Frugal Lessons From Back In The Game: Season 1 Episode 1

Alex Rodriguez, former MLB superstar and now businessman and someone we’ve highlighted as a frugal athlete is the subject of a new show called Back In the Game on CNBC. Executive produced by another frugal athlete Michael Strahan, the show is about helping athletes get their life back on track from the unfortunate financial decisions and circumstances that took place during their professional careers that have led them to this point. In the pilot episode which aired on March 13th, Alex Rodriguez is tasked with helping Joe Smith former NBA basketball player and #1 pick in the 1995 draft get back in the game after squandering most of the 61 million in career earnings that he made. 

We decided it’s only right that we added our frugal lessons from this show much like our Ballers segment because there are a lot of takeaways to be learned from this show. The show did a fantastic job of showing just how easy it is to find your self in stressful financial situations if you aren’t on top of it. CNBC also showed how capable any professional athlete is staying financially stable if they take advantage of all that’s offered to them. I particularly liked the graphics that were used on the show to help teach and bring home certain financial points . With that being said here are the frugal lessons we learned from Back In The Game’s pilot episode. 

photo via CNBC

photo via CNBC


Excess Spending

Joe Smith is struggling to get out of debt because of some of the financial decisions he made throughout his career. In the episode, Alex Rodriguez (ARod) goes over Smith’s financial expenses in relation to his income. We find out that not only is Joe Smith in debt for over a hundred thousand dollars. He is spending more than he is currently bringing in monthly. His rent and car note alone was more than his monthly earnings. Many times as athletes it’s tough to downsize because we are use to the lifestyle but in order to get out of the hole Smith is in, he must make some sacrifices as ARod pointed out.

car luxury.jpeg


Joe Smith is hoping to build out his basketball training academy into a legitimate business. At the moment prior to ARod’s help he was just  going by word of mouth to grow his business. In the episode, ARod uses some of his connections and friendships to help Joe Smith grow his business and build it’s credibility. Two people he reached out too are Kevin Plank and Dominique Wilkins. Kevin Plank is the founder  and CEO of Under Armour while Dominque Wilkins is an retired Hall of Fame basketball legend who played for the Atlanta Hawks and current businessman himself. What’s ironic about ARod using his connections to help Joe, is that Joe has connections to both these people as well. Joe Smith and Kevin Plank are both University of Maryland alumni and Joe played with Wilkins in the NBA. This goes to show how important it is to network and use the resources right in front of you to help you grow. If you are coming with something to the table and are of good character, people within your network will jump at the chance to help. 

Personal Brand

One of the first questions ARod asked Joe concerning  his business is if he is promoting his business on social media. In this day and age, if you aren’t on social media promoting yourself in a positive manner many companies and industries will not work with you. ARod was gracious enough to have his company’s social media strategist give Joe some tips to help him grow his brand. Perception is reality especially when it comes to social media. That will only continue to be more prevalent with how impactful social media is becoming. 

social media.jpeg

Teamwork Makes The Dream Work

In this pilot episode, you get a great picture of how finances can cause a strain on your relationship and cause stress. Joe and his fiancé Kisha have been struggling to get out of the hole they are in and it’s causing a bit of emotion and tension between them. Joe doesn’t feel he’s ready to marry Kisha because of his current situation while Kisha doesn’t want to continue sacrificing without a guarantee. Kisha is unwilling to downsize houses without the promise of overcoming their situation. It’s not until towards the end where they start working together to help each other get to where they want to go. It’s at that moment where they will take the next steps to build financial stability. A majority of relationships stop due to financial constraints and differences. It’s important to find a teammate rather than a competitor on your quest for financial stability.