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Chip Gaines’ Jail Stint for Unpaid Tickets Helped Joanna See the Couple’s Different Views on Savings


Before Fixer Upper stars Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines landed their hit show, Chip actually spent some time in jail. And for the Gaineses, it was a major wake-up call.

The couple discussed this period in their 2016 book, The Magnolia Story. At the time, Chip had amassed $2,500 worth of unpaid tickets — the result of complaints from neighbors that the Gaineses let their dogs illegally roam the streets. Joanna had to empty the cash register at her small retail store to pay the $800 bail. That was when she realized the couple was “right on the edge of a real financial struggle,” and Joanna vowed to never let it happen again.

This story shines the spotlight on an issue many couples face: disagreements over money. “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. “My strength is saving and being tight with the money, and I had not exercised that strength recently.”

From a young age, Joanna’s parents taught her the importance of saving — a lesson she’s carried with her through adulthood. Having a nest egg seemed like a no-brainer because the idea of putting aside money for the future has always appealed to her. It’s the reason she cautions her clients to stay under budget on home renovations; you never know when you’re going to need that extra money.

Chip, on the other hand, had a more relaxed attitude about money, the result of a different upbringing. “[My parents] 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,” he said.

Throughout a marriage, every couple — even those who disagree on matters like money — finds what works for them. And given their success both on- and off-screen, it seems like the Gaineses have found their recipe for success. 

“I learned early on that if you have a nest egg, you can’t tell him about it, because it will be gone,” Joanna joked.

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