Finances Of Your Favorite Sitcom Characters
One of the simplest facts in life is that everyone loves sitcoms. Sitcoms are easy to watch and incredibly relatable, and people just can’t get enough. In fact, some of us know so much about these sitcoms and their characters that it can feel like we know them in real life. These fictional characters influence lives a great deal, from thousands of people asking for ‘The Rachel’ at their hair salon to people yelling ‘PIVOT!’ when moving a new sofa into their home.
Quite often, the lifestyles we see in sitcoms look incredible, but how realistic are they? Can these popular characters really afford their glamorous city apartments, all their nights on the town, and their seemingly never-ending wardrobe?
The Joybird team loves sitcoms, so we decided to take a look at some of the most popular characters featured in sitcoms to see if they could actually afford their lifestyle. To do this, we looked at every character’s life in the first season of their show, taking note of their job, lifestyle habits, and home location.
We found the property values of comparable homes located close to their television home’s location in each city to determine monthly rent/mortgage and other general housing costs. For characters that owned their home, we estimated a mortgage payment based on a 20% deposit and a 3.92% interest rate over 30 years.
To determine each character’s monthly spending, we looked at the cost of living guides for their city and then determined how much each character would spend per month on eating out, drinking, grocery shopping, transportation, clothing, utilities, and sports and leisure.
Finally, to see if each character could afford their lifestyle or not, we researched the average yearly salary for their job in their city and then calculated their total monthly pay after taxes.
When it comes to ‘Friends’, only Ross and Chandler could afford to live their lifestyles and have money to spare because of their high-paying jobs. Joey, on the other hand, can’t cover his expenses with his paycheck as a part-time actor and we have no idea how much money he owes Chandler.
When we look at the ladies, Monica nearly gets by but falls just short while Rachel definitely doesn’t contribute much to her roommate. Lastly, Phoebe is in the hole for $1,315 every month. So, unless she makes a lot of tips playing guitar at Central Perk, which we’re fairly certain she doesn’t because her music isn’t that great, she can’t afford her lifestyle either.
Haaaaaaave you met Ted? Ted and Marshall are the only characters in ‘How I Met Your Mother’ that can afford their lifestyle. Lily nearly can, but Robin, with her journalist salary, can’t.
What about Barney? PLEASE! With his high salary, the number of suits he has, and his incredible apartment location, we calculated that he needs $3,000 more a month to cover his lifestyle.
Things are certainly stranger outside of NYC, but much more sensible. Joyce Byers is able to cover the monthly costs of single-handedly raising two sons with money to spare. It’s not much, but, if she doesn’t go on anymore Christmas light shopping sprees, she should live comfortably. As the Police Chief, Jim Hopper makes a decent salary. With his very modest trailer, he’s able to save the most out of every character.
Oh, Lorelai. This probably won’t surprise anyone, but her incredible house comes with an equally incredible mortgage payment. That, coupled with the fact that she eats out constantly, means that Lorelai really can’t afford her lifestyle and would need over $8,000 extra a month to cover it.
It’s always sunny in Philadelphia, except when finances are concerned, unless you’re Frank, of course. Sadly, the gang cannot afford their lifestyle at all and we’re frankly still unsure how Charlie manages to survive. Hopefully Frank never moves out.
Seinfeld is often seen as a more grounded sitcom and that rings true for George, Elaine, and Jerry, who can all comfortably afford their lifestyles. No soup for Kramer, though, as he would need an extra $1,000 to not let his schemes be dreams.
Jess, Schmidt, and Winston are pretty much getting by in life and living within their means. We do feel sorry for poor old Nick though, we know he’s trying to get his life together but he’s coming up short $70 each month.
Olivia Pope can often be seen enjoying the finest red wines in the riskiest way (mainly wearing white while sitting on a white sofa) and dining out at fancy restaurants daily. This may come as no surprise, but Olivia really can’t afford her lifestyle. Even with her large salary, she would need an extra $5,000 a month just to break even! Scandalous indeed.
With a mountain of shoes, killer wardrobes, and endless cosmopolitans, the ‘Sex and the City’ girls must have amounted a huge credit card debt. Miranda has always been the most put together of the bunch, but even with her salary as a lawyer, she needs an extra $330 a month just to scrape by. Carrie, on the other hand, needs an extra $14,270 a month (or maybe she could just stop shopping!)
So there you have it, a lot of the most popular characters from beloved sitcoms don’t lead a realistic life, but gosh if they aren’t fun to watch!