Ah, summer in Phoenix. When you’re assaulted with temperatures that would make Beelzebub himself ask for a handheld fan. When the heat makes you break out horribly, giving you even less incentive to leave the house. And when most of the shows you watch on Hulu have long since had their season finale.
Since summer is causing these woes, I thought it only appropriate to rewatch Ms. Buffy Summers do her vampire-slayer thang.
Despite snickering at certain ’90s fashions, I’m enjoying it. I’ve seen most of the episodes several times before, but this time through I’m starting to see some financial parallels. Which is to say that I had no idea what to write about and am grasping at (hopefully entertaining) straws.
You can’t know what the future holds
Buffy makes out with Angel only to find out he’s a vampire, which is a little against the rules. Luckily, Angel’s a good guy and leaves. Otherwise, Buffy would’ve been stuck in her house without any weapons.
Lesson: Be prepared (inasmuch as that’s possible) and keep your weapons handy. In this case, that’s a sturdy emergency fund and savings account. When vampire expenses come to suck your budget’s lifeblood, you’ll have what you need to handle them.
Secondary lesson: Don’t make out with vampires. Or even really pale-skinned, moody guys. Although if they look like David Boreanaz… Nevermind, I give Buffy a pass.
You might not get the job you want
Buffy probably had plans for the future. Probably somewhat vapid plans. But I’m sure she’d considered careers, at least in passing. Then she finds out she’s the Slayer. As we find out in later episodes, it’s difficult to balance work and slaying.
Thanks to that and a mediocre high school education — she probably has one of the only valid reasons for not keeping up with her studies — she struggles to support herself and her sister on minimum wage. (The fact that she’s able to may actually be the least realistic part of the show.)
Lesson: You need to know how to live on very little money. Whenever possible, be wary of taking on financial obligations: a new car loan, a large student loan, etc.
Secondary lesson: Pay attention in school.
Don’t leave your loved ones high and dry
Buffy actually doesn’t work at all — slaying is kind of distracting — until her mom’s sudden death. Then she’s left with a pile of bills and her teen sister as a dependent.
Lesson: Get life insurance. Your family needs to be able to cover the cost of a funeral. And dependents need to pay bills while they grieve. Remember to only get term life insurance.
Secondary lesson: Sometimes death comes out of nowhere and wrecks lives. And pisses off/bewilders fans worldwide.
Technology comes at a high price
In one episode Willow accidentally releases a demon into the Internet. (Look, it could happen to anyone.)
He invades all of the computers, which gives him access to the various computer nerds who worship at technology’s altar. He sways them to his will — mainly with the promise of information/knowledge. He then gets them to do everything from building him a robot body to killing people who stand in his way.
Buffy, not being all that interested in the latest technological advances, is able to see what’s going on and put an end to it.
Lesson: Keeping up with the latest technology can kill… your budget.
Secondary lesson: TV shows vastly overestimated Internet abilities at ’90s-level connection speeds.
Your friends aren’t always good (or consistent) role models
In one of the episodes, Xander gets possessed by the spirit of a hyena — like ya do — and becomes a total creep. He ends up abandoning the friends he cares about to hang out so that he can hang out with his new pack (of similarly hyena possessed teens).
Willow thinks Xander left because of something she did. She’s quick to think that she’s in the wrong. Buffy stands by what she knows to be right and wrong. Because of that, the situation gets resolved.
Lesson: People are inconstant, and they’re probably just as likely to make mistakes. Some will judge you for not being more like them. In finance, as in life, you need to make good choices, by sticking to your values. Which not eating your principal (or principles) just because the cool kids are doing it.
Secondary lesson: If a sign at the zoo says to keep out, then keep out!
Tertiary lesson: Trichinosis is a thing. Don’t eat raw pig.
Can you think of any more money lessons from the show?