Squawkfox on Reality TV: Million Dollar Neighbourhood

It was a hot summer’s day when I was invited to be a ‘Money Saving Expert’ on the new reality TV series, Million Dollar Neighbourhood.

Set in Aldergrove B.C., Million Dollar Neighbourhood challenges 100 families and encourages the community to come together to raise their collective net worth by a stunning one million dollars. The show shares the real life struggles we all face when it comes to finances and family.

Oprah Winfrey Network
Million Dollar Neighborhood
“One hundred families in the community of Aldergrove have just 10 weeks to increase their collective net worth by $1 Million”.
–OWN
U.S. viewers: See the trailer here.
Canadian viewers: See the trailer here.

The first episode is called ‘Hidden Money’, and I’m in it! I make my reality TV debut at the 32:00 minute mark.

About Episode 1 – ‘Hidden Money’
The neighbourhood must reach their weekly $100,000 goal by uncovering the hidden money in their taxes, by gathering all of the spare change in their homes, and by eliminating their credit cards and living cash only.

During the all-day shoot I was stationed in a big white tent for a frugality fair called the ‘Hidden Money Market’. I had a blast meeting the families and showing the community where to find hundreds of bucks in hidden money stashed around their homes.

To get them on the right savings path, I shared these 10 Money Saving Tips for a Million Dollar Neighbourhood — only a few made it to air. You’ll have to watch the show to see which ones made the cut.

Hint: Carl’s crazy green phone from The cost of collecting (your favorite post from 2011) just might make an appearance. ;)

I’d really love to thank Bruce Sellery again, and again, and again though. After seeing the show, I’m touched by his kind words.

Check out Bruce Sellery’s bestselling book Moolala: Why Smart People Do Dumb Things with Their Money (available on Amazon, Amazon Canada), and tune in to Million Dollar Neighbourhood Sunday at 8PM/5PM PT.

Lastly, big major thanks to W Expert, Globe Columnist, and top blogger Preet Banerjee of Where Does All My Money Go for helping me view the show before it went online. Don’t ask me how. :)

Your Thoughts: Did ya watch the show? Do you think the community can save one million bucks?

Your two cents:

  1. Preet January 25th, 2012

    Ha! You’re welcome!

    You were fantastic. The camera absolutely LOVES you.

  2. Canadian Couch Potato January 25th, 2012

    Smokin’!

  3. Zach January 25th, 2012

    I just finished watching the episode, and I think it’s a great premise! I think that a social experiment that engages a community to change their money habits is absolutely fantastic. You were great on camera, and I’m positive your tips helped many people! That said, I had a few problems with the first episode.

    1. I don’t see how you increase one’s net worth by adding up the coins they have in the house/car. It’s not money they didn’t have before… it’s just money they weren’t adequately using. But still, there IS value in change, and I’m glad people got to see that. What could have been done to better Canada/viewers as a whole, and NOT just the participants, would have been to explain uses for found change – high interest savings accounts or paying off credit cards. Don’t just grab all your change and then treat yourself out to dinner!

    2. I disagree with the use of H&R Block. I know the show needed sponsorship, and for the point of that particular exercise, experts ARE valuable. Having an expert go through previous years’ taxes to find missed credits is a WONDERFUL source of found money. But H&R Block is known more for their “get your tax refund today” service, where they take a percentage of your expected refund (plus a flat fee) and pay you out immediately… even though using UFile.ca or another inexpensive service will pretty much get you your refund in 2 weeks or less (if NetFile works, and you have direct deposit set up). I just don’t agree with promoting a company that rips people off like that (it’s no better than using a cheque cashing service – go to the darn BANK people!). BUT I guess having your taxes filed properly is better than not filing at all.

    3. Finally, the task to save money by looking for deals was not properly defined. I don’t really know what people did to “find” that $28k. The lady picking up that extra paper route is great, and I’m glad the woman with her disabled daughter got cheap bales of hay. But I don’t think you could say “I bought this $1k item for only $200, therefore I saved/found $800″. That is a flawed calculation/premise.

    But other than those picky things, (and I agree, I’m just being silly), it’s a fantastic show that Canadians can finally feel connected to (it isn’t a neighbourhood in Michigan, it’s BC!). If it helps a few families in Canada get their act together (and find YOUR blog) then it’s done its job :)

  4. Bill January 25th, 2012

    We can’t watch online here in Texas don’t know about cable tv as we have cut that off as you suggested and now just have netflix and rabbit ears saving us mucho dinero.

    hope to see the clip it in USA in the future.

    Thanks for all the tips

  5. Karen January 25th, 2012

    Can’t watch it in the US, darn it! Congrats on your TV debut!

  6. Erin January 26th, 2012

    I watched the show & am so glad I did as it led me to this fantastic blog! I stayed up way past my bedtime reading it!!!!

  7. Annette January 27th, 2012

    Hey Kerry!

    As one of the participants in the show, I just wanted to thank you for your part in helping us all to be more successful at finding hidden money/savings. It was great to meet you and I hope you had a good time with us here in Aldergrove! Come visit us any time at http://www.facebook.com/milliondollarneighbourhood – we talk about you there! haha

    Cheers,
    Annette

  8. Jeff Crews January 27th, 2012

    Did you show them how you can create a Starbucks for $.32? :)

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