10 Times I Literally Could *Not* With Carrie Bradshaw’s Finances

10 Times I Literally Could *Not* With Carrie Bradshaw’s Finances

She likes her money right where she can see it…hanging in her closet.

Whether you love her or you hate her, Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw stands the test of time. Even without the anticipated HBO Max reboot, And Just Like That…, Carrie is one of TV’s most well-known personas due to her iconic closet, her collection of ex-boyfriends, and her over-the-top spending habits.

HBO / Via tenor.com

The fact that Carrie lives lavishly off of a weekly columnist’s salary and pays a $700 rent on the Upper East Side is reason enough to accept that this is merely fiction. However, the budgeting enthusiast in me just can’t come to terms with how much money is thrown down for new shoes.

And just like that, here are 10 times Carrie Bradshaw made serious money mistakes:

1. When she spent approximately $40,000 on shoes.

HBO / Via giphy.com

After a bad breakup with Aiden, who had very recently purchased her Upper East Side brownstone, Carrie is forced to deal with one of those pesky unexpected life events. Determined to buy back her place, she tries to get a bank loan but is denied due to her dismal financial status. While a budgeter might have at least a little bit of spare cash tucked away, Carrie is left wondering where all of her earnings go. 

Later in the episode, Miranda helps calculate just how much money has been spent on designer shoes during Carrie’s time in New York City. The damage? $40,000! 

According to finance experts, stashing away three to six months’ worth of expenses before investing thousands of dollars into footwear can bode well when life hands you lemons.

2. When she bullied Charlotte into giving her money for a downpayment.

HBO / Via gfycat.com

Remember the $40,000 spent on shoes? It turns out that could’ve been used as a downpayment for Carrie’s apartment. With her bank loan denied (and an uncashed check from Mr. Big in her purse), Carrie decides to turn to her friends for assistance. In one of the most infamous scenes in SATC history, Carrie verbally harasses Charlotte into lending her the money. Eek! 

In the end, Charlotte does give Carrie her old engagement ring from Trey to sell, but it’s strange that the exchange is never mentioned in the series again — though writer and producer Amy Harris has spoken out, saying that she and Sarah Jessica Parker like to think that Carrie paid back the money.

Carrie’s pushy attitude doesn’t seem to affect their overall friendship in the long run, but it’s never worth guilting a friend into helping you financially. 

3. When she was nonchalant about her maxed credit card.

HBO / Via giphy.com

Carrie is the reigning queen of pulling out her American Express card to fund shopping sprees, new handbags, and brunch. Though we don’t know exactly how much debt the writer has accrued, it’s very certainly an ugly number. For the most part, Bradshaw seems unbothered by her looming debt — and casually mentions maxing out her AmEx.

In Season 1, Carrie is perusing Dolce & Gabbana and tries to buy a pair of heels. The cashier informs her that her credit card is declined and that the credit card company has ordered him to cut it up to avoid further use. Don’t be like Carrie, folks. Pay off that balance. (BTW, if you could use a refresher, you can read up on some useful credit card management tips here!) 

4. When she asked her friend if she could return a gift because she “could really use the cash.”

HBO / Via giphy.com

When Carrie’s fleeting friend during Season 2, Susan-Sharon, gifts her a cashmere scarf, Carrie’s first response is to ask if she can return it and keep the money. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with returning a gift you know you might not use for whatever reason, but the quick comment to her generous friend seems a little bit unnecessary.

Perhaps more an etiquette mistake than a money one, this is still a prime example of just how warped the columnist’s view of money can be. Strangely, Susan-Sharon seems unbothered and laughs it off with a quippy, “Why do you think they call it cash mere?” 

5. When she avoided the subway and only took cabs.

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As someone who has lived in a major city without a car, I can safely say cabs are the least affordable way to get around. I’ve definitely taken plenty trying to get from downtown to another point in the city, but almost always regretted my decision after seeing the bill. Is there a reason to pay $40 for a couple of miles when you can pay $3 for a subway ride?

Carrie’s expertise in hailing a taxi with such grace and fervor is a pivotal part of her character. She’s not Carrie Bradshaw if she’s not darting into a cab to flee a bad date or directing the cab driver to chase after Mr. Big. We see all of the women pay for countless cab rides in almost every episode of the series, but we never see them use the subway or any other affordable method of public transit. In the singular episode of Season 4 where Carrie has a financial reckoning, she does muster up the courage to make some serious lifestyle changes…in the form of riding the bus exactly once.

6. When she avoided cooking or eating at home.

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Does Carrie ever use her kitchen? The answer to that is actually yes — she stores her sweaters in the oven. And while that kind of concerns me sanitation-wise, I do have to give her major props for making use of every inch of her apartment’s square footage. Still, this speaks to just how much Carrie Bradshaw cooks. Which is, well, never.

Across the board, the women of SATC enjoy wining and dining for brunch, lunch, happy hour, and dinner. There is an episode where Miranda famously has a mental breakdown after a worker at her favorite Chinese restaurant knows her order by heart, and Carrie’s food habits are no better. The amount she’s spending to eat out is probably preposterous, and in the rare instances we do see her eating at home, it’s always accompanied by a large quantity of takeout boxes.

7. When she spent a ridiculous amount on clothes.

HBO / Via giphy.com

While finances might not be her forte, fashion is something that this New Yorker knows. Carrie Bradshaw might be the only grown woman who can rock a tutu, but at what cost? 

While we can rationalize that some of the designer items in her closet might’ve been borrowed or gifted from the wealthy people in her circle, we also know that Carrie likes to do a lot of retail therapy. Like, a lot. In fact, this Elle article estimated that Carrie’s wardrobe in Season 4 alone cost upwards of $175,000! I had to wonder…is this being charged to her credit card?

8. When she always had a cigarette in her hand.

HBO / Via pinterest.com

I’m chalking up Carrie’s smoking habit to living in the ’90s to early 2000s. As the series goes on, her friends encourage her to quit, but — similar to hailing cabs with fervor — having a cigarette in hand is part of what makes Carrie Bradshaw Carrie Bradshaw. 

In case her monthly budget isn’t already screwed from the cab rides, cosmos, and footwear, the protagonist is probably putting quite a bit of cash toward a plethora of cigarette packs per month. And, with the price of cigarettes going up each subsequent year, Carrie is wasting more and more money as the seasons go on.

9. When she hired herself a personal assistant.

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Buckle up! We’re moving into SATC movie territory now. Remember when Carrie hired Jennifer Hudson as her personal assistant in the first film installment? As the series progresses, Carrie’s career broadens from weekly columnist to Vogue contributor and book author, but this investment still seems a little far-fetched given all of the financial factors mentioned.

Plus, it seems that her assistant is mostly there to check Carrie’s email for her and, more importantly, give her advice on her love life. So, I guess money well spent? The jury is still out on this one.

10. When she didn’t prioritize her financial future (which was all the time…).

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While there’s no denying that Carrie Bradshaw has some stellar fashion, her financial priorities are a little askew for success in the real world. During the famed ‘Carrie losing her apartment’ episode mentioned above, the actual numbers in Carrie’s bank account are revealed. She has $700 in her checking account and $900 in her savings; meaning Carrie Bradshaw, in her 30s, has about $1,600 to her name. 

Yes, everyone’s money journey is different, but Carrie also has a walk-in closet full of Manolo Blahniks. High fashion is a high priority for Bradshaw, but she doesn’t leave room to put money toward any future financial goals.

Is there anything I missed? Share the Carrie Bradshaw money moments that make you yell at the screen in the comments!

And for more stories about life and money, check out the rest of our personal finance posts!

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