10 Financial Tips I Would Give Carrie Bradshaw
Money

10 Financial Tips I Would Give Carrie Bradshaw

by Heather Taylor
Photos Tonhya Kae | September 14, 2015

"I LIKE MY MONEY WHEN I CAN SEE IT, HANGING IN MY CLOSET." IF ONLY I COULD RELATE TO THIS, CARRIE.

When I was in high school, I was determined to grow up to be just like Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City. Carrie had it all—a steady job as a newspaper columnist, a spacious rent-controlled apartment in Manhattan (that was ONLY $750 a month), and a closet full of gorgeous clothes and shoes. Dream life, right?

Not quite. Despite being fictional, Carrie’s glamorous life was also incredibly financially unrealistic for the modern single girl on a budget. If I attempted to be “just like Carrie” right now, I… I couldn’t do it. I would be living with 3-4 roommates in a cramped Bed-Stuy apartment paying twice the rent with credit card debt piling up alongside my student loans.

But I’m not here to drag Carrie’s lifestyle choices either. Based off of my own observations of her spending habits in the show, I’d like to offer her financial tips* that she could really benefit from.

*Fair warning: these tips are tough love based, as you’ll note my first one for being anti-Manolo Blahniks...

1. STOP BUYING SO MANY SHOES

In a conversation with Miranda, Carrie admits to owning 100 pairs of Manolo Blahnik stilettos—and the price tag per pair starts at $400. “I spent $40,000 on shoes and I have no place to live? I will literally be the old woman who lives in her shoes!” Carrie cries out, perhaps only just then realizing how expensive nonstop designer shoe shopping can be.

Uh, yeah. For chronic shopaholics like Carrie, it’s best to start cutting back on buying pricey clothes, accessories, and in Carrie’s case, shoes. Create a monthly budget off what you make versus what you’re spending and track the needs versus wants purchases. {Click to Tweet} LearnVest advises that your flex-spending should be no more than 30% of your take-home pay. Buying a 101th pair of Blahniks to add to the existing 100? Definitely a want and not a need.

For chronic shopaholics, it’s best to start cutting back on buying pricey clothes, accessories, and in Carrie’s case, shoes. 

2. CARRY CASH

There’s an episode where Carrie mentions to her then-boyfriend Aiden that she charged her tomatoes at the grocery store. Isn’t that $2 a pound? You didn’t have $2 in your wallet, Carrie? The best cash tip I ever received was from a friend who said always keep a $20 bill in your wallet for small necessities. It’s a better idea to use cash for smaller purchases like tomatoes versus a credit card that will charge you interest. 

3. CREATE AN EMERGENCY FUND

The series reveals at one point that Carrie, a single woman in her thirties, has less than two grand combined in her checking and savings accounts with no outside assets or collateral. This is my biggest nightmare—having that little money as a safety cushion! What Carrie needs to do is to create an emergency fund. Financial coach Dave Ramsey says these funds have about 3-6 months of expenses (roughly $10,000-$15,000) in place to protect against life’s unexpected surprises. {Click to Tweet} Since Carrie doesn’t have any student loans and her rent is incredibly reasonable for the location, I wouldn’t foresee her having any problem creating a solid savings.

... Carrie, a single woman in her thirties, has less than two grand combined in her checking and savings accounts with no outside assets or collateral.

4. START BUILDING YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE

Sex and the City takes place in the late 1990s to early 2000s when the Internet was largely dial-up based, but that was one of the best times to be online since everything was so new. If Carrie had tuned into blogging and social media early on, she would have been able to build up a strong online presence and reel in sponsored posts and advertising opportunities with major brands.

5. CREATE A 401(K)

In the series, Carrie writes as a sex columnist for The New York Star and later begins freelancing at Vogue. Her full-time role with The Star would likely have provided her with health benefits and the opportunity to start up a 401(k) or a Roth IRA. I would advise her to reach out to her HR department and get that conversation going on what to do next. 

6. TAKE THE BUS OR SUBWAY INSTEAD OF A CAB

Living in a city like New York means there are plenty of transportation options available for all income groups—and yet, we only ever saw Carrie hailing cabs. Along with the tip of carrying petty cash, Carrie should also stock up on quarters for bus rides and a MetroCard for the subway system. 

Living in a city like New York means there are plenty of transportation options available for all income groups—and yet, we only ever saw Carrie hailing cabs.

7. INSTEAD OF USING YOUR OVEN FOR STORAGE, USE IT FOR COOKING

Yep, that’s what Carrie did with her oven, treat it like a spare dresser drawer. Let’s clean it out and head to the store to buy ingredients to make home-cooked meals instead of going out to eat constantly. {Click to Tweet} While making your own meal won’t necessarily be the biggest boon to your budget, many recipes are built to stretch out over the course of several days, ensuring plenty of leftovers.

8. SCALE BACK ON GNOS

Nearly every episode of the show features Carrie and the girls going out somewhere—be it a bar, nightclub, or happy hour—but the foursome are most often seen frequenting their favorite diner. Maybe it’s a cheaper establishment to eat at than the show lets on, but no matter how cheap it is, all of those breakfasts, lunches, and dinners are going to add up! Once Carrie gets cooking in her apartment, she can host a dinner there and invite the girls over.

9. GET A SIDE HUSTLE GOING

Freelance work isn’t something Carrie considers doing until she’s in dire financial straits in season four—which, to me, is crazy because she would be a natural at freelance writing. If she pooled her contacts and pitched smart story ideas, Carrie could easily hold court at several publications and websites, all while making some serious dough on the side.

10. GIVE UP CIGARETTES WAY SOONER

Last but definitely not least—did you think I’d make a list like this and not bring up the several seasons where Carrie smoked? Tossing those cancer sticks sooner than later is not only rewarding for your wallet, but for your health too!

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What budgeting tips would you give to your younger self? Let's talk money in the comments.