Financial lessons from F.R.I.E.N.D.S: Chandler, Ross, Joey, Phoebe, Rachel, Monica

These financial lessons from a popular sitcom will stand you in good stead.

Surprising financial planning lessons each of these F.R.I.E.N.D.S. characters teach us

F.R.I.E.N.D.S. made us laugh, cry, love, and laugh again. The protagonists inspired an entire generation to live their best life. As our beloved six navigated through adulthood, they set great examples to follow. They also made mistakes, showing us what not to do. Let’s take a look at some valuable financial lessons the gang taught us.


  • Save before you spend
    When Monica wanted an extravagant wedding, Chandler famously put his foot down. He told Monica he had saved all these years so that they can have a wonderful future and not blow it all up for a ‘party’. This is an invaluable life lesson – financial stability should be top priority.
  • Tweak your budget when needed
    Chandler misses the gym for the last 1200 times! He has been paying for his membership for over a year, but he cannot cancel because of the dreamy spandex girls. Finally, he realises that he is wasting money and builds up the courage to cancel his membership. While he fails, he ‘pivots’ his plan and cancels his bank account!

Season 8 Friends GIF


  • Do not gamble; always invest a windfall
    When his friends want to play the lottery, Ross constantly tries to talk them out of it by telling them how low their odds are. He does not want to participate in the gamble and does not want his friends to lose money either. When Monica buys tickets on his behalf and Joey asks him what he will do with his money, he says he will invest it. Chandler hilariously asks him to ‘calm down’. This is a sound practice. Whenever you have a windfall, invest it or use it to pay off your debt.
  • Get the most bang for your buck
    Ross, in Vermont, was quite embarrassing to say the least. What with taking toilet paper, shampoo bottles, sewing kit, and more! While we don’t encourage you to nick things from hotels you stay at, there is an important financial lesson here. Whenever you make an investment, ensure you make the most of it and leverage it to your benefit.

Season 9 Good Job GIF by Friends


  • Learn to be financially independent
    Daddy’s pampered little girl grows up and finds a place in the real world when she walks out on her fiancé on their wedding day. From never having held a job, she goes on to build a great career in fashion. While it was not easy, she famously cut her daddy’s credit cards and started adulting. She taught us about hard work, paying our dues, and gaining financial independence at any cost.
  • Do not get pressured to spend money
    The time Chandler and Monica plan a fancy birthday surprise for Ross, it turns out to be terribly expensive. Fancy dinner and tickets for Hootie and the Blowfish was not something Rachel could afford. Instead of giving in and ruining her budget, she along with Phoebe and Joey decided to speak up and miss the celebrations.

Season 1 Friends GIF


  • A side gig can help you tide over rough times
    If there was ever a hustler on F.R.I.E.N.D.S., it has to be Phoebe. Having lived on the streets, she knew she had to always work to fend for herself. When she realised what a financial burden it would be on her brother Frank to raise triplets, she starts side gigs to help him financially. From selling knives to starting a mobile massage business, Phoebe tried it all.
  • Demand to be paid for services you offer
    Phoebe also taught us that we must not let ourselves be pushed around in business and should ask for what is rightfully ours. When she and Monica start a catering business and their client turns to drama to get out of paying, she really buckles down and refuses to leave till they are paid.

Season 6 Friends GIF


  • Live within your means
    Joey lands an acting gig and immediately decides to move out. Not only that, he buys all kinds of outlandish animal décor. Who can forget ‘pat the dog’, which made an appearance in the last episode of the show as well? He puts everything on his credit card, which he is unable to pay. Not only does he have to return everything, he also has to move back in with Chandler. Lesson learned? It is important to live within one’s means; don’t spend money you don’t have.
  • No job is too small to pay your bills
    While Joey may have his faults, he doesn’t shy away from working as a waiter at Central Perk when his acting jobs dry up. His resilience and optimism teach that you should go with the flow, take up jobs that you may deem beneath you, and alter your lifestyle when the going gets tough. 

Pay Me Season 6 GIF by Friends


  • Control your spending
    Monica bought boots that cost more than her rent! She reasoned saying that it would go with skirts and dresses and that she would wear it all the time, only to find out they are so uncomfortable that she could barely walk in them. This is a big no-no. It is imperative that we never overshoot our budget, unless it is an emergency. And buying shoes definitely doesn’t count as one!
  • Create an emergency fund
    With Chandler on an unpaid internship, Monica realises they are spending more than they are making. To meet their bills, she has to borrow $2000 from Joey. This situation could have been easily avoided if they had created an emergency fund as a fallback option.

Monica Geller GIF



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