Meet the Bradleys
From the outside, the Bradley family seems to have it all. They live in a $300,000 house and recently purchased two new cars. Lisa admits she spends thousands of dollars every month projecting the image that "everything is perfect." "For me it's very important to look the part no matter what the cost," says Lisa. "I like to get my hair done weekly...I will only buy high-end jeans."
But the Bradleys' financial reality is a far cry from the image they maintain. The truth is that the Bradleys are $170,000 in debt!
Eating out is another big expense for the Bradleys. Lisa says she doesn't cook—instead, they spend about $100 a day on takeout. And because Lisa doesn't like to do dishes, the family uses only plastic dishes and utensils—another expense that can really add up.
$170,000 in debt, Lisa and Steven say they are on the verge of divorce because of her reckless spending.
Steven agrees, saying they argue about money on a daily basis. He says he wasn't even aware of the couple's $79,547 student loan debt. "We make good money as a family and it just shouldn't be this way," says Steven. "I'm tired of it."
The truth is, Lisa and Steven have been living in financial denial for the past three years. Lisa says she throws away the bills and ignores calls from collection agencies while their debt piles up. Lisa says services such as electricity, water, trash pickup and the phone get cut off all the time because she can't keep up with the bills.
Our Debt Diet expert shocks the Bradleys with drastic emergency measures.
Jean says the Bradleys can shrink their debt immediately by simply spending less.
- Instead of spending $7,000 a year on her hair, Lisa will have to spend half that amount.
- The Bradleys spend $30,000 eating out, but on the Debt Diet, they'll have to cut that amount in two.
- They spend $5,000 a year on their cell phone bill—that's 1 out of every 4 waking minutes! On the Debt Diet, the Bradleys will have to limit their phone chats and cut that bill in half.
- They will also have to give up 2 of their 5 cars.
- Jean also says the Bradleys need to start using real dishes and silverware, instead of disposable dinnerware.
- And that piano Lisa leased? It's going back to the showroom!