Parents' Guide to

Big Spender

By Pam Gelman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Harsh delivery masks good messages about debt.

TV A&E Reality TV 2006
Big Spender Poster Image

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After the initial confrontation, Winget provides each spender with three weeks of financial boot camp. By dissecting what's coming in -- or the lack thereof -- and what's going out, he "kicks some butt" to get his subjects to change their ways. Once he's given them strategies to change their habits, he leaves, videotaping them over the next few days to see if they've, in fact, made changes. But although he does send unemployed spenders to career counseling, these folks clearly need psychological counseling, too, and that part is lacking.

There's no question that Winget's subjects need help, and he's certainly able to address their problems and suggest solutions. But his drill-sergeant-like methodology uses very harsh language language that, despite the strong message about learning to spend responsibly, makes BIG SPENDER inappropriate for younger viewers. For parents with kids off to college, Big Spender offers a chance to address what goes wrong when you spend more than you earn. But parents may want to explain that this brand of excessive overspending involves other issues -- ones that require counseling.

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