7 money lessons you can learn from Kimmy Schmidt

7 millennial money lessons from Kimmy Schmidt

Don’t leave your life savings in a JanSport backpack


What would you do if you emerged from a hole in the ground and reentered the world clueless about your finances, modern social norms and basically everything else about life? The concept seems ridiculous, but that’s the madcap premise of the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the second season of which just arrived on Netflix for your binge-watching pleasure.

You know what else is like climbing out of a bunker totally clueless about the world? Moving out of your parents’ house in your twenties. Seriously. Being independent and on your own for the first time is scary but luckily—or at least entertainingly—you can learn a thing or two from Kimmy’s escapades. Even if you haven’t spent 15 years of your life imprisoned by an insanely named cult leader (Jon Hamm’s Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne), being an adult is harder than it looks.

1. A little financial illiteracy goes a long way


Kimmy isn’t good at math, understandable seeing as how she missed some seminal arithmetic lessons during her time in the bunker. Here’s her trying to make change: “Okay, it’s $25.43, and you gave me $41, so 100 minus 43, take the 1 from the zero… wait… wait…” But that doesn’t discourage her. She goes for her GED anyway and she’s damned determined! You don’t have to be a genius to get by in life or to manage your finances.

2. Don’t get swindled


Kimmy’s roommate, Titus Andromedon (played by Tituss Burgess), has fairly good intentions for his new friend. But being broke as heck, he did take advantage of her naivety. About a day after she moves in, he informs her that they owe their landlord $950 of back rent plus next month’s dues, a one-month security deposit and compensation for a lamp that stopped working ever since she moved in. Kimmy, sharp as a tack, wasn’t having any of it. “Nice try, Titus,” she says, “there’s no lightbulb in there!” Good catch, Kimster. Stay vigilant and keep an eye out for swindlers.

3. Your home is a castle, no matter how small


You may not be able to afford your dream home yet, but that doesn’t mean it can’t make you happy. Kimmy loves her closet-turned-bedroom and is even more thrilled with her new door. The lesson: make the most of what you’ve got no matter how much space you have.

4. Be persistent with that job hunt


After getting hired on the spot as a nanny for too-rich-for-her-own-good Mrs. Voorhees (played by Jane Krakowski), Kimmy promptly gets fired. Undeterred, she marches back and pleads her case: She’s proficient in WordPerfect and Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, and can hold her breath for a real long time—all invaluable skills. Her gumption pays off and she racks in $17 an hour under the table. You go, girl! Land your dream job!

5. Car ownership is overrated


Yeah, a car may be your ultimate status symbol, but as Kimmy’s delight at riding the subway shows us, you gotta find the little pleasures in life. Don’t take that underground metal tube that gets you to where you want to go for granted. It’s a lot more affordable than owning a car.

6. Sometimes you gotta treat yourself


When Kimmy hits New York and is handed a whack-load of cash ($13,000 in bills, to be exact) she hits the shops and ditches her powder-blue bunkerwear for some snazzy new threads. What does she splurge on? Exactly what a fashion-forward teen of the ’90s would die for: a personalized backpack, monogrammed necklace and sneakers that light up when you walk. Budgets are important, but you should use your money to have a little fun every now and then.

7. Protect your assets


The worst thing that happens to Kimmy is being locked away in a doomsday bunker for a huge chunk of her life. The second-worst would probably be losing $13,000 after leaving it in a knapsack on a dirty club floor. As expected, some scumbag whisked it away the second she set it down, leaving poor Kimmy with nothing. I guess she learned the first lesson of money management, which is put your savings in a savings account, not in a purple JanSport backpack.