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10 Lessons from the Downsized TV Show

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

The Downsized show [1] was about a family, the Bruces, who were struggling to make ends meet. Their home was foreclosed on, as was their investment condo [2], and they went through their savings and 401k [3], 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 [4]. 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 [5] 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 [6]. Think about your own situation right now, if you became unemployed [7] in January, would you wish you would have spent less on holiday shopping [8]? Just something to think about.
  • Make Energy Efficient Changes. The Bruce family installed a water saving device [9] to cut down on their shower times for their seven kids. Consider some energy efficient changes [10] 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 [11] 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 [12] 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 [13], 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 [14].

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 [1] airs on WE TV at 8pm CST.

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