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So, I watched the Downsized TV show.

I heard about this show back in September when we were on vacation, and its topic piqued my interest. The reality show, called “Downsized” (which is done by PieTown Productions, the same company that contacted me about a reality show several years ago!) chronicles the adventures of a blended family (7 kids total) who has come upon hard financial times and has had to downsize their lives as a result.

Unfortunately, the show is on WeTV, so we don’t get it here at home. But, when we were visiting Mr. FG’s grandma the other day, we caught a few episodes.

At first, I liked the show quite a bit…the family seemed to be working together to make ends meet, although I was a little surprised at how nice their house was (they did look for a cheaper rental, but decided the cheaper homes were too small. To that, I say that if you constantly struggle to make rent, then you need to make do with a smaller place!).

However, when the parents had a meeting with a financial planner, I started to be sort of horrified. The family is on food stamps and is using several other forms of public assistance, which made me think they must really be living on the lean side (the mom, Laura, said that she didn’t know what else they could possibly cut). But no, I was wrong.

They spend $500/month eating out, $145/month on cheerleading for their 10 year old, and the mom has a serious Starbucks habit (and those are only a few of the ways that they bleed money).


I seriously wanted to start yelling at the TV at this point. I really cannot understand being on food stamps when you routinely spend $500/month eating out. Or using public assistance when you’re buying Starbucks coffee every day (she is tired from having M.S., but hello! Caffeine comes in cheaper forms than Starbucks.). And if you struggle to come up with the last $100 for rent every month, what in the world are you doing putting your child in cheer?

My brain simply cannot comprehend this kind of thing. Do people who spend $500/month eating out really honestly feel like they’ve cut everything they can?

The financial planner (I think I’m a fan of his now!) tried to point out that the family was going into the hole each month by about $1700, and that if they kept up like this, they’d end up living on the street somewhere. That didn’t seem to give the mom sufficient motivation to cut the Starbucks and the cheer lessons, though.

At least, it didn’t in that episode or the one following, where the mom asks the 10 year old if she could maybe give up theater if she still gets to keep going to cheer.

I found some teasers online for upcoming episodes, and it looks like the mom is going to learn how to make coffee at home, and that the kids are going to give up some of their expensive athletic activities, so maybe there’s hope for this family. 😉 And if they do learn to manage their money well, hopefully the people watching will learn how to manage their money better too.

So, now that I’ve shared my thoughts, I’m super curious to hear what you all think of this show. Talk to me!

Today’s 365 post: My children consider this a treat.

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Just Me

Wednesday 31st of December 2014

So happy with this blog. I caught up with some of the episodes since my husband insisted we watch a few since it seemed pretty interesting. I completely agree with the opinions in this blog- the mother was definitely clueless.... Living on a budget with that many kids but they can somehow "justify" eating out multiple times just because you cant cook? cooking tips.... and gee whiz I wish I could afford a Starbucks every day and I get the MS argument but if you need the caffeine that bad, your treat of $5.00 for a can of Folgers for the week as opposed to $8.00 * 5 days a week=$40? But this is justifiable? And the cheer lessons... OH MY GOODNESS THE CHEER LESSONS! Can someone please explain to me how ALL the other kids have to give something up but this little girl gets CHEER LESSONS? I was so infuriated with this episode because in all of them I saw the kids cleaning the houses while this little girl played in the room with the other kids. How is this teaching her responsibility? Shes 10 - not 6. This episode all around just really killed me. I also had a huge problem with the beginning of the show where they interview MR Bruce and he discloses they were going through THOUSANDS of dollars a month.... and MRS Bruce had no idea.. are you kidding me?? You are spending - what 25? 50k A MONTH and you have no idea your husband is spending this kind of money on you and your army?? He has TWO kids and you have blinded yourself where you don't know how much money this guy is throwing at keeping the family (mostly you and your kids) happy? I think I had the biggest problem with this when the last episode where he is supposed to go to Missouri or whatever to go work and she HARDCORE tries to guilt trip him into not going--- UM WHAT?! He is being bombarded with the guilt trip because he is taking a job in another state because she just cant be left at home by herself with all the kids.... most of which are hers...... I just about died... A little piece of me curled into a dark corner and shriveled up and DIED.... I don't understand how a wife that literally sat back at watched the money flow until there was none can still strive so hard to be a high maintenance wife. This man is literally doing every thing in his power to keep them from living off the streets and she still wants more. Marriage is supposed to be two people being supportive of each other and from where they first portrayed the show in the first episode, to watching the very last episode - I just feel like her true colors exploded like shooting a rapid fire paintball gun against a cement wall. I'm so glad I am not the only one who feels this way about the ridiculousness of their spending habits and attitudes towards their situation. Good thing most of the kids are now on their own, but I sincerely hope they haven't acquired the sense of entitlement displayed in the show! Again... LOVED the blog!!


Wednesday 4th of June 2014

Hi! I was just watching this show for the first time, and in this episode the mom does ask her daughter to give up cheer, and the husband gives his wife ingredients to make her own gourmet coffee. He even gives her the cup with the lid and the straw! I thought that was cute. I was curious to watch it because I wanted to learn how a family deals with downsizing, and how hard it is emotionally for the mom. So far I have been enjoying the show because I see it as if the Kardashians were to downsize, so even though they are not as poor as other people, and could be doing more... it goes to show how downsizing involved physical, psychological and emotional changes and attitudes towards things and money.


Tuesday 20th of September 2011

Well, I have no sympathy for people like this at all. I lost my job 7 years ago and I used up most of my savings while looking for work. I came to the realization that America was in trouble and it was going to get worse, I did not foresee any employment opportunities and I did not want to run up any debt knowing full well it would be near impossible to get out of. The first thing I did was cut the TV, Telephone and internet I had a cell phone that was prepaid and I got free time for using my credit card points (which I paid off monthly).

To make a long story short, understanding my future financial situation I was willing to work anywhere in the world so... here I am in Thailand for the past 6 years with a new home (paid off), nice car and 2 motorcycles (all paid off), both of my children go to private schools and we have great health insurance, the best part of the deal is we have cash in the bank at the end of the month no matter what we do and no debt.

I think something we really need to rethink is our unshakable ideas that everything has to remain the same or the world will explode. My ancestors went to America for a better life. I left America for a better life.

Just a bit of trivia there are 5,600 Americans living in Chiang Mai Thailand retired and working so I wasn't the first one to realize the truth of the matter.


Tuesday 6th of September 2011

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the mom's obvious tanning habit. You don't look like an orange oompa loompa without spending money on some form of fake tanning. Definitely NOT necessary.


Thursday 1st of September 2011

I disagree with so many of you. Yes, they should cut out a lot of things to be able to afford the basics but they both work everyday and sometimes you do derserve (yes, deserve) to go out to dinner. Maybe not as often but still they should be able to go out to eat. Her jewlery was hers before this unfortunate situation happened. I would never het rid of my wedding ring nor anything my mother gave me unless we really where on the street. I see a lot of mud slinging here but unless you have walked a mile in this families shoes you really should not have an opinion. They are barely keeping their heads above water but working everyday. The Mom is a teacher which in itself is the most stressful job. It's too bad the families she has helped havent stepped up to help them. It takes a village to raise a family and they do need help. Cutting dining out once in awhile and asking her to sell off her wedding ring and family heirlooms in not fair. People do not seem to have much compassion. She drives an 18 yr. old car for goodness sakes, that is not cutting back...really? How many of you drives cars so old, raise 7 children and both people work? Compassion in these hardships is what this family needs. Not stones cast at them. The children even need to double up in rooms in this rented house, yet some of you find this a fault too. I find the comments sad. Americans are way to quick to judge but I do not see you offering to help this family.

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