What The Simpsons teaches you about using a credit card...and about being all credit savvy in general, or not.
Love it, hate it, or admit your growing obsession with it, The Simpsons is a cultural phenomenon that has crossed global borders and stood the test of time (both in TV land and, well, real land). The show has been the subject of college courses, philosophical discussions, and even debate grounded in psychology, which is why it should come as no surprise that when you watch The Simpsons, really watch it, some truly great life lessons emerge.
What's interesting is how particular these life lessons are — take, for example, credit cards. What does Homer's, and the rest of The Simpsons' characters', quips and interactions with credit cards have to teach us about our own credit card use?
1. Having a credit card is cool — and you're never too young to have one
Who says an eight-year-old can’t have a credit card? Well, in Australia, the law, but The Simpsons is a different place
Lisa: Come on, Alex. We've only got nine, maybe ten years tops, where we can giggle in church and chew with our mouths open and go days without bathing. We'll never have that freedom again.
Alex: Listen, you can giggle and stink all you want, but I have a credit card, so pfft on you.
2. A Spanish song can fix all your credit problems
First of all — don't bother checking if your credit card is maxed out before trying to use it. Don't bother trying to maintain your payments at all. Then, when your card is rejected, throw the contents of your wallet in the waiting cashier's face.
Waiter: Excuse me, sir. Your credit card has been rejected.
Homer: Oh, how embarrassing. Well, let me just give you one of my many other valid – RUN!
Waiters: They're getting away, stop them Mary Kay!
[After they've been stopped.]
Homer: So we can't pay for your precious food. What are you going to do about it?
What did they do about it? Watch the clip below to find out what happened.
3. Credit cards come in all shapes and forms
Don't be so naive as to think that credit cards have to be rectangular pieces of plastic that give you access to an account full of a pre-determined amount of funds. No, no. The Simpsons, again, is ahead of their time and shows us all the different types of credit cards that can exist.
Principal Skinner: Otto, we need you to fill up the bus. Here's the credit card.
[He passes Otto a hose]
Principal Skinner: And a mint for afterwards.
[Later, when the class is running from the actors]
Principal Skinner: Start the bus, Otto! Start the bus!
[Otto is sucking oil from the petrol tank of another bus. He spits it out.]
Otto: Damn. I shouldn't have eaten the mint first.
4. Credit cards can buy happiness, but they buy even more happiness when the card isn't yours
What do you do when you see an infomercial on TV for something you want? Don't use your own card — use someone else's.
Bart: [on the phone] Uh, yes, my name is Homer Simpson and I'd like to order an Itchy & Scratchy cell. My credit card? Uh, do you accept the 'Federal Breast Inspectors' card? 'Licence to ogle'? 'Vyza'? Oh yea, of course, that's what I meant — Visa. It's these new dentures.
5. Applying for a fraudulent credit card can get you a new dog
That's right — break the law and you get a puppy! And what a puppy! This dog never sleeps, though it actually does — while jogging!
Bart: Wow! My own credit card! [kisses Santa's Little Helper] Thanks, Santos! [Santa's Little Helper coughs up a quarter] A quarter? Well, you're just the dog who keeps on giving, aren't ya?
6. Memorise credit card details. Yours, or at least someone's.
Using a credit card is all about being secure, which is why it's helpful to memorise your credit card details. If you don't have your own details handy, memorising someone else's can also make for easy and quick payments.
Bart: Hey Lis, is Dad's credit card number 5784-3653-4341-0709?
Lisa: You know it is.
Special mention: Homer is for Mastercard
Homer was also used to advertise credit outside of the yellow-coloured Simpsons world. In 2004 he was in a Mastercard ad that shows him using his credit card around Springfield, in the famous Mastercard ad style – check it out below.
More Embiggening Simpsons stuff
- Read article: Ever Wondered What The Simpsons Floor Plan Looks Like?
- Read article: 14 perfectly cromulent financial tips from Homer Simpson
Compare the credit card offers in our credit card comparison tables to come to an informed decision.