Tag Archives: television

No Cable TV for Now, Fast Internet Instead

Since I’m determined to read more, get out of the house more to see friends and exercise, and generally not be a lazy couch potato, I decided to avoid getting cable for the time being. Instead, we’re getting 50MB internet and skipping cable altogether.

The cable bill for the first year wouldn’t be that bad, but then I’d get used to it and have to pay the ridiculous fees charged after the first 12 month rates expire. It really is ridiculous to pay $100+ per month for cable television when most of the shows are available through other means. I even already have Amazon prime which offers many shows and movies as part of the membership. There’s also the option to buy Hulu Plus or Netflix if this isn’t enough.

Instead of the cable membership, I splurged on a waterproof case for my Kindle ($70) so I can come home after work, fill up the tub, and read myself silly. Better that then starting mindlessly at the screen. I figure if I’m desperate for television I can sign up for the local gym, which offers tv screens in every cardio machine… at least then I’ll be able to get healthy while watching television instead of the opposite.

On TV: Extreme Couponing = Extreme Ridiculous

Did I ever mention my extreme hatred of coupons? Sure, if I happen to have/find a coupon for something I was already planning to buy, I’ll use it, but too many people waste countless hours on couponing. This sad addiction is the subject of TLC’s latest “why people are sad” series called Extreme Couponing.

This video speaks for itself. The man and women in the video took a day off of work to use coupons that they paid $70 for(!) when they could have been earning income for the day’s work and not buying as much crap. 150 Butterfingers — who needs 150 Butterfingers? Obviously these folks have a big problem with poor eating habits, and the coupon situation just helps them be unhealthy. In any case, after this preview, I honestly can’t bare to watch any more of this show  (it makes me want to punch my monitor) but I’d love to hear from you if you saw any of the episodes… does it get any better? Does anyone do couponing right?

Millionaires, Boobs, Big Houses, and Reality TV

Forget the talent portion, these days reality TV stars can make a career out of being – themselves, without any talent besides perky tits, an itty-bitty waistline, and the ability to convince an television audience that they’re a money-hungry dumb slut. But hey, they’re making way more money than I am and probably having a lot more fun doing it, so who am I to judge?

In our culture, we reward people for being as superficial as possible. The latest news from the world of Reality TV is that Megan Hauserman, the big-breasted bombshell of Beauty & the Geek, Rock of Love 2, Charm School, and I Love Money is starring in her own gold-digging reality series.

In case you’re a millionaire who wants to broadcast your quest for a trophy wife on TV (instead of just hiring a high-priced call girl like a good, normal millionaire), Megan, the accounting major from Florida, wants you. That is, she wants your money. And you. As much as any star on a reality TV dating show could actually want another person who needs reality TV to set them up.

She announced the casting search on her MySpace page earlier this month… are you “Looking for the ultimate TROPHY WIFE?” Not only would your prize come complete with a life’s worth of obnoxious and bank-account draining spending habits, you’ll also win, uh, the right to one hellova pre-nup if you decide to actually seal the deal.

Granted, I’m guilty for watching these TV shows. I can’t get enough of gold diggers and the wealthy, and their drama. It makes me somehow be able to accept and take pride in my middle class status. It also makes me terribly jealous of women who are hot enough to qualify for a television show where they are offered on a silver platter as a Trophy Wife.

Another show all about money, from a bit more normal perspective, is Bravo’s “Real Housewives of…” I’ve caught a few episodes of their various series – Orange County, New York, and Atlanta… and I must say, I’m more jealous of these women than I am of Ms. Trophy Wife Hauserman. Then again, most of them were that hot when they were in their 20s and 30s (most are still that hot, just in the 40+ year old sense… I don’t think you can be a Trophy Wife once you hit a certain age, then you’re just a wife.)

Still, these women are… real people. Their psychology is a bit different than that of say, a normal working person with no means of reaching the upper echelons of society, and they expect a bit more out of their shopping sprees… but even with all that money, they’re still real people. I watched an episode recently where two couples went to Sonoma’s wine country and felt awkward in a ritzy restaurant that served a bagillion mini courses and offered a snobs dream menu. It’s fun to watch the rich feel silly being what rich is supposed to be.

Another reality TV series I couldn’t help but watch lately is Paris Hilton’s: My New BFF. The series ended a few weeks back, but I remember the episodes clearly. And in the end, I still don’t understand what the contestents were competing for, and how this supposed friendship would work. It makes for riviting TV (on the reality TV show spectrum, on MTV) for sure, but why compete to be a best friend? Friendships, like relationships, are supposed to be equal. You can’t compete for a best friend and then expect a relationship to be normal. Paris bought her BFF contestents expensive gifts throughout the competition — they shared lavish days at the spa, gold-plated $1000 sundaes in NY, and shopping sprees where Paris announced “it’s on me, whatever you want.” I doubt that’s how the “friendship” would work once the show concluded.

If anything, the show was interesting because what Paris was really looking for was a business partner. With Nicole Richie out of the picture, who would be her assistant (I mean, partner) in crime? She needs someone who looks cute, takes a good photo, and can help her continue to brand… herself. The show didn’t mention any sort of pay this best friend would be getting, but how would her new bestie afford to be Paris’ friend without some compensation? The show should have really been called Paris Hilton’s: My New VP

I do applaud MTV for their series Exiled, where they take super spoiled teens (who appeared on My Super Sweet Sixteen) and send them to third world countries, where they’re forced to spend a week living in the shoes of people with far less than them. They have to do things even I wouldn’t do – like build houses with cow poop. Ew. It’s a good show in teaching these young, spoiled children about the rest of the world before they’re too old and spoiled to care.

A Moment Like This

I’ve always dreamed of being the Suze Orman for Generation Y. Unfortunately my somewhat limited knowledge of finance makes me ill suited to be the queen bee of twentysomething spending and saving.

However, this blog and my “persona” in the personal finance community has been getting a decent amount of attention. The latest has been an e-mail from a producer at a local news station that is doing a story about money – and she wants me in the story.

I have a lot to say about personal finance, especially when it comes to educating people my age about saving and smart spending. But I’m nervous that I’ll just come off sounding the fool.

It’s also quite scary, given that I started this blog to have a place to write anonymously about personal finance and now I’m going to be somewhat “outed.” Not that everyone and their mother will be watching this particular broadcast at the specific time the story airs, but someone will see it.

There is a blessing and a curse to writing so honestly. More people want to read when you’re letting your thoughts out raw. It can also get you into more trouble.

I’m not ashamed of anything I’ve written in this blog. But they are things I wouldn’t talk about in public, or with my actual identity attached to them. I kind of like having this anonymous space to rant about all things money and career related.

But… the big but.. is if I ever want to build a name for myself in personal finance, maybe gain enough cred to one day write a book about the subject (which is my goal at this point) then I’m going to have to “out” myself one day.

I’m just amazed at how this little blog has gotten so much attention in such little time. I guess that just attests to how interested people are in money and saving. But looking at the personal finance section in the local Borders could have told me that…

The Moment of Truth: Get Rich By Making Everyone Hate You

Fox’s newest reality/game show The Moment of Truth seems like a simple concept to begin with — tell the truth and you can with $500,000. How hard can that be?

Apparently, it’s really hard. The contestants are asked 50 questions on a lie detector test before going on the show, and then the show’s writers pick 21 questions to ask them on-air. They go up a pyramid of money, and the questions get harder the longer they stay in the game. Of course their friends, family and co-workers are present to give evil looks and make them feel bad for admitting things like they’ve cheated on their significant others, even if it was only with their eyes.

This show really tells a lot about our culture. These people are in complete control of their winnings. How far will they go – by telling the truth – to make money?

Luckily for Fox, most people won’t get to the really hard questions. Either they’ll lie (who knows why they think they can get away with it) or they’ll quick one they hit $100k. Not that $100k is a bad winnings, but it’s amazing that thus far the contestants haven’t gone all the way to $500k. I mean, if you’re signing up for this show, you obviously understand you’ll have to admit to 21 things that you probably don’t want to admit to.

What do y’all think of this show?

Millionaire Matchmaker – Bravo’s Latest “Reality” Show

If you haven’t had a change to catch Bravo’s latest reality show: Millionaire Matchmaker, you’re not missing much. Take a bitchy Yenta from New Jersey, Patti Stranger, whose entire life is dedicated to helping super-wealthy men find the girl of his dreams. Surely it makes for a good business. She charges anywhere from $10,000 to $150,000 a year to hook up the hotties and the notties (oh god, did I just quote a Paris Hilton movie title?).

The men who appeared on the television show were actually fairly attractive, but one has to assume for every attractive-yet-single millionaire willing to appear on TV, there’s another ten whose reflection would likely crack mirrors.

Overall, the show greatly offended me. The men, surprisingly enough, did not offend me at all. Sure they wanted women who were perfect everything and had unreasonable expectations, but what really got me is this woman, Patti, has no freaking clue what men actually want. She thinks she does, of course. Being that the matchmaking service is LA-based, looks matter a lot (even more than they would elsewhere.) At the beginning of the show they film her going through a series of headshots and she says “definitely not” to a women who is wearing glasses. You can’t see the photo up close, but the women certainly doesn’t look fugly. She just doesn’t have a glamor shot like some of the other girls. Given the right makeup, hair stylist and photographer, her pic would probably look just as “hot” as these other girls.

Meanwhile, this women definitely has a very narrow concept of attractiveness (ironically, she’s very unattractive). Redheads? They’re out. She even asked a redhead if she’d dye her hair brown.

The only thing I’ll give them credit for is that they did want to get women with an education. In the end, though, this proved difficult. And too much education wasn’t good either. They’d take women of top-notch pedigree (a graduate of the Ivies, etc) but not someone who used Dr. in front of their name while introducing herself.

Episode one featured two men… #1 “Sex Toy Dave” – a millionaire who made bank by selling – you guessed it – sex toys. On the Internet. His snazzy house featured such things as a view and a stripper pole in the middle of the living room (awesome). Of course, Patti wanted the stripper pole gone. Her interior designer suggested moving all sex related things to a “sex toy room.”

Ultimately the gal Dave picked, who I must say was actually a relatively good choice for him, was not offended by the stripper pole (though she was a little good two shoes and was slightly off put by it. She wouldn’t try it out herself.)

Meanwhile, the other guy was an older (46 year old) options trader. A Yale grad. He was a bit disillusioned with the type of gal he should be with. Patti wants to get these guys “younger” girls, but not with a 20 year age difference.

But her method of natural selection seems to go against this. She put the two men in a room with a dozen or so women and let them all have at it. The most impressive women got asked out on solo dates with the two guys.

Mr. Options Trader picked out a very hot, young brunette with blue eyes. Sex Toy Dave chose a women who seemed really cool. She had the Ivy pedigree, a great smile, she was laid back, and pretty but not in a porn star sort of way.

Still, in the end the pair didn’t work out. He was too much of a party boy for her.

I don’t really understand why these men spend thousands upon thousands of dollars asking this woman to find the perfect women for them. Maybe they’ll get laid (though that’s against the rules until they’re in a committed relationship) but find the perfect woman, i’m not so sure.

First off, any women who wants to be in the “Millionaire’s Club” is in it for the wrong reasons. Unless you literally find women on normal dating sites and think they’re perfect for someone rich, and ask them to join the “club” without the intention of marrying rich, you will get gold diggers and more gold diggers. Do these men really want that? Eh, maybe they do. They have all this money and sometimes it’s nice to spend it on designer clothes for your special lady. I guess.

I think if it weren’t for Patti, this show wouldn’t be quite so offensive to me. But she’s just a nightmare. She wants the men to change for women who she think would make good wives and mothers. What ever happened to pay someone to find someone who might like you for the way you are? Or… you know… just find them.

Patti’s club website: The Millionaire’s Club, is subtitled: Where successful men come to meet their beautiful and intelligent wives as girlfriends. Honestly, the site looks skanktastic. It’s one step above escort service.