5 Money Lessons I Learned from Mean Girls

By Kim Galeta
October 3, 2017

Happy National Mean Girls Day!

In case you’re unfamiliar, October 3rd is an unofficial holiday commemorating the anniversary of the 2004 cult classic and all the life lessons it taught us. This year is extra special, though, because Mean Girls is making its way to Broadway.

And, in honor of the milestone, I am excited to take this opportunity to share with you 5 money lessons I learned from Mean Girls:

Don’t worry about keeping up with the Plastics

We can’t talk about Mean Girls without mentioning the Plastics, AKA the “it girls” at North Shore High School (NSHS). The Plastics are made up of Regina George, Gretchen Wieners, Karen Smith and later, Cady Heron. Responsible for catch phrases like “you can’t sit with us” and “on Wednesdays we wear pink;” you either hated the Plastics or secretly tried to be just like them…or a combination of both.

Money Lesson: Financial anxiety is the number one stressor for Americans. And, making money decisions to please others or keep up appearances can have serious consequences. In some cases, you may find yourself overspending every month and not being able to pay your bills on time or even creating a cycle of debt that becomes difficult to overcome.

The good news is that once you realize that money doesn’t buy happiness, you can start to prioritize your financial goals. You can also figure out the best budget for you, based on your personality type.

It’s time to come to terms with reality

When Janis tells Cady that she’s, “Plastic. Cold, shiny, hard plastic,” it turns out to be exactly the wake-up call she needed to address her own behavior. As the movie wraps up, Cady soon begins to “suck the poison out of her life.” Dramatic, I know.

Money Lesson: This point is particularly personal as someone who lived in debt denial a few years ago. I didn’t even know exactly how much I owed because, at times, it felt much easier to avoid or ignore the fact that my second biggest monthly payment happened to be servicing debt.

But one day I decided to add up all my debt: student loans, credit cards and a car loan. This exercise turned out to be much more freeing than I could have imagined. By coming face to face with the $50,000 elephant in the room, I was able to devise a plan to create the lifestyle of my dreams a lot quicker than I ever imagined.

There’s no such thing as a stupid question

Okay, so maybe when Regina asked if “butter is a carb” she was pushing it a bit. But seriously, don’t be afraid to ask questions because this is one of the best ways to learn.

Money Lesson: The same principle can be applied to beefing up our financial knowledge. Be sure to do your own research and ask questions when it comes to making big decisions such as opening your first bank account after college. If you need more help, you can also consider reaching out to a fee-based financial advisor who can help you create a roadmap for your financial future.

Always have a backup plan

Remember when Cady and the Plastics performed at the talent show and the radio stopped working? Fortunately, instead of running off the stage, Cady got the entire room to join her in signing an impromptu rendition of “Jingle Bell Rock.”

Easy enough.

But what happens when unexpected events pop up that are much more serious? Examples include things like trips to the emergency room, car repairs or even a sudden layoff.

Money Lesson: With an emergency fund, you won’t have to worry about how you’ll handle these surprise expenses. A good rule of thumb is to save three to six months of living expenses in your emergency fund. Your fund should also be kept separate from your regular checking or even your regular savings account.

Try not to obsess

As you might have already realized, Regina was paranoid about her weight. So much so that it seemed to consume her thoughts each day – pun intended. In the long run though, her obsession over being the so-called perfect size did more harm than good.

Regina opted for crash diets instead of developing healthy habits like eating balanced meals or exercising regularly and her plan soon backfired.

Money Lesson: Just like making solid choices for your physical health, creating healthy financial routines will help you set the stage for long-term success. Not sure where to start? Automating your savings is one of the easiest habits to implement. In fact, with a Chime bank account, you can save money with every paystub by automatically direct a percentage of your paycheck into your savings account. Putting your savings on autopilot removes the guesswork and gives you peace of mind when it comes to your finances.

And how fetch is that?

Kim Galeta has been a professional writer since 2009 focusing primarily on personal finance but also dabbling in tech, health & wellness and small business. She holds an MBA in finance and corporate strategy from the University of Florida.

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