The Bradleys' Financial Struggles
After 12 grueling hours of work, Jean questions how serious Lisa is about getting out of debt. "I think she has secrets," Jean says. "I think she is lying about a number of things and I am going to call her on it—because unless she is honest with me, I can't help her."
Step 1: Calculate debt and get your credit score
Cell phone: $130 per month
Gym membership: $75
Car payment: $560 per month
ATM fees: $273 per year
Step 2: Track your spending and find extra money to pay down debt
In order to help Steven and Lisa track their spending, Jean asks them to write down every single cent they spend. Jean also tells Lisa and Steven they must deposit their paychecks directly into a joint account. Then, Jean delivers some tough news. "Steven's in charge," Jean tells Lisa. "And he's going to pay the bills. You are going to get an allowance and he is going to give you $20 a day."
Lisa begrudgingly agrees to Jean's plan. "I'm going to the bank today to get rid of my womanhood," says Lisa. "So I'm transferring all of my money from my savings account into Steve's checking account, so that he can be the man now and manage the money and take control of Lisa Bradley."
Lisa says part of the reason she went over the budget was to buy a new outfit for her daughter Madison. Steven says Lisa isn't admitting the whole truth. Finally, Lisa confesses that she also took Madison to get her hair done at a salon. "I know you love your daughter and I know you want her to look good," says Jean, "but you've got to watch it."
Jean says Lisa needs to consider how her shopping will affect her children. "Your image is a lie," Jean tells Lisa. "You don't want your daughter to grow up feeling like she needs 'things' to make her happy. ... We're going to strip away all the layers of your onion and you are going to realize what an incredible person you are without all the stuff."
"That's what real living is," says Oprah.
The Bradley's owe more than $2,000 on their big screen TV. Jean says it has to go. Five days later, Lisa gives up the TV, gaining an additional $2,300 towards their debt.
The Bradleys spend $130 a month on cable, yet another cost Jean says the Bradleys need to reduce. Lisa says she needs time to process this move. "I've never set myself up for failure and I'm not going to start by saying something that I know I can't do," says Lisa.
"I'm not here to see you fail," says Jean. "But I think that you really do need to think about what you need, versus what you want." Six days later, Lisa complies and returns all four cable boxes for a yearly savings of $960.
Lisa spends $30 a week getting her hair done, and Jean confronts her at the beauty salon. Lisa refuses to cut back on her weekly visits. After a heated argument, Jean discovers there are some areas where Lisa will not budge. "The hair is not a compromise that Lisa is willing to make," says Jean. "And that's fine. ... This is about making the choices in your life that work for you. It's about saying, 'I'll cut my food budget. ... I will cut a lot of other things in my life and I will choose to do this because I am deciding.'"
Lisa says that one of the hardest parts of the plan has been the reaction she's received from unsupportive family and friends. Jean offers Lisa and Steven words of encouragement. "You are out there," Jean tells the Bradleys. "You're honest, you're open, you're real. You are embracing your problems."
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