Shortly after the birth of their first child over a decade ago, Chip and Joanna Gaines, now the stars of HGTV’s hit home-renovation show “Fixer Upper,” experienced a financial wake-up call when Chip was thrown in the county jail for about $2,500 in unpaid tickets.
The tickets were issued after neighbours complained that the couple’s dogs were illegally roaming the street in front of their house, they write in their new book “The Magnolia Story.” To pay Chip’s $800 bail, Joanna had to empty the cash register and safe in her small retail shop. It was then that she realised they “were right on the edge of a real financial struggle.” She promised to never let it happen again.
“I have a naturally conservative nature, and Chip and I were supposed to balance each other out, not concede to each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” Joanna wrote of the ordeal. “My strength is saving and being tight with the money, and I had not exercised that strength recently.”
Now, Joanna fully recognises the importance of an emergency fund — something she credits her parents for teaching her to value.
“I think for me, the best lesson is always having a nest egg on the side,” she told Business Insider in a recent interview.
Chip disagrees, however.
“He laughs because I had a nest egg going into our marriage,” Joanna said. “And then that nest egg ended up [going] into an investment, and then within six months I was like, ‘Well, it would have been nice to have that nest egg right about now.'”
Still, Joanna said she’s “always liked the idea of putting money aside.” And she advises her clients to do the same when it comes to renovating a home.
“If you have a $20,000 budget, plan on spending $15,000 — $5,000 will be money that just magically appears that you’re going to need,” Joanna said. “Something’s going to happen, something’s going to go wrong. So I’m always thinking ‘Hey if I have this much, I’m always going to want this over here, just in case.’ But not Chip.”
Chip says his parents taught him the exact opposite.
“They taught me to take that nest egg and throw that thing out the window, and go for it. You only live once — there will be plenty of time to sleep when you’re dead,” Chip told Business Insider. He then asked Joanna, “Do we have a nest egg?”
“I learned early on that if you have a nest egg, you can’t tell him about it, because it will be gone,” Joanna said.
Watch Chip and Joanna discuss their different views on saving money in the video below: