Each episode of Netflix's hit reality show "Queer Eye" helps a person transform their life in meaningful ways. Each "hero" gets new clothes, a great haircut, a home makeover, some food advice, and a shoulder to cry on as part of their journey toward self-actualization and fulfillment.
Never before has the show worked to transform a hero's finances. But in the new, fifth season of "Queer Eye," which takes place in Philadelphia and begins to stream June 5, the show finally broaches the topic of money.
"I don't like money," the hero Tyreek tells "Queer Eye" design expert Bobby Berk in season five's fourth episode. "I don't like the concept."
Tyreek, who lives in Philadelphia, begins the episode without credit or even a checking account. "For his paycheck, he was going to a check-cashing place and he was losing 15% of his checks every week because he didn't have a bank account," Berk tells Grow.
To help Tyreek, the show brings in financial educator Tiffany Aliche, who offers Tyreek a crash course on how to get his finances in order. Here are Aliche's top three pieces of money advice.
More than 80% of banks and credit unions use information from ChexSystems, a consumer credit reporting agency, to help decide whether or not to give someone a bank account, according to the National Consumer Law Center. After Tyreek had once lost his Social Security card, someone had opened up an account in his name and then over-drawn it and let charges go delinquent. That put Tyreek on what Berk calls the "no-bank-account" list in the ChexSystems.
"I know that because I've been on that list before," Berk says. "I've had a bank account that went overdrawn and delinquent and I wasn't able to pay it. I ended up having to go the the Easter Bank of China up on Fifth Avenue in New York because they weren't a part of that list and I got a bank account with them."
If you're in a similar position, do some research and find a bank or credit union that does not use ChexSystems. Navy Federal Union, SunTrust Bank, and BBVA Compass are all examples of institutions that don't use ChexSystems, according to Credit Karma.
Aliche advises Tyreek to freeze his credit and then find one of these banks.
Make your financial life as simple as possible by setting up regular online payments and transfers to a savings account. "If you automate your bills, automate your savings, automate your transfers, if you do that, you are just standing at the top of the mountain watching your minion money do what you told it to do," Aliche tells Tyreek.
Automating your savings is a good way to save, keep up with recurring expenses like electricity and gas, and pay down debt, all without having to remember to do anything. This is one of the ways Tori Dunlap, money coach and found of Her First 100K, saved $100,000 in three years.
"It was growing my savings without me having to think about it," she told Grow.
Aliche creates a 36-day plan to help Tyreek "budget, save, and get out of debt."
By writing out timeline of when you want to hit certain financial goals, you are taking the first step toward achieving them. This is especially true if you have debt, says Ramit Sethi, of the website I Will Teach You to Be Rich blog.
"You should be able to answer this question: What is your debt payment date? You should know the exact month and exact year," he told Grow. "Once you have a plan, then you can start to optimize it. You can pay an extra $100 a month, or if your interest is low you can choose to go a little slower. But a vast amount of people don't even know how much they owe, and an even smaller number of people know when their debt will be paid off."
Whether or not you like the concept of credit or of money, you have to recognize that these things matter, Berk says, and gaining control of them can make a huge difference to your quality of life. That's why it's important to make a financial plan for how you will achieve your money goals.
"People think credit is just this chain society puts on us, and, honestly, it is," Berk says. "But the thing is it's still part of society. Don't allow it to be the thing that ruins you. Allow it to be the thing that helps bring you out of poverty."
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