December 27th, 2012

Sound Advice from Unlikely Sources: The Big Bang Theory

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Big Bang Theory

Ever since I started working at Credit Karma, I’ve rapidly learned about financial matters and now find it difficult to not connect finances to the things I love. The Avengers and your accounts’ affairs? Affirmative. Family and finances? Finished! It was only a matter of time before I turned to one of my favorite TV shows, The Big Bang Theory.

Although the popular sitcom is centered on some very intellectually smart characters, it struck me that they are not always money-wise. Here are a few ways you can be smart, no matter what your IQ level is.

Need some extra cash? Play to your strengths!

Penny may not be the smartest member of the circle of friends, but she’s smart enough to know that her spending is far greater than her salary at the Cheesecake Factory. Because of this, when several co-workers and a small store become interested in buying her homemade flower barrettes, she decides to start her own business, believing it might pay more than waitressing.

Likewise, when Leonard comes up with a great idea for a new smartphone app, he and his friends jump at the opportunity to develop the app themselves to earn some extra money. Although their reasons for wanting more money aren’t exactly… noble (Raj would use the money to give girls rides on a submarine), their entrepreneurial spirit is what counts.

If you are hard-pressed for cash or just want some extra pocket money, why not follow suit and start your own business? Selling hand-crafted goods is easier than ever if you take advantage of sites like Etsy and Storenvy.

Not the crafty type? Try registering to become a TaskRabbit, where you can earn money shopping, waiting in line, or doing practically anything you could imagine!

Thanks to the Internet, there are plenty of ways to earn money doing things you love and are good at. All you need to do is look!

Even if you have the money, be thrifty!

Although Sheldon and Leonard live financially comfortable lives working as physicists at Caltech, they are smart enough to live thriftily anyway, knowing that emergencies can happen anytime.

For example, when Sheldon discovers that Penny has gotten him a Christmas present, he feels obligated to reciprocate with his own present so that he doesn’t feel indebted to her. Not wanting to spend too much money, but also not wanting to give a gift that is worth less than the one he will receive from her, he decides to buy six different gift baskets, match the appropriately valued gift basket to the gift Penny will have given him, and return the others afterward.

BTotoro

Of course, I’m not advocating you go to this extremity to save money (in fact, please don’t). However, Sheldon’s spirit is admirable. If you don’t have the money to buy gifts for your loved ones, why not make homemade gifts or give the gift of your time instead?

I, for one, am going to give my grandma this cute ornament I made instead of purchasing a $10-$20 ornament at the local greeting card store:

Another good way to save money is to follow the guys’ example and shop at garage sales. Although you might not be so lucky as to find a $10,000-$15,000 prop from Lord of the Rings, garage sales (and their online counterpart, Craigslist) are great ways to find like-new items for much lower prices.

No matter how much money you make, it’s always a good idea to look for ways you can save. Who knows… maybe one day you’ll save enough money to buy a time machine!

Don’t panic in terrible financial situations.

Although Sheldon graduated college at the age of fourteen, received his first Ph.D. at sixteen years old, and has an IQ of 187, he is surprisingly not very money-smart, especially during terrible situations.

For example, after being fired from his job, Sheldon fills his time with ridiculous activities like trying to make glow-in-the-dark fish and make the perfect scrambled eggs. It isn’t until his mom forces Sheldon to apologize to get his job back that Sheldon snaps out of his funk.

In addition, in another episode, Sheldon reveals that he keeps his savings in a jar and in the butt of a superhero action figure. He also does not deposit his checks from work because he does not trust banks. To be fair, he may not trust banks because he does not have access to Credit Karma’s Reviews Page. But luckily, you do!

Whether you have been laid off or are in thousands of dollars of debt, Credit Karma is here for you! Be sure to monitor your credit score regularly, check out our Advice and Learning Center, and subscribe to our blog to learn how to continually improve your financial situation.

The Bottom Line

Remember: even if you aren’t part of the .01% of the world’s population who has an IQ of 140 or greater, you can still be financially smarter than the great Sheldon Cooper.

*Knock knock knock*,

Jenna, Credit Karma Contributor

Jenna

helps manage the social media channels and blog at Credit Karma. Although her specialty lies in creating witty post-it notes, she also enjoys sharing all the financial information she’s learned since joining Credit Karma in February 2012. When she’s not working, you can probably find her trying out a new dessert recipe or learning/perfecting any musical instrument she can get her hands on. She may or may not have created a Twitter specifically to put in this byline. Say “hi” @leejennaa!

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