Cherry's Cash Dilemmas (2011) Movie Script

MUSIC: "I Need A Dollar" by Aloe Blacc
I need a dollar, dollar
A dollar, that's what I need...
'We live in a world, driven by money.
'Images of wealth are hugely seductive.
'I want to find out what money means to women, in Britain, today.'
Hey, hey
Said I need a dollar, dollar
A dollar, that's what I need...
'OK, so the car's not really mine. But I can dream.'
Well, I need a dollar...
'So, I am meeting people from all walks of life.
'To find out what it's like to be minted...'
Is that a yacht jetty?
Dollar, dollar
A dollar, that's what I need...
' to live for free...'
Eww, what is that?
'..and what we're willing to do to get rich quick.'
- I am going to bag me a rich boy, really.
- You will.
You better watch out!
MUSIC: "She Said" by Plan B
Growing up, I think I had quite a comfortable childhood.
I never really thought about money, I was in a bubble,
I was protected from all of that. It was only much later in life
when my parents got divorced, and their financial situation
changed dramatically, that was when I really understood
the power and impact money can have on your life,
and it was quite scary, actually.
MUSIC: "Price Tag" by Jessie J ft. B.o.B.
'So, I am tackling my money demons head-on, by meeting other women
'to understand our troubled relationship with cash.'
It's not about the money, money, money
We don't need your money, money, money...
'For me, that started at university.
'I'm in North London for a trip down memory lane.'
Ain't about the
Cha-ching, cha-ching
Ain't about the...
I read this book.
I don't think I remember anything it says, isn't that awful?
I think I've just erased all the information that I learnt
and replaced it with Grazia.
Two eggs and chips, and a cup of tea.
Price tag...
It's so weird to think that it was ten years ago
that I was a student and eating in places just like this
because it was all I could afford.
You know, egg and chips, 1.50.
You know, as a student it's kind of your lifeline!
'With loans and credit cards I ended up leaving college
'with a 12,000 debt.
'It may be tiny compared to what students today face,
'but back then, it seemed enormous.' Thank you.
It was a real shock when university finished
and I worked out how bad my debt was.
I think, during uni I just assumed somebody else would take care of it
and I'd think about it another time.
I just didn't give it much thought.
It was a real shock when I realised that I had to pay that back
and actually, the bank wants it back pretty quick.
MUSIC: "Rich Girl" by Gwen Stefani ft. Eve
'After uni, I had to work out how to support myself.
'And for me, that meant the daily grind of nine to five.
'But what's it like if you set your sights
'on bagging a wealthy man instead?'
If I was a rich girl
Na na na na na na
See, I'd have all
The money in the world
If I was a wealthy girl.
'I'm in Coventry to meet a girl on a mission to get rich quick.'
- Hello, nice to meet you.
- Ezma, nice to meet you.
- Come in.
- Thanks so much.
Why do you want money? What does money mean to you?
I think money is so powerful, the word money is power.
I think if you've got money everybody looks up to you.
What's your kind of career path?
Sort of to be a wag, maybe,
but I don't mind if he's a footballer
or if he's not, I just want someone who's got money,
who can look after me and make me feel powerful.
I want to be the lady of leisure -
go out and spend money on myself,
and I think you need money to do anything these days, really.
So, what's the plan for tonight.
Tonight, we're going to go out in Leamington, I think,
because there's a few clubs there that we've heard
that some football players will be going.
'So, I'm getting into the spirit
'and joining Ezma on the prowl for a rich man.'
MUSIC: "Only Girl (In The World)" by Rihanna
'First stop, the beauty salon, of course.
'But I'm in for a surprise,
'because Ezma doesn't stop at primping her hair and nails.'
- Vajazzle.
- What's a vajazzle?
Just to get you all ready to party!
- What is a vajazzle?
- It's em...some gem's here,
- we're going to have some gems put down here.
- In this area?
Yes, this area.
- The fanny area?
- Yes.
It all happens before a night out.
Want you to make me feel
Like I'm the only girl
In the world
Like I'm the only one
That you'll ever love...
- Ah!
Oh, my God!
- That's amazing!
- You like?
- Oh, my God!
'As well as the vajazzle,
'Ezma prepares for a night out
'with hair extensions, fake tan,
'and nails. Total cost?
'200 quid. Which means all of Ezma's wages from her office job
'are invested on looking pretty for Mr Rich.'
Do you have any rules of engagement?
Like, "I won't sleep with you on the first night,
"I won't kiss you," or are you pretty happy to go with the flow?
I will always go to their house
so I know, you know, that they have actually got money
and it's not just an act.
Then, if they still tick all the boxes,
then yeah, if it's been a few dates or two dates
then I will be happy to sleep with a guy.
MUSIC: "Lipstick Powder And Paint" by Shakin' Stevens
'With Ezma in charge of my make-up, I get five coats of bronzer
'and a frosted lipstick to match the hot, pink nails.'
Do you think you can ever wear too much make-up?
No, I don't think you can ever wear too much make-up or too much tan.
Powder and paint
Is you is, or is you ain't...
- You ready?
- Yeah, I'm ready.
I love it, I think it looks great. I think you look great!
- I am going to bag me a rich boy, really.
- You will.
You better watch out!
MUSIC: "Let My Hair Down" by Nelly Furtado
'To finish - the obligatory blonde extensions.'
Baby, I want to let my hair down
Baby, I want to let my hair down
Baby, I want to let my hair down
Bring me something that'll make me jump around.
'And, hey presto, I look like Jodie Marsh!'
- Hello, come on in!
- ALL: Hi!
'Before they hit the town, Ezma's friends
'and self-confessed gold-diggers come over for a drink.'
- Ta-da!
- ALL: Oh! Wow!
GIRL: You look like a little Barbie doll!
GIRLS: Yey! Whoo!
'Before heading out, they make a written plan of action.
'And yes, they really do this!'
We're deciding what we're looking for in a guy tonight,
like, what they're drinking. We've put Cristal down.
So, they've must be drinking Cristal, what else?
They've got to look nice, groomed, what they're wearing, that sort.
Big watch. Big, blingy watch.
Can you scan a room and know whether people have got money or not?
- Yeah.
- As soon as you walk in I think you can tell
if the bar's got the spenders.
It's kind of like a money-dar, like, a radar for money!
- You sense it.
- You sense it when you walk in somewhere, you're like...
You can smell the Queen's head, somewhere!
- You can smell money?
- Definitely.
We're so passionate about finding a guy with money
who's going to look after us,
that I definitely wouldn't settle for anything less.
Do you think lots of girls want what you want?
No matter how often they tell themselves,
"I want to earn my own money," deep down they're thinking,
"It would be great, not having to work for the rest of your life."
Everyone wants to be pampered and brought shoes and clothes,
and if they settle for less they're just putting it on themselves,
they can do so much better, so do it.
So, cheers to a good night, girls.
- ALL: Whey-hey!
- Are you ready?
- I'm ready!
- Let's do this.
MUSIC: "Beautiful Dirty Rich" by Lady Gaga
Bottoms up!
A cute life
Pants tight
Tuggin' plastic
But we got no money...
They are focused.
They walked in that bar and they scanned that room.
There's no messing about, those girls know what they want.
They were looking at the floor, looking at trainers,
and wrists for expensive watches.
They are highly, highly skilled.
They can scan a room and instantly pick out whose got money.
It's extraordinary.
Bang Bang
We're beautiful and dirty rich...
- They're at work. They are at work!
We're beautiful and dirty rich...
- Oh, no thanks.
- Why, why not?
Em, he definitely did not have
the personality or the money.
'Three hours and three clubs later
'and there's no sight of Mr Moneybags!'
'And I don't think they're going to find him in here!'
The lights
The lights
The lights, the lights, the lights...
Personally, I just don't think...
that the people they're looking for
are going to be in the places they're looking.
Rich bankers and professional footballers,
I just don't imagine are going to come to places like this.
The girls have dressed up, made a real effort to come out...
just, they're not in the right places.
In a way, it's a shame they've spent so much of the evening
looking for rich guys, when in fact,
entertainment and enjoyable company is right there.
They ARE entertaining and enjoyable company,
they can afford their own drinks!
Morning. How you feeling?
Oh! Thank you.
'Who can blame Ezma for dreaming of a life of luxury?
'But I'm worried that living off someone else's money could put you in a vulnerable position.'
I imagine if a guy's paying for you, he'll want you at his beck and call,
kind of be his slave, a little bit.
Will you mind being that?
No, I don't think I will mind. If I'm with him
and I'm happy with what he's buying me in return, then,
no, I won't mind.
If you do sign up to this deal and you marry this rich guy,
and you kind of fancy him but he's loaded, so that's OK,
what are you going to do in the bedroom?
Is that OK?
Are you happy to do that?
Are you happy to perform even though you only quite like him?
If he's buying me nice things I think that takes over.
You do, genuinely, start to like them
because they're treating you and you feel like a princess,
and you know they're going to look after you,
so you're willing to let them.
They're kind of in control, and taking you under their arm.
Some women might say, women have fought for hundreds of years
to get the vote and be able to work,
and be independent and be empowered,
and not need a man
to dish out money when he feels like it.
How would you respond to those women
who might say to you, "Don't waste what we fought for?"
If that's what they want to fight for, then they can,
but I think it's the man's job to bring in the money
and the girl's job to look nice.
I have never met anyone so focused
and so completely committed to money.
It's extraordinary.
I've never met anyone who would rather have money than love.
I don't know,
I just, I think she's selling herself short,
but she really, really doesn't agree with me.
She's literally crossing her fingers and hoping for the best
but what if it doesn't happen?
'I really hope that Ezma finds her prince charming
'but I want to meet someone who's decided to make their own millions.'
MUSIC: "We Have All The Time In The World" by Louis Armstrong
'And where better to come
'than the swanky Sandbanks area of Poole, in Dorset.
'At 850 per square foot,
'property here is more expensive than Tokyo or Paris.'
- Hello!
- Hi!
- Nice to meet you.
- And you.
This is really beautiful.
- Stunning here, isn't it? Lovely.
- It's amazing.
What's allowed you to afford the champagne lifestyle?
I'm an inventor, I invented My Carry Potty,
it's the world's only leak-proof potty.
Amazing, amazing!
- You've made your money from potties?
- That's right.
Is earning your own money as a woman important to you?
Very important, very. Always since a child, since I was 14 I had a job.
I've always wanted to have the lifestyle.
I love all sorts of different, lovely things and I'm very girlie,
and I know you're not going to get that from working for somebody else,
and I'd never ever want to get it from marrying somebody with money.
'Amanda lives with her husband
'and three kids, in a beautiful, six-bedroom house.
'But already she's got her eye on bigger properties in the area.'
I wanna be a billionaire
So frickin' bad
Buy all of the things
I never had.
'She's keen to show me one house in particular she's intent on buying.
'Current value, eight million pounds.'
Wow! Oh, my God!
- Amazing, isn't it?
- That is ridiculous.
The view and everything - stunning.
- Is that a yacht jetty?
- Yeah.
Wow, how much do you think a kitchen like this would cost?
I'd say a hundred thousand plus for a kitchen like this.
- A hundred thousand pounds for a kitchen!
- Yeah.
My goodness!
- Wow!
- Oh, my goodness, that is absolutely amazing!
Can you see me behind here, sipping my champagne?
There is a lift here to all the floors.
- There's a lift?!
- Yes.
Oh, wow!
- Look at this!
- Look! Amazing.
- That is the house that potty built?
- Yes.
Do you think having somewhere like this, would change you?
No, no, not at all, it will just...
you know, you'll get that amazing feeling inside
that you've achieved it yourself by creating something from nothing,
so, you know, it would not change me whatsoever.
It'd make me very happy. I'm happy now, but this is just a lovely thing
to wake up to every day and share with your friends and family.
MUSIC: "Beyond The Sea" by Bobby Darin
'So, she'll have a jetty.
'Now all she needs is something to park there.'
Beyond the sea
Somewhere waitin' for me...
Wow, this is amazing, isn't it?
This is definitely not shopping for shoes.
No, it's that little bit more expensive.
Little bit more! How much is this boat?
- 170,000.
- (170,000!)
It's all fun, it's all part of living your life and enjoying your money.
'I am certainly impressed by Amanda's drive
'but can this relentless quest for money
'really make her fulfilled?'
Do you think that this makes you happier,
this wealth?
I would say money does definitely make you happy
and there might be people out there going, "Oh, it doesn't, it doesn't,"
but it makes me happy, and it makes my family happy.
What have you had to sacrifice to get where you are today?
Being, probably, a full-time mum,
I found that quite difficult.
I've got three children
and not being able to go to assemblies
because I'm in London or in meetings, or away,
and I had to go away, like, five times last year
and you constantly miss your children,
and having to say goodbye to them.
So, that's a big sacrifice to me,
is missing out on some of the things my children have done, definitely.
Do you think that it's been worth it?
Yes, because I'm doing all this for my children.
That's another reason for me to keep going.
Who's that? Who's that?
- Do you want to put monkey to bed?
- Yeah!
- Yeah?
I think Amanda is amazing,
and she is a real inspiration to women to earn their own money,
but...the fact that she's had to sacrifice time with her children
just shows you can't have it all,
and as a working mum myself, I really relate to that,
you can't have it all, you can't be the perfect, perfect mother
and the perfect woman in business.
It's really hard finding that balance
and at the end of the day, something's got to give.
MUSIC: "Diamond Rings" by Chipmunk
'I may not be comfortable making the same sacrifices for money
'as Amanda has, but I want to know what it feels like
'to have her buying power.
'So, purely in the name of research, I am seeing what it's like
'to go clothes shopping, if money was no object.'
I've been talkin'
About my new diamond rings
Because my new diamond rings
There the...
'Obviously, I'll have to give back my loot at the end of the day.
'But what does it feel like to pick up whatever I fancy?
'And how much can I spend?'
How much is that?
That's 6,320, please.
I've been talkin'
About my new diamond rings
Because my new diamond rings
They're the...
Ooh, yeah!
'If money is a drug, then I think I'm getting high.'
I'm, like, in a shopping frenzy. I feel like I want everything,
I've gone really grabby!
I just want it all.
- Thank you! Bye-bye.
- Bye.
I've been talkin'
About my new diamond rings
Because my new diamond rings
They're the...
- How much is the bag?
- It's 920.
I can definitely see myself with this bag, I mean this bag and me
we're like soul mates, we're meant to be together.
- Bag it up, baby.
- OK.
And if you're looking at me
You gonna be looking at them
Cos they're the swagger
That you see in my walk
And if you're listening to me
You gonna be listening to them
Cos they're the slick
That you hear in my talk
SINGS: I love it, and I love shopping, so much!
That'll be 2,455, please, OK?
And if you're listening to me
You gonna be listening to them
Cos they're the slick
That you hear in my talk
So, I was only shopping for a few hours this morning
and I spent over ten grand.
And it easy.
I didn't even feel like myself, I felt frenzied with desire.
And then when you get home
and you think, "Hang on a minute. Just calm down."
You do almost lose your mind,
the power of money does turn you a bit crazy, I think.
'So, now I've experienced money's drug-like high,
'I think I need a bit of a detox.
'One group of people who try to escape the money trap are freegans.
'It's an alternative lifestyle which favours
'community living, recycling and bartering.
'It's common for freegans to scavenge for food in bins.
'A practice that's called Dumpster Diving in the US
'and skipping in the UK.
'Now this, I have to see!'
'I've come into the heart of the city of London,
'to meet freegan, Katherine...'
- Hello!
- Hi, Cherry!
- Hi, Katherine.
- Nice to meet you.
'..who's going to give me a crash course in scavenging for food...
'out of rubbish.'
I'm a bit nervous, should I be nervous?
You're going to have to cope with what it's actually like
to be finding food that you might have to eat out of the bins,
which isn't always, it's not always that easy.
I found it difficult to start with to just get over that...
.. I think it's just, you know, it's evolutionary wired in
to think of garbage as garbage and not food,
and that's what's probably right,
but, I think when you see how much food there is being thrown away
that's what you'll find disgusting.
Do you know where to go and when to go?
Well, I've been doing this for quite a long time, so...
yeah, I guess I have a map
of where there are bins and shops that throw stuff out
and what time...
..and yeah, I think the first one is in about a few minutes.
Oh, my God, OK, well, let's go!
I wouldn't want to miss our first bin drop!
- No, quite right.
- I'll follow you.
Oh, God, here we go!
'Katherine squatted for two years
'but now lives in a rented flat in East London.
'But she still goes skipping nearly every day.'
'Just minutes into our mission
'and could this be our first taste of success?
'It's bin time outside an up-market bakery.'
Oh, God! It really is like actual rubbish,
- it's an actual...
- Rubbish bin, yeah. actual...garbage area
or, if you're Katherine, it's a mountain of possibility.
Talk me through what we do here,
cos, it just looks like rubbish, to me.
OK, well, it's all rubbish and quite a lot of it is, like this.
GLASS CHINKS That's full of glass.
We're not interested in that.
You can feel it from the outside, feel that one...
- ..that feels like bread.
- That feels breaded.
Why don't you pick up that one and I'll pick up this one. CHERRY SQUEALS
- Go over here a bit.
- Oh, my God.
- Look. We've got loads of bread.
- My God! There's so much in here.
- Some gourmet mini croissants.
- Oh, my God, there's so much!
- Look.
- Mmm, yeah, that's not really a great sign.
- Mostly bread.
- Your bag looks much more delicious
- and there's no cleaning products in there.
- Yeah.
- My God, there's like...
- You've got, em... yeah.
- So will you just take some?
- Yeah.
'Since all these goods were on the shelves only minutes earlier,
'Katherine assures me I won't get food poisoning.'
This is so hilarious!
'Nearly 14 billion worth of food
'is thrown away each year, in the UK.
'As long as the rubbish is on the pavement,
'skipping is legal.
'But many food retailers discourage the practice
'and some spoil the food with chemicals
'to stop skippers like Katherine, from taking it.'
MUSIC: "Gotta Keep Walking" by Willy Mason
'As day turns into night, the temperature plummets.
'And my feet are starting to kill me!'
Nothing good here, all right. Move on.
- No?
- No, I don't think so.
- Oh, well. Next.
We've been walking around for a couple of hours,
it's freezing cold.
We haven't found that much stuff.
It's quite a tough way to find your dinner.
She said we've
Gotta keep walkin'
Keep walkin'
She said we've
Gotta keep walkin' on...
Oh, my God! Here we go!
- Oh, look.
- Eww, what is that?
- It's a sack of soup!
- A sack of soup!
- It's probably fine to eat, it's still warm.
- Still warm!
I'm sure it's fine to eat, it's just disgusting! I'd never take it.
Is that where you draw the line?
I just find it so revolting in the bag,
it's like liposuction fat or something. It's so horrible!
Well, you know I need you
To come back to me, honey
Because my garbage can is overflowin'...
'But, after three hours our luck changes.'
- Oh, my gosh!
- Jackpot.
- Hello. There's everything.
- What's that, about a week's worth of food?
That is incredible! On a normal day, would you take all of this?
No, I'd just take enough for myself, enough that I think I will eat,
cos almost certainly someone else will come along after us.
And, why would I take more than I'm going to possibly eat.
It's like you can have anything you want and it's free!
There must be a hundred quid's worth of food in here.
- So, shall we take some?
- Yeah, take what you fancy.
I'm going to go for a chicken...salsa wrap.
- You can share it with me!
- OK.
This is really, really good stuff! I can't believe this is in the bin.
They're really nice. I mean, this stuff's expensive.
That's 30 quid's worth of food...
It's mad!
MUSIC: "One Man's Rubbish" by The Beautiful South
'Over our scavenged picnic,
'I want to find out why Katherine has chosen this extreme lifestyle.'
One for the memory
One for the road
One man's rubbish
Is another man's gold
Why do you want to live for free, I mean, obviously, it's free
but are there any other reasons?
The whole reason why I decided to see if I could live without money
was because I wasn't particularly happy
in my life, before.
I was sort of in my mid-20s
and I guess on paper I was doing great - I had a nice job,
I rented a nice flat with my sister...
..and I guess I just wasn't enjoying all that stuff
as much as I thought I should.
But I think I prefer my life now, even though I'm more skint.
I think for one thing,
when you're always having to work to pay the rent,
to buy your food, pay the bills,
actually, that really restricts the things that you can do.
What's living without money taught you?
I hope that what I would remember is actually, you know,
living without any money -
and I did live on less than a pound a day for a couple of years -
I didn't really miss the money.
Most people say money gives you freedom, freedom of choice,
and I do believe that,
but Katherine's definitely challenged that.
For her, it's liberated her.
'Back at home, I start to wonder
'whether a life without any money could really be bearable.
'I've set myself a mission to live entirely without cash
'for two days, whilst having a mini holiday.
It means having to couch surf and hitchhike.'
Here we go. No wallet, no cards.
No cash, no travel card.
Oh, God, I feel so naked!
Wow, all my safety nets, gone.
MUSIC: "Moneybox" by Eliza Doolittle
Don't need your moneybox
Cos I got lots and lots
Of what I need right here...
'I've found somewhere to couch surf online,
'but my host's live in Norwich and that's 116 miles away.
'So first, a few words of hitchhiking advice from Katherine.'
First step, stand by the side of the road with your thumb out.
The second step is to...
- Thumb out. Check.
..look nice and trustworthy.
Look trustworthy.
Do I smile or will that make me look kind of crazy?
You absolutely have to smile.
So, it's more...
Well, I don't know! Try it both ways. See what works for you.
See what kind of face you've got...
The damsel in distress look has never really worked for me.
'I wouldn't recommend you try this yourself.
'I certainly wouldn't do it without a camera crew with me.
'Katherine's safety tips include, not to travel alone,
'and to text the number plate of cars picking you up to a friend.'
Always be polite.
- You'll be fine.
- Ready.
MUSIC: "Hitchin' A Ride" by Vanity Fare
'It's 11.30 and my journey starts on the outskirts of London.'
A thumb goes up
The car goes by...
'I'm not sure how far my jolly sign and big smile will carry me.'
Hitchin' a ride
Hitchin' a ride...
Oh, I got a beep! I got a beep.
'And after 30 minutes I am starting to despair.'
Would I rather just pay six quid for a bus fare?
Well, let's see how it goes.
Hitchin' a ride...
'But then, I get a break.'
Hitchin' a ride
'Car salesman, Angus, takes pity on me.'
Do you often pick up hitchhikers?
- No.
- Really?
I used to hitchhike myself, when I was a young lad.
I know what it's like to sit or stand on the side of the road, waiting,
cos years ago, it was more acceptable, wasn't it?
Yeah. I can't believe you picked me up.
'But the high of being in a nice, warm car...!'
' soon followed by the low of the windy kerbside, again.'
Hey, mister, where you headed
Are you in a hurry?
I much prefer being in the car than by the road, definitely.
'And this time it takes an hour before my next lift comes along,
'in the shape of engineer, Bob.'
- You're very lucky, it was a spontaneous thing, there.
- Really?
Thank you so much, cheers, bye.
We were here, and now we're here.
So, we're halfway, we're halfway. That's really good!
MUSIC: "Cars" by Gary Numan
Here in my car
I feel safest of all
I can lock all my doors
It's the only way to live in cars...
'But by now I am starving, and without any cash
'to get snacks from the service station, I only have one option.'
Whaa! Flies! Aargh!
'Maybe not.'
I've now been doing this for five hours. Five hours!
God, I could be in Yemen!
'Back on the road, and by now, I've travelled over 90 miles.
'And there's no time to rest.
'The chatty drivers are looking for company
'and intelligent conversation.'
I often wonder if people are inherently good
and if altruism actually exists?
Do you think there's such a thing as real altruism?
Thank you, so, so much!
'But, at last I make it.'
I'm here! I am in Norwich!
I made it with a cardboard sign,
a map and a cheesy grin.
It's taken me six hours.
I am knackered.
'It's couch surfing etiquette to offer your hosts a small gift.
'But without any cash, I have no idea how I am going to do this.'
- It's a chocolate shop!
I found a present for the guests!
I feel quite excited again, it is like finding treasure.
'So, armed with my recycled present,
'I meet my couch-surfing hosts.
'I really hope they're not axe murderers!'
- Hello!
- Hello!
- Hi, are you Andrea?
- Yeah.
- Nice to meet you.
- This is Tom.
- Nice to meet you.
- Oh, it's really warm in here.
- Yeah.
- I'm so happy.
- I've brought you a present.
- Aww.
You didn't have to do that!
No, apparently, it's couch surfing etiquette,
but honestly, don't get too excited.
- Aww.
- Amazing!
Oh, you guys have the best fake excitement EVER!
- 'As well as a free bed for the night,
'I get a home-cooked meal and even a glass or two of wine.'
- That is really tasty.
- Aww.
- Thank you so much.
- You're welcome.
- Thank you so much!
'But after another three hours of lively conversation, I am beat.'
It's definitely rekindled my faith in the kindness of strangers.
My hosts have been really generous, they've cooked me a meal, and now...
I have a lovely room to sleep in
and I haven't paid a penny, it's amazing.
Today I don't feel like
Doing anything
I just wanna lay in my bed...
'Next morning, it's an early start,
'with a free yoga lesson from my host.
'And a hearty breakfast.'
- Bye!
Oh, today I don't feel like
Doing anything...
'And despite a very long wait, I hit hitchhiking jackpot.
'Nurse, Therese, and her son,
'give me a lift all the way back to London.'
- Thanks so much, I can't thank you enough.
- You're welcome.
Bye, guys. Have a good day, bye.
Oh, my God! They've literally taken us all the way back to London
I'm in London, baby!
I can't believe it.
I've had food and I've slept somewhere
and I haven't...spent any money,
no cash has passed my hands.
Amazing, and I've met some incredible people!
'So, my freegan experiment was a great adventure
'but I don't think I could live like that for long.
'And for many people, life without money is not a choice.'
'I've come to meet mum, Claire,
'in Merthyr Tydfil, in the south of Wales.
'The area is one of the most deprived in the UK
'with almost 30% of children living below the poverty line.
'And Claire's children are amongst them.'
- Hi! Come in.
- Hi, Claire.
- All right?
Good, thank you.
'Claire's day starts at 5.30 in the morning,
'when she squeezes in chores before work.'
- How many children do you have?
- Seven.
- You've got SEVEN kids?
Yes, I've got the full range, I've got older children -
she used to be a stroppy teenager but she's not now -
and then I've got the younger ones.
'Claire is the sole breadwinner for their family.
'Husband, Dave, is a full-time dad
'but doesn't claim benefits.
'And the disability allowance they once received for their autistic son, Callum, has been cut,
'leaving a lot of pressure on Claire's shoulders.'
So, how much do you bring in a week?
A week with the child tax is roughly about,
I'd say about, 100, 150,
- which sounds a lot.
- Wow.
No, it doesn't, you've got seven kids, it doesn't sound a lot.
Well, it's nearly 40 a week, dinner money
so that's gone straight away before we even pay any other bills.
Oh, my goodness. How do you make that work?
We just have to account for every singly penny.
Do you worry about bills?
Constantly, it's all the time. You know, every day you're thinking -
especially if you get unexpected bills -
it's constantly thinking, "Am I going to have the money for this?
"Am I going to be able to pay that?" So, it is really hard work.
Most weeks, I'd say on a Sunday, we haven't got a penny,
we literally have not got any money left at all.
- See you later.
- Bye, Dave. Ta-ra.
'Claire works as a Learning Support Assistant
'at a school, seven miles away.'
This is my usual route. THEY LAUGH
- Like a valley, isn't it?
- Yeah.
- Are you all the way up there?
'As the family can't afford a car,
'Claire has to take two buses in to work to make the hour-long trip.'
It's basically just waiting now for my chauffeur to turn up.
'The Gurnos Estate is one of the largest council estates in Wales.
'Healthy life expectancy is low, and suicide rates are high.
'The estate and the area have become known
'for a lack of employment opportunities,
'after the closure of its coal mines,
'and nearly a third of the people here, claim benefits.
'Despite the cards being stacked against her, Claire is determined to work.'
- What sound do you need, Tyler?
- "Th."
- "That".
Cordy, what have you got? Have you got a "Th?"
- Olivia?
- "Ch."
- You've got a "Ch" sound?
- Yes.
- Yeah, well done!
You seem to really love your job?
Absolutely adore it, best thing in the world.
Coming in to somewhere and taking over the care
of somebody else's child, that is really privileged.
You know when you see them reach a goal?
It's like, wow!
- Yeh! Well done!
- Well done!
You've saved all those cats. Right, now, sshh!
If you didn't work and you were claiming full benefits
and disability allowance, how much could you bring in a month?
I'd say...
..roughly about what we're on, perhaps a little bit less,
but you wouldn't have the added...
payments, like the dinners
and things like, you would get a lot more help on top.
If you added that all up, you'd potentially be bringing in double
what you're earning now.
- Possibly, yeah.
- So, why go to work, what is it?
It's given me my dignity back and my self-respect.
I'm proud of myself. A couple of years ago, I couldn't have done that.
I'd look in the mirror and thought, "You're worthless."
When have been the hardest struggles?
One of the hardest was when Dave had to come out of work,
we really were struggling financially
and there'd be times when we had no money for nappies.
You just feel useless, totally and utterly useless.
You think, "Why on earth was I put on this world?"
What was the lead up to those circumstances?
I was pregnant with my first child with Dave, my husband,
got to the hospital, and they couldn't find the heartbeat.
They just sort of looked at me and said, "Baby dead, nothing I can do,"
and just walked off and left the midwives.
I had to go through...
..what came naturally, which was labour.
And... was difficult,
and we just sat and, you know, held her and talked to her
and... doesn't go away.
I mean, I couldn't cope, but I had to because of the children
but I knew...
for Dave, it just totally devastated him.
'Dave fell into a depression after the loss of their daughter
'and couldn't return to work.
'The family faced financial ruin and almost lost everything.'
So you were dealing with horrendous, horrendous trauma,
- bills coming in, neither of you working...
- Yip.
the stigma of potentially signing on to benefits
- and having to still be parents...
- Yeah.
..all of that combined?
And obviously, we had to go through the funeral, as well,
and when it came, I thought I was doing so well
and then, Dave had to carry her...
to the grave, and that just...
..totally finished me.
Claire and Dave have been through a nightmare
and the problem is, is that...
when you've got no money, no savings,
no rich friends and family to bail you out,
there's no safety net, there's no leeway,
the rent still has to be paid, the bills still have to be paid.
They don't stop coming, so you just have to pull yourself together
and get on with it. Which, when you've dealing with
what they've had to go through,
I really don't know how they've done it.
'The next day, I join Claire on a shopping trip.
'As a special treat, she's taking the boys on a picnic.
'But she's working to a tight budget,
'which means walking the five miles into town to save on bus fares.'
How much have we got to spend today and what do we need?
Right, my budget for today is 15 to spend on things for the picnic.
'Money is desperately tight
'and overspending on as little as a pound could leave Claire
'short for electricity and other essentials.'
We can't have sweets today, OK?
Because we haven't budgeted for those, right?
But when mummy gets paid we'll treat you to some. Is that OK?
'There is no chance of going off-list
'and I'm amazed at how the boys really understand this!'
- OK, what do you say, boys?
- Thank you.
- Good boys.
- No problem, thank you.
- Ta-ra, thank you.
I'm so impressed with Claire's budgeting.
I'm definitely not this careful.
I definitely don't go to the cheapest shops -
there's no way I would have got this much, for my money, the way I spend.
'I'm really interested to find out from Claire
'just how important money is to her.'
- Do you think money brings you happiness?
- No, I don't.
Best things in life are free.
I think the more you've got, the more you want,
you just get more and more greedy.
If you've got children, that's going to be passed on to them.
Are the boys losing out from not growing up with money?
No, I think they're gaining.
I really think that they're better people for it,
their morals,
they understand that they can't just walk into a shop
and pick up an Xbox.
Do the boys feel hard done by?
I don't think so, but I make them aware.
I say, "Look how lucky you are.
"Your mum and dad love you more than anything in the world."
They seem so content. They do.
I think they are, I think they're really happy.
You never know what's round the corner. You need to appreciate every minute together
and just make the most of it
and always say you love the person you're with.
- Boys, what have you found today?
- I found an old lock.
You found an old lock? Wow!
- And I found pottery.
- You found pottery.
- I found an old gas pipe.
- An old gas pipe?
And you found a pram wheel?
- Guys, you're like treasure hunters, was that fun?
- BOYS: Yeah.
- Bye guys!
- You going to give a hug, before we go?
Do I get a little hug? Oh!
- Bye!
- Bye!
So nice to meet you.
- What a treat! Aww!
- Bye!
Four hugs! That's amazing!
All right, bye, guys!
Have a lovely day!
- Bye!
- Bye, Claire.
'There's no denying that Claire still faces
'a daily struggle to make ends meet.
'After all they've been through, I thought Claire
'would be more reliant on money.
'But the loss of a child has forced Claire to address
'what really matters, and for her, it's not money.
'Other women I've met might feel differently,
'but I really admire how she's been able to cope, so well.'
Claire is one of most inspiring people I've ever met in my life.
She has so many reasons to... go on benefits
and to sit and feel sorry for herself but she doesn't.
Meeting her has definitely made me rethink...
the importance of money in my life.
'Growing up in one of the country's most deprived areas,
Claire has managed to make the best of her situation.
But how different is it, when you've lived the high life and lost it all?
The best things in life are free
But you can give them
To the birds and bees
- # I want money
- # That's
What I want
That's what I want...
'I am in one of the richest London boroughs to meet Birgit Cunningham.
'With a name like that she has to be posh.'
- Hi! Nice to meet you!
- How's it going?
Growing up, were you upper class?
I think, I think I'd say we were upper class,
mostly because of the schooling, we always went to private schools...
- I got myself into Roedean and...
- What's Roedean?
Roedean's a boarding school, it's a bit like Eton but for girls,
and it was all these international girls and princesses
and ambassadors' daughters and it was just stratospheric,
you know, big money
and I just, this was a world
I was unaware of but I suddenly thought, that knew what I wanted.
It was the early '80s and I'm like, "This is what I want."
I wanted to be in the super-rich crowd.
And there was nothing that was going to stop me!
'After a stint as a yacht broker, Birgit moved to Hollywood
'and became pals with some serious A-listers.'
I lived with Julia Verdin and Elizabeth Hurley
and we dressed, we were decked in
Dolce & Gabbana and Versace,
and Gucci and Chanel,
Elizabeth was always wearing Chanel.
I have dated some of the richest men on this planet.
I'm a serious stud in that department.
I managed to get Kevin Costner.
- What? You dated Kevin Costner?
- Yes.
- Can I ask a really, dirty question?
What was he like in bed?
I can't say anything but I can smile.
- I so want that to be true because he's so dreamy.
- Oh, yeah, my God.
So you grew up rich, loads of money, very wealthy.
Yes, definitely grew up very wealthy.
What's life like for you, right now?
Well, I think karma's taken a big...role in my life -
I've gone from being a snobby bitch
to being a...
ending up in a council flat on a council estate
with absolutely no money to my name,
single mum, on benefits.
I left my soul down a hole
Now I'm signing on the dole
And there ain't no more
Money coming my way...
'After six fast living years in Hollywood,
'Birgit returned to London and got pregnant.
'But the relationship with the father didn't work out.
'Her parents were no longer in a position to support her
'and Birgit found herself alone and signing on.'
So how did that feel,
that first moment, going from the glamour
of your Hollywood, LA lifestyle to signing on?
It was just such an eye-opener of how most of the world lives, actually,
so, I'd really fallen from my tower
and I was... I felt it was more
a case of... You know when you're driving around London,
and you look at one or two buildings and you think,
"God, who lives there?"
"Who lives in that tower block?" Now I know.
'Birgit gets out her photo album
'to give me a glimpse of her former life.'
That's you and Liz Hurley, where's that?
That's doing the Cannes Film Festival.
Hugh Grant took that photo, actually.
Oh, my gosh!
- Did you take these?
- Yeah, I took those pictures.
Does it not hurt to look at these photos and think,
"I used to date Kevin Costner, in LA?"
I have to say, it did take me a long time to get over that one.
Who are these guys in this picture?
That's Zac Goldsmith, MP now,
Jemima Goldsmith,
Tara Palmer-Tomkinson,
Elle Macpherson, and me.
Those were the days that I knew people,
That was right before I became pregnant, actually.
And that was when it kind of ended?
Yeah, pretty much, that's what I fell from.
'But with a bump down to reality it's school closing time,
'and we have to pick up her son, Jack.'
- Hi, I'm Cherry. Nice to meet you.
- Nice to meet you.
'Tired of the stigma of being on benefits,
'Birgit wants to return to work,
'although paying for childcare means she won't be any better off.'
I haven't got no money...
'After the essential bills are paid, Birgit lives on 62 a week,
'which has to cover food, clothes and entertainment.
'So haircuts come courtesy of mum.'
This is a whole new approach to hairdressing.
- You see, this is child cruelty!
- Child cruelty!
She's doing a great job, Jack. You look great!
'Birgit naturally drifted apart from her
'celebrity friends, but even close pals
'seemed to vanish when she signed on.'
How did it make you feel when certain friends disappeared
because you'd lost your money?
it was hard, but what's harder is bumping into them.
And em...
This is bringing a lot back.
I'm thinking of one occasion when - I mean, I'm still in Chelsea,
I'm still on my old haunting ground,
and I have had people cross the road when they've seen me coming...
..just to avoid that whole, sort of,
"Oh, good God, there's Birgit."
That really... That really hurts.
I really hate these snobs who cross the road when they see me coming
because they don't want to deal with a poor person.
You know, God forbid!
I think it serves me right,
I think it's karma and it's been very humbling and I probably deserve it.
I've had the high life,
I've had the Lear jets, I've had the yachts,
I've had the hairdressers and the manicures and pedicures
and massages and the designer dresses.
Em...I've had more than most people
but now...I think I'm seeing real life and real people.
Didn't I give it all
Tried my best...
Her life is so completely, completely different now
but, you can see that she stills hankers after the old times.
It must be an incredibly difficult thing
to have experienced and then let go of.
'So, I've experienced the buzz of being filthy rich
'and what it's like to go cold turkey.
'But what have I really learnt?'
It almost doesn't matter how much money you've got,
money can play a very important role in your life,
it can make you happy and it can make you sad
and it's really important that it sits in the right place
in your priority list.
And that is what I will try and teach Coco,
is that, it doesn't matter if she doesn't have millions
but the money that she does have,
look after it, manage it well
but other things are more important, your friends and family
are essentially the most important thing in your life.
Have monkey? Yeah!