Do you watch a reality show such as Storage Wars or Sell This House?
Perhaps you have watched Storage Wars and have seen some of the participants walk away with as much as a $5,000 to $10,000 profit. (Of course some participants also have weeks where they lose a few thousand dollars on storage units, but we, as humans, like to be optimistic and focus on the units that make thousands of dollars.) Maybe you watch a few episodes and think, “I can do that!”
Or, maybe you like to tune in to HGTV on the weekend and watch people renovate their yards and homes in their spare time or watch experts come in and make a home more aesthetically pleasing so it will sell faster as they do on shows like Sell This House. You may begin to think about projects around your home that have bothered you—the old wooden kitchen cabinets that you wish you could brighten or modernize, the old worn out couch you would love to replace but can’t afford to.
The Benefits of These Types of Shows
These types of reality shows may help you make frugal improvements to your home. Take that worn out couch—maybe you watch Sell This House and learn how easy it is to cover your couch with a slip cover and make it look much better. Maybe you learn that you don’t have to spend $50 per window treatment; instead, you can go to Goodwill or a thrift store and buy flat sheets to hang on the window. By watching the show, you are learning simple, frugal tips to improve your home.
The Problems with These Shows
The problem comes when you watch these shows and they cause you to become dissatisfied with your current situation. Maybe you never thought about creating a patio of pavers behind your house, but because you saw it on one of the shows and liked the results, you want to do the same. You spend $500 to have someone lay the pavers for you and create your paver patio. Supplies were another $200. You have now spent $700 for something you didn’t even think of, let alone want, before watching the show.
Another problem is when you watch enough of these shows to think that you know what you are doing and will be able to replicate the success of the people on the show. An acquaintance I know was dissatisfied with his job and quit. His back-up plan? Buy storage units and sell the contents. The problem is that he does not have the expertise or the eye for valuables that the people on Storage Wars have. He pursued this line of work for several months and lost quite a bit of money. Now he is back to work in his old field.
These types of reality shows can be useful sometimes, but often, they increase your level of “want” or make you think you can do something you are really not qualified to do. Remember, these shows are for entertainment purposes, and the chance that you will be able to replicate the success of the participants is slim.
Have you watched a reality show that made you think you could do something you couldn’t? Did you lose money?