November 22, 2010

Downsized : Episode #3 'Cruel Cruel Summer'

I've been watching the program 'Downsized' on the WE television network.   I discussed the first episode and the second episode.   The show follows the Bruce family and their seven kids and discusses their financial difficulties after they go bankrupt.

I watched the third episode and below is my take on it.

[SPOILER ALERT : there are spoilers below]

Blew their budget by 7th day of month.  The wife had spent a $1000 merit bonus at work on clothes.   Because thats what bonuses are for, to blow on stuff.   Not to pay the rent bill you can't seem to pay.  At the end of the show they have a family meeting and discuss budgeting.  They show some of the budget items and what they spend: Cable $69, Groceries $200-$500, Rent $1695, Credit cards $125, Cheer $145, Entertainment $200, Eating out $500, Baseball $600, activities functions $200, auto and rental insurance $317, Internet $59.    Overall they cut about $1600 from their monthly spending.

Kids Sacrifices
A lot of the show was about cutting back on spending for the kids.   In the last episode they said they had been spending $145 a month on cheerleading for their youngest daughter who is 10 years old.   Laura, the wife couldn't give up cheer for the 10 year old.   So she asks the daughter to choose between theatre camp or cheer.   The daughter chooses cheer.  But then Bruce the dad asks about the expense and says that he thought they agreed to cut it.  Laura then tells the daughter that they cant afford it.   They also talk about how the boys are doing summer baseball.   Summer baseball is $200 each x 3 for $600 total.   The boys realize this is too expensive and decide to do without it.    There is also a lot of drama over the two teenage girls going to prom or not.   The tickets for prom are $65 each.   One gets to go because her mom pays for the tickets and the other doesn't go since she can't afford the tickets. 

Coffee Idiocy
Laura is still buying 'gourmet coffee' which we now see means Starbucks or similar.   She tries making coffee at home in a blender but has difficulty making it right.   She says that she "doesn't know if its money saving thing" and "thinks its easier to go buy coffee" and that she is "just done, giving up".  I am not sure if those are exact quotes or not but it was words to that effect.   At the end of the show Bruce buys her some ingredients and a reusable cup and gives her a recipe, which works for Laura.

More work for dad and mom
Bruce has a new company called Stone Canyon Construction.   He prints fliers and posts them around town.  We see him talking to one potential homeowner about doing some exterior painting work.  Laura also lines up some tutoring work during the summer with her former students.   She had 6 students she was going to tutor and expected to make about $190 per week.

My opinion on this episode:
They are doing ok in general as far as cutting their spending and increasing their income.   They cut about $1600 from spending.  Laura should be bringing in $760 a month from tutoring and Bruce will make some money with more work.
They really should have come up with $65 for the one daughter to go to prom.  Its not fair for one daughter to go to prom and the other not too.  $65 isn't all that much.
Cutting cheer for the youngest should have been a nobrainer.
Making coffee at home should not be that hard and if you fail the first time then thats not a license to spend $5 a day at Starbucks.

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