The One With Joey’s Credit Card Debt: Finance Lesson On Friends

The One With Joey’s Credit Card Debt: Finance Lesson On Friends | Credit Cards | The Loaded Pig

As Joey and Ross casually walk through the door of Joey’s new, expensive, solo apartment discussing Rachel’s interest in a book, Joey looks through his mail…. “Uh oh.” Ross: “What…what’s that?” Joey: “It’s my visa bill. Envelope 1 of 2….That can’t be good.” Ross: “Open it, open it…”

17 years after Friends ended, it’s still wildly popular and shockingly relevant. Stay tuned to read about money mistakes the infamous Joey Tribbiani made that lead to his financial trouble in season 2, episode 19. 

He spent more than he could afford

Joey landed a big acting job on Days of Our Lives and after going to a party at a flashy apartment he decided he should move out of his humble apartment he shared with Chandler. Not only did he get a lavish apartment of his own, but he furnished it with extravagant furniture and decor. This is known as lifestyle inflation, when your spending increases as your income increases. The real issue is when your income drops and you’re left with high monthly expenses.

He racked up credit card debt

Joes: “Look at this, how did I spend so much money?” 

Ross: “Uh Joey, that’s just the minimum amount due. THAT’S your total due.”


This is a major credit card trap. Joey didn’t use credit cards responsibly, or perhaps didn’t even know how credit cards really worked. As you make purchases with a credit card, your balance increases. You are expected to make at least the minimum payment each month to keep your account in good standing, however best practice is to pay off the total balance. By paying off the full balance by the due date, you avoid having to pay interest. Interest accumulates on the balance after the due date and can make it very difficult to pay off the total balance in the long-term due to high interest rates. Carrying a balance is one of many common credit card traps

He didn’t have an emergency savings

Joey’s reaction to his exorbitant credit card bill and the plot that follows suggests that Joey did not save part of his income in an emergency fund before he was fired from his job. Having an emergency fund can prevent you from going into debt and help you avoid extra stress when the unexpected happens. Most experts agree that you should save enough to cover 3-6 months of regular expenses and keep the money separate from other savings. It’s important that before you use your emergency savings you make sure that the expense is unexpected, urgent and necessary.

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He didn’t follow a budget

As Joey and Ross looked over Joey’s credit card statement, they read aloud some of the merchants he spent loads of money at. 

Ross: “Woah, woah, $3,500 at…Porcelain Safari?!”

It was clear that Joey didn’t use a simple budgeting method, like the 50/30/20 technique, or a more complicated yet effective strategy like the zero-based budget. Creating and then following a budget enables you to manage your finances more efficiently which leads to you reaching your financial goals quicker.

Check out the quick video below to see Joey’s new apartment:

The Bottom Line

If Joey had avoided even one of these personal finance mistakes, he would have been in a much more secure situation. Of course, that wouldn’t have made for great television!

Learn about frugal living tips in our article, “Save Dat Money” – 13 Best Frugal Living Tips From Lil Dicky’s Song.

Financial freedom begins with good habits.

Rebecca & Tiago,

Rebecca co-founded The Loaded Pig with the goal of helping people achieve their financial goals. Her passion for financial freedom has landed her on US News & World Report,, Cheapism, and many other sites. Rebecca earned her Master of Business Administration from the University of Florida and her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Miami. She is currently a professor in the business department at Broward College.