Deal hunting on TV
By Katherine Boyle,
My Shopping Addiction
One of the few new television shows about spending, this docu-series follows young people with shopping or spending addictions. The show won’t teach you how to save, but it does highlight how quickly young people can fall into debt because of dangerous addictions to spending.
It premieres Oct. 15 on Oxygen.
This show premiered in July and follows professional antiquers who go to flea markets across the country looking for treasures they can then sell. They’re pitted against each other in challenges, creating that television-required sense of drama — but if you’re like us, you’re watching to learn how to bargain, and buy and resell your market finds. It airs Mondays on PBS.
And let’s not forget the original educational primer on antiques, which will help you in any situation in which you are investing in mid-century paintings or selling grandmother’s china. Sure, you’re no expert appraiser, but “Antiques Roadshow” tells us what’s valuable — and what you should save or sell. In its 16th season and watched by 10 million viewers each week, it’s an insightful thrifter’s guide. It airs Mondays on PBS.
Ten Dollar Dinners
The Food Network is a must-watch for the dining-obsessed who could save a few dollars by learning easy, cheap recipes. And Melissa d’Arabian’s “Ten Dollar Dinners” is a good place for the novice cook to start. She focuses on cheap and easy dinners that can feed a family and takes the pledge literally: four people, $10. Yes, she proves it is possible to eat Kale chips and shrimp scampi on a budget. The show airs weekdays on the Food Network.
I Found the Gown
Forget “Say Yes to the Dress,” which shows the sad reality that most women needlessly splurge on their wedding gowns — the least useful item in their closet (or attic). “I Found the Gown” is the antidote to bridezilla, showing women who score great deals on designer gowns by Carolina Herrera or at Vows Bridal Outlet outside of Boston. It proves you don’t have to break your budget for your big day. New episodes are on TLC through early fall.
If you’re not watching the markets, you should be. No one ever made money by ignoring international finance, so why not learn something about investing? You’ll learn about finance by watching talking heads on CNBC, even if you just have it on as background noise during the day. Picking up news about global markets each day will ensure that you’re watching your finances, and even if you’re not investing, Jim Kramer’s “Mad Money” is an entertaining way to learn financial terms.
Best of the rest
Some television critics saw this as a pathetic reality show about bargain-obsessed people. Deal Hunter doesn’t recommend Dumpster diving for coupons or hoarding products you don’t need, but we do think you should take a few seconds to clip coupons out of the paper. The TLC reality show follows ordinary Americans who’ve learned to play the coupon game — and some who take it to the most extreme levels. You can catch clips from past episodes on tlc.howstuffworks.com
Super Saver Showdown
The competition-reality show pits two DIY- bargain loving types to see who can coupon clip and save the most when planning a party for $200. The show premiered in August on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network and is off the air for fall, but clips are online at Oprah.com.
Now you know why Deal Hunter rarely writes about television for the paper. But this old-school game show, which began in 1965, deserves a mention for teaching many Americans how to shop the supermarket quickly and efficiently. The race-through-the-grocery-store game show taught me to always know the price of milk. And who didn’t love when contestants tried to rack up the highest grocery bills in 60 seconds? Can you believe some people didn’t go straight for the steaks? You can watch the revival series from the 1990s at www.ovguide.com.
THE BOTTOM LINE Television isn’t going to teach you to save a fortune, but there are shows that touch on the tactics we discuss here each week. Since you are paying for cable, the best use of time (and money) might be watching the best shows on television. We’ll leave that up to you to decide.