the first saeson of the show. How can they qualify for any govt assistance!


  3. They said that he took in 1.5 mil a year in his business not that he made that much (or took home) that means they made that much from clients but have to pay labor for employees, benefits, taxes, equpiment costs. So his take home pay was probably more like 250k. Which would have their spending at about 215k being higher than it should have been but not totally unreasonable. Have 6 teenagers in california is very expensive!


    • Good catch Meg! That makes much more sense.

      Although, it’s definitely too bad they didn’t save more when they were making more.


  4. NBC Nightly News is showing stories all this week about downsizing. Might be worth a look.

    Mr. Mike

    • Good tip Mr. Mike! I’ll have to check it out.


  5. Just to clarify, the family is living in Anthem Arizona, a master planned suburb community north of Phoenix.


  6. Ok here’s the elephant in the room that no one will talk about and or explain to me. What if everyone in the country decided to cut back and only spend the absolute bear minimum? I mean cut right down to the bone beans and rice old beat up clunkers I mean the whole 9 yards! Just think about it. The numbers of unemployed people in the country would be far worst and the nmbers of prisons would explode off the charts. Sorry but I don’t buy the line about saving would improve the economy. I move freight such is money on a daily bases and if people would stop buying things that would hurt truckers which would cause us to either go on the unemployment rolls or go on strike. Or it would invite the government to come up with laws to force cash out of the peoples hands (something they steady do called deductions). I know it may look good on the stock market if we did but what I see is a system where money must move which is called velocity (something the media don’t talk about anymore. If I’m wrong I’ll take the criticism but in my mind I see money must move for our nation to be great as it is. For the system to correct itself those who have done this nationwide terrorist of our financial system must be thrown in jail not be allowed to get away with theft but instead punished so that other countries will have faith in our markets. If they see us as not punishing those who broke the law then we are just a den of thieves whose markets cannot be trusted. And if you have a system where no one gets away with scams and people casually save up without worry you have a system where people can have jobs. Yes yes I understand rainy days thunderstorms etc but for the most part I see money must move or else the system breaks down.


    • Tom,
      I agree that it is important that money is spent to help support the nations economy but if you spend beyond your means and file for bankruptcy, lose your home and go on assistance it is our nation that pays for your downfall. And who do you think pays for all of their mistakes we do we all do. Bottom line is these people will never know the true meaning of cutting expenses. It is important to support our economy but its more important to know your limitations because not doing so leaves americans paying for the unnecessary handouts.


      • I see so many people in Wal-mart who should not be on assistance. They have their hair done and nails done with nice clothes and really nice cars. The system is abbused and should be shut down or fixed. I lost my job once and went in to get help with my utilities and I could not get help because I had made money, but there were people in there with designer jeans and designer handbags with fake nails…they qualified. Our country cannot continue this way. I had to go without insurance while people I know get it for free on the us “the government” This drives me crazy.


  7. I think it’s a great show- I am thrilled that it shows something closer to reality than all of those annoying housewives/plastic surgery/bachelor shows that I can’t even stand the commercials for.
    I also want to throw out there that, along with someone’s point regarding the fact that your business making 1.5 million does not mean that you take home 1.5 mill, they blew through their savings not just trying to maintain their lifestyle, but trying to make payroll & keep their business afloat. When you own your own business, having an emergency fund can also mean having enough to pay employee salaries in bad times. It is a much more complicated scenario to have multiple employees than it is to be an employee & only have to be responsible for your own family’s finances. Being a business owner myself it is not at all hard to see how one would try everything to keep a business afloat & keep paying my employees.


  8. I am not normally a cynical person but this show is a complete waste of time. Watch an episode and you won’t be left feeling sorry for the parents.
    The mom is wearing diamond Chanel earrings in one scene and telling the dad “there’s nothing else for us to sell” when they are $300 short on their rent. So their kids go dumpster diving and one son sells his baseball glove. Again- diamond Chanel earrings!
    They meet with a financial planner and you discover they are still spending like $6,500 a month. $1700 on their rent,$145 for the 10 year old to take cheerleading lessons and $500 a month eating out.
    Plus we, the American Public, get to pay for their food stamps and other assistance.
    The kids have to pay their own cell phone bills too.
    So what are the blowing $4,800 a month on? The mom’s a teacher and likely has insurance through the school district. The dad isn’t saving anything for taxes.
    $4,800 a month that they are pissing away is twice what I spend a month on all of my bills (including- house, car, insurance, etc).
    Am I wrong to be disgusted?


    • Sheila, I was wondering the same thing after I watched the second episode… where exactly is all the money going?

      I wish they would have shown us a breakdown on their budget.


      • Madison- No kidding- I was listening pretty closely because I was interested in that too. All the Financial Planner broke down was the $1700/month in rent. $500 for eating out, $145 for cheerleading per month for the 10 year old. and I think $60+ for cable.
        He mentioned some other assistance they were on too but I didn’t catch the name.
        I am not trying to be mean here but it sounds almost like they declared bankruptcy and then went back to their old tricks. The Financial Planner talked about their credit cards being “maxed out”. Mostly likely they would have been in the original bankruptcy filing wouldn’t they? So does this mean they ran them back up and maxed them out again?
        Plus shame on the Mom- you are $300 short on rent but you can justify “gourmet coffee”. I get the impression she is stopping at Starbucks regularily. You need the caffeine- fine, make a pot at home, put it in your thermos and take it with you!
        Also- did they have to pay the financial planner? He didn’t strike me as being one of the free financial assistance types. Seriously- my 12 year old understands how to calculate a budget and these college educated adults couldn’t figure it out?
        I think the show is supposed to tug at our heartstrings, but I think it’s just going to frustrate people.


      • I heard the same thing about the coffee and I had to share:
        I’m a royal coffee snob. I actually think starburnt isn’t so great either so I buy:
        1.) A French press coffee pot (easy to find at thrift shops)French press coffee is strong but not bitter, so it’s a much cheaper alternative to espresso.
        2.) gourmet coffee at a store like Ross, TJ Maxx, Marshall’s- they sell really great coffee like Godiva, Kahlua, and others CHEAP! Plus keeping a bag of coffee in the drawer makes your desk smell great 😉

        And of course – save the leftover coffee in the fridge for iced coffee drinks.


      • I agree!! I wrote the network and told them to restructure their show and find a family that is REALLY going through fiancial problems.. I’m from Arizona and the area they come from is a “ritzy” part.. So the network told me that they picked them because they represent the families having struggles.. RIGHT…


    • Sweet Jesus thank you SHeila! I was wondering if anyone besides me was going to notice those darn Chanel earrings! How are you going to let your son sell his glove but you have those earrings on in every episode! Wait, I know, I bet they were her mothers, and they have sentimental value, like the MERCEDES! Ya, that’s it. What about the house they found to rent for less than 1000, it was too small. That house they are renting is their way of deceiving theirselves, and their neighbors, by living in a Mcmansion they can NOT afford! That house is gorgeous, and is not a good representation of someone actually trying to cut back. Do I need to mention Starbucks? It helps with my MS, I know ood helps my kids survive, but I need my designer coffee! GAG ME! There are days I don’t have $ to buy that stupid cup he bought her, much less the coffee to make and put in the cup!


    • Sheila, I noticed the jewelry, too. That engagement ring looks pretty big. Mine’s tiny, and it is worth $4,000, which would pay their rent for two months. Maybe she already replaced it with a cubic zirconium, but guessing from how she squanders money and feels entitled to do so, she hasn’t given up her expensive diamond. I am LIVID that they are on FOOD STAMPS and they waste $500/month on RESTAURANTS! They have NO SHAME. Use the money you EARN money to feed the family, not GOVERNMENT money. I don’t feel sorry for them at all, they seem to WANT to live on the street. They limit showers, but then you see Heather washing her car, when it wasn’t even dirty. They just can’t learn what money is and how to use it. They are making fools of themselves, showing how delusional they are, and how they deserve nothing of what they get in assistance.


      • Linda- the food stamps while blowing $500 a month eating out was another point that really irked me. How do you justify that? You send you daugther to the store to get $20 worth of food and find there is only $2 left out your food stamp allotment- so what did they do? Order Pizza?
        I seriously doubt that high maintenance princess would swap out her diamond for cz. This show is such a train wreck. I am slightly embarrassed that I am still watching it but I can’t wait to see what other foolishness they get in to.


      • OMG Sheila, not to turn this into a chatroom, but I know exactly how you feel! I am appalled at my interest, but I justify it by telling myself that I am learning how other people think and act differently than you and I. We both know that credit is not a gift, nor is it a right. We both understand that we need to earn the money that we use, not steal, beg or borrow. These people don’t understand any of that, and they wouldn’t agree, even if they COULD comprehend. They fly by the seat of their pants, and refuse to learn to be responsible. P.S. Declaring bankruptcy is all too common an out for frivolous spenders, even if they own a business. Live within your means! ALWAYS.


      • This show drives me crazy! The kids are paying for their mistakes. So, maybe Dad was too proud to take rent money from her Mom, but why couldn’t they pay for the kids stuff – baseball and cheerleader camp? Most teams will let you pay less or play for free if you can’t afford it. The boys really like baseball – they look old enough to umpire – which would pay for their registration. Bruce is so worried about the stress on Laura – again – too proud to accept help from family but not from the gov. And (this really made me upset) how could she let that poor girl go to the store with the food card and not know exactly how much money was left?? SHE wasn’t in the store being embarrassed in front of her friends. One last thing – one of the girls gets a car? And no one else can drive it? Well thanks but you can leave it at Grandma’s because it would be too unfair to everybody else!!! OK, really one last thing – they take the cable and internet away from the kids and expect them to spend the whole summer doing? Has anyone suggested that the kids get involved in something that doesn’t cost money – like the library where you can use the computers for free, and you can rent movies, and take out books and etc etc. I just think it is so unfair to expect the kids to go without and then not give them something to do. Cleaning with Mom and putting flyers with dad isn’t it. AND – why isn’t she tutoring?


      • I do not know how they qualify for foos stamps.
        I am eleigle for 2 hundred a month and my toatal income is $674. I have to pay 630 for rent.
        That leaves me $44 for other expensives.

        spending $500 eating out is horible most famlies do not have that for food.
        I do not like the mom she puts her self first in my opinion and pretends to care for the kids first.
        she could have sent her daughter to her prom and gave up expensive coffee.
        They have great kids.

        frugal diva 777

    • Oh my goodness, you are so right. Did you check out the diamond ring the mother is wearing. There are people that are seriously losing everything and it hard to put real food on the table. So what you are not able to give the children cheer camp. The boys won’t be able to play baseball for 200 dollars and summer. So freaken what. You have a whole baseball teaM IN THE HOUSE. LET THEM PLAY WITH EACH OTHER. WHEN YOU ARE HUNGRY CHANEL EARRING WONT FEED YOU. YOUR DAUGHTER WANTED TO GO TO PROM. IF YOU FELT SO BAD. TAKE THAT BIG ASS RING OFF PAWN IT. YOU COULD PROBABLY GET $4000.00 FOR THE RING. IT WOULD HOLD YOU OVER UNTIL YOU GOT WORK. YOU STILL WOULD HAVE THE BAND AND THE LOVE OF YOUR HUSBAND. I AM SICKEN BY THE SELFISHNESS OF T HE MOTHER. AND A TIP. YOU START MAKING COFFE DRINK WITH A WHOLE CUP OF COFFEE, NOT A HALF. GET A RECIPE BOOK. YOU CAN SAVE ALOT OF MONEY.


    • Sheila, we’re followers of the show and the earrings the mom is wearing are $5 knockoffs. Also, feeding and clothing 7 kids take a lot of money but they are really finding ways of saving. They’re rent alone for a house big enough is $1,700 so that’s most of their budget. It’s a great show and shows the struggle of American families going thru a tough time as we all are.


      • Lori- I have to respectfully disagree with you regarding “they are finding great ways of saving”. I watched this trainwreck of a show again this weekend. The month wasn’t even half over and they had already blown over $500 on eating out. That’s not the kind of thing a family that is trying to dig themselves out of a giant hole of debt would or should be doing.
        My husband spent 6 months of 2008 unemployed and the first 8 months of 2009 unemployed. I was unemployed all of 2009. So I may be a little over critical of them. But never once did we ask for or receive any assistance beyond unemployment benefits. We had to give up a lot over the years- going to the movies, eating out, new clothes, etc. So to see them getting assistance in the form of food stamps and still spending over $500 in two weeks on eating out is insulting.


      • Hi Lori,
        I have to agree with Sheila. They are NOT finding adequate ways of living within their means. They are clearly thinking that they deserve more than what they have, and they use other people’s money (public food assistance) to continue to live in the way in which they have become accustomed. There are families with no cable, no cell phones and no luxuries who refuse to take public assistance until the point where they are almost homeless. These people are pushing the limit, and insisting that they will never be homeless by any fault of their own. It is arrogant and irresponsible. Have some pride, and TRY to get by. THEN ask for assistance.


      • Has anyone noticed all the underarmour shirts? Even if they are somehow a sponser it really looks bad to me.


    • I absolutely agree. How do you feel sorry for a family living in a beautiful house, driving a Mercedes and a new van. Everyone has cell phones, they have new furniture, etc. They are not portraying a hard done by family who is suffering. I was hoping to learn something from this and ended up feeling disgusted and wishing I had it that “bad”


    • I was almost screaming at the TV about those earrings! The kids sells his (actually useful) baseball glove and the mom kept her earrings? What is wrong with her?


    • I agree. These people make me sick. We know this family. They live in a 4500 square foot home in a HIGH income neighborhood, drive brand new cars, go out to eat several times a week. Their kids are always dressed in the latest fashions, have brand new bikes, memberships at the local clubs etc. The wife dresses in the latest fashions and ALWAYS shows up in diamonds. NO SYMPATHY. They are totally pathetic.


      • I agree John.. Also, has money to dye her hair and get her teeth whitened..


  9. This mother just slays me!!! Expensive coffie when she could make her own at home, and take a thermos, (and yes, she can survive on just plain if she needs to stay awake!)Then she drops a bombshell that she blew a $1000 bonus on new clothes, without even talking it over first! Where does she plan on putting the new clothes when they are living in their cars? She could have bought a few things second-hand if absolutely a necessity. She even had the nerve to sneer at her $39000. a year job. What a spoiled brat!! Heaven help this man and these kids.


  10. This is total BS, because they are being paid very will for the show. So how is this real..


    • And she was wearing a Tiffany necklace, wearing CAbi clothes, and still driving a mercedes! I don’t think this is a real situation at all!


      • I was wondering if anyone else caught that Tiffany & Co Necklace she wears AND the daughter has one on as well…


  11. This was the most stupid “downsizing” show! The mother spent nearly an entire episode discussing the merits of keeping her 10 yr old daughter in a cheerleading camp, with a cost of $145.00 a month, when the family can’t even pay their mortgage and the other children were dumpster diving. Seriously? Get a REAL family who is struggling – one where the kids aren’t all walking around with cell phones, the mother knows not only how to put a vacuum cleaner together, but actually knows how to USE it, and where they don’t have a cuisanart, high end coffee maker, AND multiple lap top computers. Get real! This is a phony *poor* family!


  12. Today is the first time I watched this show, I am very angry with these people! I am a 38 year old single mom of 21 years, ages 21 to 6. I have worked so hard all of my life to even put food on the table. They talk about how much money they are bring in the house and what they are feeling bad about giving up! Please live my life for one week! The most I have ever grossed in a year is 16 thousand dollars. My children and I have lived in as small as a 1 bedroom apartment, get a grip! Laura felt bad when Bailey didn’t go to prom, how about when your 5th grader has to do a sience project for school that is a big part of the grade for the year and doesn’t tell you he needs a board to present it on and fails? He didn’t tell me because he knew I didn’t have the $5 it took to get it, tell me that doesn’t break your heart as a mother! My children have had it hard but has made it who they are today. My 21 year old son has a good job and moved out on his own for the first time recently. My 19 year old daughter the same. I just recently moved in with my boyfriend and do not work at the moment yes he can support me my two younger boys him and his daughter but we have all given up a few things to be able to make it. His daughter reminds me of a few of the people on this show and reminds me daily how much she use to have untill I came into the picture! With the “Dad use to give me money everyday” and “I can’t do anything I want anymore because of you people moving in” Sorry that I have gone on and on about me but I am so mad at these people and this show, give up a little more! Make these kids people that aren’t going to always think of them selves!


  13. While it is appalling to watch this family and their pathetic attempts to downsize, it is real. I know people who are going through the same things, forclosure of home & loss of job yet continue to drive their $60K car and wear their bling. The entitlement of Americana is made blantantly obvious in this show. The financial advisor tried to make this clear by stating how difficult things will be when they are living in a “van down by the river” (SNL quote). But all the mother can do is cry about how she is not a bad mother, she NEEDS her $5 day coffee habit. These things like her coffee and kids camps are WANTS not NEEDS. Someone needs to show them Maslow’s Heirarchy and remind them that food and shelter are the only NEEDs they have and all else is a bonus in this world.

    Sheila K

  14. Well…..not to completely BASH, they did put themselves out there on this show. And for those of you that don’t know, you’re not paid for something like this until AFTER it airs.

    I actually DO think they represent a lot of people. Sure not destitude folks that have nothing and never did, but those that worked hard, built a business and weren’t very smart with the money that they DID make. Too interested in keeping up with the jones.

    I know, because I was in the trap…for quite a while. New car every couple of years, $5 a day in coffee, lunches out, dinners, etc… you NAME IT. WE did it.

    I’d never think of doing that now, EVER. And now we can. That’s the big mind shift that happened to us.

    I could pay for someone to clean my house, but I am not.

    I am thankful we learned from our mistakes and watching others make even worse mistakes.


    • Mia, with all due respect you make it sound like they “put themselves out there” for free. I have a hard time taking serious any show that tries exploits the plight of a struggling family. Like most reality shows I have no doubt that most of this is fake or dramatized for television. Also, this show would have you believe they aren’t taking a significant paycheck from WE television. Let’s use some common sense people. You’re not struggling if you have your own reality show.


  15. Why are the kids not out every afternoon looking for work? I’m not sure how old they are, but at about 12 you can start babysitting, and get real work at 15. Admittedly it might be hard to get, but we don’t see them trying! Where are the paper routes? Mowing lawns? Except for the little girl, they all seem old enough to work. Also, the idea that a teenage child cannot cook one night a week for the family is absurd. Watching how happy they were in the kitchen though they had minimal experience, I don’t think the parents are anything but lazy. Very sad.

    Ann B.

    • Not many lawns to cut in Anthem! 🙂

      They could rake rock and clean out pools though.

      Philip Ontacos

  16. Those people don’t know what down sized is.

    Kyla Bohl

  17. I can’t get over how much these people spend on everything. I have two children and one on the way. We have minimum wage jobs and we pay our taxes,mortgage,water bill,garbage, insurance and groceries without help. I know they have more people in their family but if I had that kind of budget I would be rolling in money. Is a house that size necessary? And spending $1,000 on new clothes have they ever heard of clearance racks at walmart? It just feels like I handed my checkbook to my four year old every time I watch these people budget. I don’t think its possible to be this financially ignorant.


  18. I think this show is complete garbage. This family is trying to find a house with enough rooms for every single person in the family. Why don’t they have a show of a family that really is struggling. Maybe a family of 7 members that are trying to squeeze into a beat up apartment. Where the parents are working minimum wage.

    Also, I find it funny that the mom can’t seem to lay off Starbucks. If she really had money issues she would suck it up and make coffee at home. What kind of example is she setting for her kids. I don’t understand how this family even has food stamps. It’s ridiculous!!!!!


  19. This show is great. It shows a middle class family suddenly going through financial struggles they never experienced before. They are LEARNING how to to cut back and save. It’s not about a family who has been struggling for a while. It’s also amazing how loving and supportive this blended family is towards each other. They seem to be a decent and wholesome family which is wonderful to watch especiallly when the majority of tv shows are all trash. I applaud this show for promoting family values which is desprerately lacking in other reality shows.

    Mrs. Cox

    • Mrs. Cox. If you watched the show from the beginning you find out that they lost their house in foreclosure over a year ago. So a year ago they declared bankruptcy and moved into the rental. It took them a year to FINALLY decide to budget and curb their spending. In the meeting with the financial planner he indicates that they have credit card balances again too. They waited a year after the you know what hit the fan before they did anything other than move in to a fancy $1700 a month rental house.


    • Middle class? Are we watching the same show?


    • Mrs. Cox-

      I think the husband was making 1.5 million a year ( I could be wrong after all i was paying attention to the bling on the wife’s ears) anywho, I don’t think that is middle class??



  20. If you want to really read about how to prevent this situation, try “The Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas and Danko! And with all the expensive computers in the house, why does only Dad track expenses? Everyone should know what they spend…affluent or on food stamps (or in their case BOTH!). I also wonder where the other two parents have gotten to, the divorced ones? Why not each take a child out of that house…reducing the load and making a smaller house possible?

    Ann B.

  21. this show is something else. i wonder where the childrens father is also and why he isnt paying any money towards their support. it took two to make their five children. i also wonder how much they are getting paid to do this show, certainly not for free !!! the kids dont seem to do anything but complain and be bored. like everyone else who has commented on here, move them in a smaller house and tell them to deal with it, small or not. also does todds ex pay any support since he has them all the time ?? woe is me seems to be their motto !!

    cheryl r.

    • I was beginning to wonder if Laura’s ex was dead, but after watching the back to back episodes on Saturday, he was finally mentioned, when Laura said she wanted a baby with Todd, because she wanted to have a kid with someone who loved her, AND she also made another comment to her sister about him, although I forgot it. Dylan also mentioned him when he said he didn’t love Todd, and Todd wasn’t going to take his dad’s place. I know this doesn’t tell us where he is, but it hints at the fact that he’s not a very nice person, IMO. I’m going to guess he’s ordered to pay child support, and he’s just not in the kids lives. Maybe because he doesn’t want to deal with Laura, who knows. I know after watching her try and talk Todd out of taking the job in Missouri, I have less respect than I previously had for her, and Todd earned a great deal of respect from me. 6 months away from home is no picnic, BUT it would be a steady paycheck which would have to help them get abive water. All Laura could think of is that he wouldn’t be there, and I’m thinking it’s more of the fact that he wouldn’t be there to share in the chorres and helping with the kids. C’mon Laura-you were a single parentof 5 kids for years-of course you don’t want to return to that, but you know you can handle it, because you did it before! It’s not forever, and I’m disgusted with Laura! Selfish, spoiled whiney and acts like a teenager. Thank you for her sister telling her the real deal when she said her old menopausal self said she wanted a baby with Todd! OMG Laura has no clue! None! Men and women in the military go on missions for a yr at a time, without their family! Military personnel go fight in the war for a yr at a time, puting their life in jeopardy every minute of every day and this skank can’t handle her husband going a few states away, for 6 months, where if the truth be told, he would probably come home and visit sometime in those 6 months!
      I’m going to guess Todd’s wife doesn’t pay child support,and they split custody, so no support is exchanged.Honestly, I don’t think the lkids even live there full time. I think they are just there during the summer, and for the filming of the show. What mother would let their kids stay in a broke, welfare abusing, no life skills having, whining home when they could be living with all their little hearts desire, plus grandparents to spoil them, and No Laura???


      • I was so upset when I saw the episode where Laura throws a temper tantrum over Todd wanting to take a job away from home for 6 months. It’s not easy, but THOUSANDS of wives and children go without their “Man of the House” EVERY year. The Navy has my husband away from us for AT LEAST 9 months out of each year; one 6-month chunk and the other 3+ months spread out over time we COULD be having with him at home.
        She was sitting there, having a pity party for herself and all I could think is how selfish this woman is- he could have been earning a living to support the family and she was standing in his way.
        Those people disgust me, but like a previous poster said, it’s like a trainwreck you can’t help but watch!




  23. whoaa. this is not about a pseudo poor family. this is about a middle class family who have fallen on hard times and how each member is dealing with it. i think i fwwl sorry for the kids because the mother refuses to understand the predictment her family is in. so the kids pay for their own phones. one daughter gets a car from her ‘other mom. one daughter doesnt want to go to prom cause she realizes its too expensive…good for her.[ hello can someone explain to me again why it costs $500+ for prom night??] i love this show! i hope the mom starts to see the light,the husband sure has!!. i like how the kids are getting it too ..they will be stronger for it and look back on it when they are adults.this is REAL REALITY FOR MILLIONS OF FORMER MIDDLE CLASS IN AMERICA IS GOING THRU EVERY SINGLE DAY!! GOOD LUCK TO ALL!!


  24. I watched the show once. What I heard from the mother was shocking! “I have to have coffee all day long for energy because I have MS”. Ugh! Coffee is one the worst things to put in your body. All the money she blows on coffee she could see a nutritionist.
    I have MS and gone through a few Dr’s, but they all told me the same thing, cut out the caffeine.


  25. waaaaaaait isnt this family being paid for every episode they produce?? of course theyre not adequately cutting their epxenses.. people from these reality shows get paid big bucks! its not a fair representation but its cool to see how the kids are all working together and trying to help anyway!


  26. How do they qualify for foodstamps!? A family of can gross $4822/mo to qualify and they are spending over $6500 a month! Something is wrong here!


  27. It’s a crock. First: They should be getting TONS of child support from the non-custodial parents. Many hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a month.

    They should be paid for being on the show, right?

    Next time she wears those 1-karat diamond earrings I’m going to scream.


  28. I wondered also about this family getting paid to do this show? if so, how could they be so strapped for money? So does this make this show not real? A put on? The show to me seems like a modern day Brady Bunch. i had 4 kids. They were always complaining about what their friends had and they didn’t. I don’t believe they would have ever acted like the kids in this show. It seems too staged, put on. So if this family is getting paid and not really strapped for money, what does it say about this show? A fake? Maybe they get a script to enact this family.

    V DRAZ

  29. I am surprised at how dumb most of the people are who have posted on here. I’m not sure this show is fully on the up and up, or if they have been paid (yet) or how much. However, my understanding of the premis is not that of a family who have always struggled because they live beyond their means, it is about, what I would call an upper middle-class family, who were used to a certain lifestyle that was afforded them because they worked for it. Little by little the main income began to depleat until they found themselves in the situation they are in now.

    I have to wonder if the people who posted here complaining about their own dire financial situation went to college, got an education and a career or learned a trade so that they might have a shot at a better life. This is the impression I get from this TV family. Both parents are college educated and made whatever choices and sacrifices necessary to get there and had every right to enjoy the fruits of their labor. The education for them and for viewers is in the re-learning.

    It’s possible that they didn’t take themselves to the bare bones because they didnt know how long they would be in that position. I see nothing wrong with the mother keeping her engagement ring and who are any of you to say she must sell it? Sure, if it was a matter of going without food or necessary medical treatment, she would have to give it some serious thought, same with her car. It’s paid for and if I recall, she still has a job, so it’s not like neither parent is working at all and they are sitting back living off the government while having cell phones, designer clothes, tennis shoes, free housing and child care, etc.
    What they get is called “assistance” it is not, and has not been for them, a way of life. The food stamps help make up the difference between what they are able to afford, while working and selling off some of their belongings. As far as the Starbucks, I dont get how she can justify that expense, but it’s her business. I dont understand the thinking “They put themselves out there, so Im going to bash them and find fault in everything they do” Nobody is perfect and learning how to do with less, especially with a large family, is I’m sure very trying.

    I too was a single mom when my kids were small. I got no child support and was only able to work part time because i could not afford full time child care and with only a high school education and no significant work history, a full time 9-5 job was hard to get. i got food stamps for a while, but no other assitance because I made too much money and would not “lie” to get more. I could probably have quit my job all together then I would have qualified for all the public assistance I wanted, but because I worked, I was denied.
    I beat the bushes and networked until I got a good entry level job in the legal field, learned all I could and moved up as fast as I could. When my kids were older, I got an education and am now much better off than I ever was. If I had to give up my cell phone, cable or occasional nice dinner out with friends, I would not like it a bit, and I suspect that everyone who is so crazed about this family, especially the mother, would feel the same if they were ever in the same situation. Phew! I’m done.


    • Thanks Paula,
      Yes I was feeling the same way. In reading these responses most are not getting the real meaning of the show.I actually know this family , live in the same area. They are like thousands of americans that got caught up in the boom of the ecomony and may not have saved as they should have. But in the episodes Todd acknlowledges that they made bad decisions. Trying to take care of seven kids is so expensive just with basic neccesities. There is always more to the story that peole do not know about. These are really good people that have maybe made some not so wise desisions when times were good.It is a learning lesson for them as well. Not sure I would put myself out there .like that though.. for all to critisize!


      • Seriously? She drives a mercedes-I don’t care how they got! They go out to dinner because they have a coupon, but can’t afford their own groceries. They use their food stamp card and have to put food back, because they didn’t know there was only $5 left on it-that is irresponsible if anything. They were spending $500 a month on eating out. I don’t know if I spend that much a year, but yet they are on food stamps. They have very nice furnishings-better then mine that is for sure. They live in Anthem..Hey I have a house 10 miles south of Anthem that I will rent to them half that price. Oh wait the kids would have to sure a room, and Mom would spend the savings in gas. Yes the Dad said when they found a house for $700 less they would eat that up in gas-you know they do have to buy premium for the Mercedes.

        Sorry the reality of this show is these people simply have NO clue about being responsible for money. Good thing Brewer is reducing benefits-maybe they will have to cut back on the Starbucks. Because you know practice making two drinks cost more then the whole month’s worth-yeah the Mom said that.


    • I love this show! The car was given to her by her Mother and is sentimental. When it tears up they have to park it because they can’t afford the parts to fix it. I feel like Todd sometimes going around turning off lights and timing showers! I’ve raised 5 kids and it’s rough! Also, most of the kids do have jobs and pay for their own cars, gas, and insurance. A lot of people are on assistance and drive nice cars but they are most making payments! Her’s is paid for! You can get assitance in a family of 9 if you make up to $4,416 a month. You think your light bill is high, what do you think it would be with 9 in the household, or the medical insurance?!Everything is astonomical with a household of that size.

      I hope this show stays on a long time! I can’t wait for each episode!


    • Paula do you normally talk to people rude and disrespectfully like you did in your post in your every day life? I bet not. Ohh the joys of being anonymous on the internet, it allows you to talk however you want with no repercussions. Bet your post made you feel good about yourself? It’s a freaking ‘reality’ show that no doubt is over sensationalized so they could get people like you all worked up. I bet you think it’s real too.

      College Educated

  30. I have seen this show and it kind of makes me upset because its obvious that the mother is paying for tanning. Which is expensive!! I worked at a tanning salon for three years.


  31. This show disgusts me. I thought it would be about average people who have lost their shirts and were trying to rebuild from nothing, not Orange County-like housewives and families who are still clearing 5,700 a month. Hello?


  32. I never heard they were clearing 5,700 a month.It is average america there.Have you been to the area?


  33. With the financial planner, what monthly expense was $ 1,500 but Laura stated “It’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity?” And even if her Mercedes has sentimental value, you can’t EAT SENTIMENTALITY. Selling the Mercedes could pay the rent for so many months, and ease the worry and tension in the house, especially for the kids. Wouldn’t Laura’s Mom appreciate THAT?

    Athanasia Poulos

  34. I dont understand how they are downsizing and they are still wearing name brand clothes. Under Amour is expesive, mom’s hair is still being kept up by stylist is expensive. Where is the down sizing. I love the concept dont understand how they are downsizing and still have luxuries of life.


  35. I see bunch of rich spoiled people whining, when they realized that they just may have to live like the rest of us for a little while…

    Actually in order to be like most of working people, they would still have to lose the Mercedes Benz, Starbucks coffe and they would have to move into a 2 bedroom appartment in a bad neighbourhood…

    This show should be about a family, who is genuinly struggling and deserves to be featured on Tv (since i’m sure they are getting paid for it)

    There are people out there living on much less and having to overcome much more than these guys…


    • Couldn’t agree more but the sad thing is that they are so out of the loop that they think they are “poor”. No they are just lacking in problem-solving skills and the ability to adapt to a given situation.


  36. I feel sorry for the kids…they are young and should not be burdened with all their parents problems…yes give them insight into what is happening…but you guys are the parents…in one episode the dad said we got into this together we will get out together…the kids are under 17 years of age…it was the parents that got them into this situation…they took alllll the luxuries away from their children, no baseball, no prom, no cheer for the summer and replaced it with having them work to clean houses in their neighborhood…and do construction…i feel bad for how this makes the children so embarassed…and to make the other poor child go to a store with food stamps and not have enough, again in a place that she knows people…come on…its bad enough these children dont have a summer or anything fun but to add even more embarassment on top of that…and u cant give up coffee…its not even coffee its ice drinks…PUH-LEASE…its selfishness at its best…is disgusting…they are terrible parents…and than to donkey of a dad says oh you know the kids have been through so much and so has my wife so i wanted to do something nice, so he buys THE WIFE ingredients to make ice coffee at home…how about buying something for EVERYONE…maybe at least the mom will stop spending money and buying coffee and hiding it from her family…it helps with your MS, REALLY? nice try…and to take away a childs phone that they are paying for away from him…fine take away something else give the kid more chores but come on…he lends you money, dumpster dives for you does construction for you and this is how you treat him…these kids are amazing…for putting up with it and not lashing out…the kids def sacrifice more than anyone else…


    • Laura has almost no housekeeping skills and she whines more than her kids! Learn to COOK (not defrost and microwave), clean, and ORGANIZE the vast brood. Are you seriously crying because your kid can’t be a cheerleader, take private driving lessons, get braces right now? I’m glad you didn’t teach my first grader. Get a sense of priorities.

      Kids don’t need cars (use the schoolbus, not cool? too bad),cell phones, cheerleading, etc. and other distractions from school work Laura whines about what her kids “need” before they start asking for it! Yes the daughter needs braces but right now? If so, have you ever heard of dental schools? Laura and Todd get resourceful!!


  37. Does he know he can get a job somewhere other than contracting instead o siting at thy computer all the time??


    • It seemed that he had an out of state job but laura whined so much about him being away that he dropped the ball. In the early 20th century many western men worked away from home on large construction projects. My grandmother, a truly independent woman, was a wife who took the reins and ran the home while my grandfather was gone for months at a time. It is called necessary sacrifice. Give it a try.


  38. They could move to Alabama and make it easy breezy!


  39. Where is the dad to her kids? He can’t pay for the kids stuff?


  40. I don’t understand why the mom has chanel earings. Not to mention they have a computer room and a couple of computers.


  41. This show is a joke. If the mom has her stupid earrings that cost probably more than what my mom makes in 4 months. She makes her kid sell his baseball glove? STUPID.

    We have to live in a shitty apartment, and the only reason we aren’t too tight on money is because the moron landlord bailed on the house after 4 months of just taking our money and not paying the house so we’ve been living without paying it. We have to pay 170 dollars of electricity because we live in Miami and the ac is from like the dinosaur age and it has to be turned down to 60 just to be cold. We have to buy food by the foodstamps and we were short so my mom had to spend 30 dollars on just some soda, bread, and pizza to bake. And she’s applying for help with the light bill.

    When are WE getting our “fake” reality tv show :T


  42. A bit more research about reveals that these are people who have ALWAYS lived FAR beyond their means. The house they lost to foreclosure was purchased with two mortgages (no money down of any sort) using a sub-prime lender.

    Prior to stealing Todd from his second wife (they were next door neighbors and friends), Laura was a single mom who routinely begged her landlord for extensions (inclduing shortly after her boob job). These are not people who have never experienced financial pain, more like they’re addicted to it.

    Greater Phoenix is filled such $30K millionaires–plus they lived in their foreclosed house rent free while taking vacations and golfing. Basically, the show is a how to for gaming the system. They’ve just used up most of their game points.


  43. A bigger question about WE’s programming Downsized. REALLY THE SAME FAMILY!!!! Why – I’m sure there are other’s much more interesting.


  44. The family on Downsized does not know what its really like to be poor!!!! There are five of us who live in a 36ft travel trailer and we do not get any kind of government assistance. We work and pay our bills. Are you kidding $1600 a month in rent. I only bring home $1100 a month. Please show what a true working family that has true financial problems.


  45. Why doesnt she sell her Mercedes, and paying 1600 a month rent is crazy, they dont look like they are truly sacrificing. Why not have a show of a real struggling family with say 2 kids, something more realistic!


  46. Just to preface my comment… This family does irritate me and there are MANY MANY MANY more corners they could be cutting in order to save money. HOWEVER… it is called “Downsized” and that IS what the show is about. I grew up living in a house with my great grandma, grandparents, single mother, and younger brother because my dad was an addict and my mom couldnt support us on her own. I am not accustom to fancy things or expensive food and jewelry. I recently moved to a very expensive city in Michigan to live in and this is how many people used to having money think. Where I view clothes, food, and shelter as the bare necessities some people view starbucks, huge engagement ring, and eating out as the bare necessities. When you’re “Downsizing” and not accustom to living pay check to pay check it is a learning experience and in the country right now it is a lesson a lot of past millionaires are having to learn.


    • Except Mindy, they really only had money for about 2 years—and even then it was more middle class and credit than actual money.

      As for wanting to continue to live in a nice area, with good schools–I do get that (though they’ve subsequently bought a house outside of Anthem). BUT there are ways to do that and spend waaay less money. Todd has handyman skills, he could be the manager of an apartment complex and get one two bedroom apartment rent free. They could then rent another 2 bedroom apartment in the same complex for $600 or $700 per month (preferably right above or next to theirs). They now have the same or more space for their kids for less than half the price (actually about 1/3 after you factor utilities savings).

      Oh—-and Todd would have a steady income (and could still do his other jobs, as well).


  47. This family is making money just by being on a reality TV show – so how strapped for cash can they really be? And does anyone think the show itself isn’t helping with rent? They have to have a nice, roomy place to film in, after all. I don’t have an iota of sympathy for these wastrels. People made tons of money during the boom times, often without merit, but now we’re seeing who really has the common sense and drive to survive.


  48. My problem with the show was that it is expensive to live in Anthem AZ. The family pays way too much for rent and I never heard of anyone DOWNSIZING to a rich neighborhood. Also the girl with her own money bought a car and she and her friends can still afford to go out and enjoy pizza and whatever.
    The boy with asthma knew better than to be shoveling dirt without protecting his respiratory system. Here in AZ the dirt is dry and asthma related problems from dust is extremely high out here. I feel that he put his whole families financial situation in danger simply because he did not take the extra precaution of protecting himself from harmful dust. Here in AZ we also have Valley Fever from molds in the dust. Everyone who lives here knows that! It is especially dangerous for those with asthma. He also knew the risk of shoveling that dirt and ignored the first steps of safety. So could at least part of their problem be that they not thinking about consequences of their actions when they do things? I live in an old house built in 1953. I live on a tight income and have had to live BELOW MY MEANS. I do not feel poor or have drama due to money. I am not rich but I am not desperate either. This family still has NOT learned from their mistakes!


  49. My problem with the show is Laura. She seems selfish and i don’t think she cares for his kids like she does her own. Todd should find someone with less baggage.


  50. Madison- No kidding- I was listening pretty closely because I was interested in that too. All the Financial Planner broke down was the $1700/month in rent. $500 for eating out, $145 for cheerleading per month for the 10 year old. and I think $60+ for cable.
    He mentioned some other assistance they were on too but I didn’t catch the name.
    I am not trying to be mean here but it sounds almost like they declared bankruptcy and then went back to their old tricks. The Financial Planner talked about their credit cards being “maxed out”. Mostly likely they would have been in the original bankruptcy filing wouldn’t they? So does this mean they ran them back up and maxed them out again?
    Plus shame on the Mom- you are $300 short on rent but you can justify “gourmet coffee”. I get the impression she is stopping at Starbucks regularily. You need the caffeine- fine, make a pot at home, put it in your thermos and take it with you!
    Also- did they have to pay the financial planner? He didn’t strike me as being one of the free financial assistance types. Seriously- my 12 year old understands how to calculate a budget and these college educated adults couldn’t figure it out?
    I think the show is supposed to tug at our heartstrings, but I think it’s just going to frustrate people.

    I totally agree. I was wondering where the money went.But they did say that the money went toward some bills. Also, with the Financial Planner: Why the hell are you paying someone to tell you what to do with the “no money” that you have? If he really cared, don’t you think he would have enough heart to say, “Look, you are good clients. But clearly, you’re struggling. Until you get your finances straight, you should let me go-I’ll still be here to advise you when you could actually afford it.” Then again, maybe the Bruces told him, “Hey! We have our own reality show! We’ll cut you in when we receive the first check from this show!”-You’d be surprised at what people do and say behind closed doors and when the cameras stop rolling…


  51. The scariest part of this show is that Laura is a school teacher! Clearly she, her husband and the kids don’t have basic common sense! First of all Todd needs to get off his butt and get a job. I think he likes to think he has his own business but clearly it is not bringing in enough income. He could work nights and so could Laura. The older kids are certainly old enough to get part time jobs at the local fast food place or the mall. My kids have jobs why don’t these kids? They all eat fast food and do nothing. Clearly Laura has the $$ to get a tan. Geez! This is too much! I had suspected that this couple got together under less than honest circumstance and it seems that other posters confirm that to be true (or at least true here in internet gossip land). Guess what cheaters–you reap what you sow, you reap more that you sow and you reap later than you sow. Your exes are better off without you. It’s the kids I feel sorry for because they are being raised by dimwits.


  52. This show is the biggest load of crap ever created! People we all know that reality shows are scripted, and we also know that all reality stars get paid…a lot of money I might add…to air their lives. From Kate Plus 8 to ridiculous Jersey Shore, who by the way made $10,000 each per episode their first season, $30,000 each per episode their second season, and so on.

    There are so many families out there that know the TRUE meaning of what it is to struggle, including mine. This show and this family’s make-believe story is nothing but a slap in the face to those of us that actually LIVE the reality of having to truly sacrifice to make ends meet for our family.


    Gina D

  53. $1700 is not alot of money for that size house. Although my mother grew up in a 2 bedroom home with 7 other siblings. Just sayin’.


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