We are just over a week into 2013 and tomorrow might be your first paycheck of the new year.

If you didn’t get a raise then it might be smaller than you are used to because taxes have gone up. That’s what happens when you live in a country that believes the government should continue to grow and it should be funded through income taxes, inflation, and debt.

But if you did get a raise for 2013, your paycheck might be a little bigger in 2013 than it was in 2012. Or maybe you didn’t get a raise but you did get a nice Christmas or New Year’s bonus.

For anyone that earned a bonus or a raise, what are you going to do with your money? Are you going to be like Honey Boo Boo’s mom, or are you going to be irresponsible?

Wait… what?

Honey Boo Boo’s Mom is Financially Wise

If you aren’t familiar with Honey Boo Boo, she is a young girl who lives somewhere in the deep south with her mother, father, and three sisters. The family has a reality TV show on TLC and they are paid around $15,000 PER EPISODE.

mrs shannon

photo credit: twicsy

Here’s my completely politically incorrect description of the show for those who haven’t seen it: TLC found an uneducated, overweight family with a crass little girl so people can laugh at an overweight and uneducated family. It allows viewers to think “At least my family isn’t as stupid and trashy as those people.”

Well anyone who wants to judge this family for being “stupid” might want to take a closer look.

Many reality TV stars spend the money faster than it comes in because 1.) they aren’t very smart and 2.) they think they will be famous and make money forever.

June Shannon (Honey Boo Boo’s mom) is smart enough to know that her 15 minutes of fame won’t last forever and she is putting every penny she earns from the show into trust funds for her four daughters.

Every. Single. Penny.

She’s not buying a new house with some and saving a little on the side. According to an interview with TMZ, Mrs. Shannon says:

TLC puts the money into the girls’ trust accounts for me and then I get an email telling me how much everyone gets.

The article states that they are making at least $15,000 an episode. They had 10 episodes last year and have another whole season dialed up for 2013. They probably earned less money for the first episodes before the show was popular, but I think it’s fair to say that the family will earn at least a few hundred thousand dollars even if the money dries up after the 3rd season.

This “stupid” family is saving every penny of the hundreds of thousands of TV money and continuing to live off the modest salary the father earns as a contractor.

Who’s stupid now?

What Are You Doing With Your Raise?

Maybe you got a raise or bonus for the new year. Maybe you are working hard and will get a promotion (and a raise) sometime in the near future.

What are you going to do with that money?

Are you going to raise your standard of living so that you spend every penny, or are you going to maintain your standard of living and invest the money in something like my favorite 2013 investment silver.

Don’t let a reality TV star show you up on being responsible with money. There’s nothing wrong with spending money as long as it’s within your means, but your “means” don’t have to increase every time you come into some extra money.

I’ll admit that my standard of living has increased a bit as I have gone from a college student to a newly-hired college graduate and then earned two more promotions. However, my first priority has always been financial responsibility and I’ve saved enough over those 4.5 years to go from $30,000 in student loan debt to being debt free and having a net worth over $70,000.

As the financially-wise mother of Honey Boo Boo once said:

You’re never gonna see me drive a Range Rover or a Mercedes. I’ll drive one if someone else pays for it. Never gonna live above my means.

What about you?

Readers: The last time you got a raise, did you increase your standard of living, increase your savings/debt repayment, or both?