Why Reality Television Could Be Bad For Your Pocketbook

Spending splurges, exotic trips and vacations, lavish weddings, fancy home renovations and no mention of budgets and debt. You know that reality television isn’t really reality. But could our love of reality television be pushing Canadians to spend more than they really should and suffer the financial consequences as a result? For some, this could be the case.
Reality TV may be adding to your debt problems
You might know that what you see on television is a very different reality than your own. You might try to stick to your budget and follow your financial plan. The problem is, it’s easy to be distracted and influenced by what is featured on your favourite reality TV shows. Home renovation shows are a good example. Viewers of these shows often feel the urge to tackle their own as-seen-on-TV renovations. There’s even a name for this phenomenon: the HGTV effect.
The problem is, many of these renovation shows seem to suggest that ‘bigger is better’ and the budget isn’t really important. There may be a cursory mention of a budget at the beginning of the show. In many of the episodes, though, the family tends to spend way more than they initially intended to; then they neglect to discuss the serious financial consequences of this spending. In the real world, the kind of overspending we see on these home reno shows almost always leads to debt problems. If the debt becomes overwhelming, a consumer proposal or personal bankruptcy may even be required.
Budget your way back to reality
If you’ve fallen prey to the HGTV effect or have spent more than you intended as a result of your reality television viewing habits, you might be struggling with debt as a result. There are steps you can take in order to get back on track. First off, a budget or family financial plan is an absolute must. Work together as a family to create a budget that works for everyone. Then stick to it! The next time reality temptation strikes, refer to your budget and remember your plan. It will make resisting the urge that much easier.
Professional help, such as consulting a Trustee in Bankruptcy, to deal with your personal debt may also be a good option. Bankruptcy Trustees can provide families with information about debt management, including how to reduce debt and the process of bankruptcy. This will help you to understand the options that are available to you and your family and allow you to choose the one that best suits your needs.
Bottom line – don’t let reality television trick you into breaking the budget, spending beyond your means and adding unnecessarily to your personal debt. Remember to follow your budget and seek help if necessary in order to avoid reality show debt.
Are you a fan of reality television? Do you think it has an impact on your spending habits and the amount of debt you carry? Share your thoughts with BDO using the hashtag #RealityShowDebt