How The Real Housewives Really Spend Their Money

How do the Real Housewives really spend their money? If there's one reality show franchise that's truly stood the test of time, it's definitely this one. No matter what city the show takes on, there's sure to be drama, tears, glam squads, and lots and lots of opulence. Seriously, pretty much every woman who's starred on Real Housewives lives a much more luxurious lifestyle than most people, and they aren't afraid to flaunt it.

With net worths up to $100 million, it makes you wonder why the cast members of the Real Housewives franchise even do the show in the first place, as they're typically already well-off. Well, it turns out that just being a housewife can be pretty expensive, and appearing on a reality show might just help them bring in extra cash to fund their lavish lifestyles. 

So what do the Real Housewives – who've undergone a stunning transformation — spend all that money on? Read on to find out — it just might shock you.

The Real Housewives stars spend ample money on their homes

Part of the appeal of the Real Housewives franchise is seeing how the rich (and sometimes formerly famous) live. The show's stars always look so glamorous and seem to live such fabulous lives, and it all starts in their homes. Obviously, you aren't going to find a star of the Real Housewives of any city living in a dump, but some of their homes are ridiculously expensive.

For example, on an episode of Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, Cohen revealed the estimated costs of some of the nicest houses in Real Housewives history — and the prices will blow your mind. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' Kyle Richards — who's undergone a stunning transformation — lives in a home appraised at over $8 million, while her co-star Dorit Kemsley's house is valued at over $6.5 million. But it doesn't stop there! Ramona Singer of The Real Housewives of New York City owns a $6.65 million home in The Hamptons, and Monique Samuals' Potomac home is apparently worth $4.75 million. Clearly, the Real Housewives spend a lot of their money on their homes, but who could blame them?

Some Real Housewives spend a bunch of money to look beautiful

Obviously, if you're going to appear on a reality show, you want to look your best. Even the most average person might splurge and pay for professional hair and makeup if they know they're going to be on camera, or will be attending an event where their picture will be taken. But for one of the Real Housewives, looking good costs her more in a month than what most Americans make in a year. Yes, you read that right.

Erika Jayne, singer and star of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, revealed that she doesn't skimp when it comes to looking her best, and the cost is just part of the deal. "It's a lot," Jayne told In Touch Weekly. "Maybe $40,000 a month on clothes, shoes, and accessories." 

Of course, Jayne doesn't feel too guilty about the money she spends on her beauty. "It's all for work," she continued. "I'm on television, this is what I do for a living. It's part of the job." Okay, so it might be a workplace expense, but that doesn't make it any less shocking.

The stars of Real Housewives spend lots of money on cars

Just like having a fancy home comes with the territory of being a Real Housewife, driving a nice car does as well. After all, how can you look like you have it all if you're driving around in a used Honda? Well, that's not something most of the housewives have to worry about, as the majority of them own pretty high-end vehicles, which they spent a lot of money on.

As Bravo reported, Real Housewives of Orange County star Vicki Gunvalson had a brand new Maserati, which cost upwards of $75,000. Additionally, Gunvalson's costar, Meghan King Edmonds, drove a Range Rover, which can cost about $93,000. Cast mate Kelly Dodd drove a BMW, which can be quite luxurious, ringing in between $30,000 and $150,000.

None of those cars come with cheap price tags. But odds are, if you're one of the Real Housewives, you can afford it.

Sometimes Real Housewives stars make bad investments with their money

While most of the Real Housewives are very clearly rolling in cash, not all of them are as lucky, as more than a few of them have made some not-so smart investments in the past. And no, we're not talking about the stock market, as several Real Housewives have tried their hand at launching careers or endeavors that ended up failing.

Most notably, Sonja Morgan from The Real Housewives of New York City famously announced a line of toaster ovens she'd be selling, and then...never sold them. Additionally, some of the Real Housewives got it in their heads that they should launch singing careers, despite not having the talent for it. For one, Melissa Gorga of The Real Housewives of New Jersey released her song, "On Display," to not-so-critical acclaim. And who could forget Kim Zolciak's "Tardy for the Party," which was mired in drama

The musical careers and entrepreneurial pursuits of the Real Housewives might not have been successes, but they were entertaining, and there's no doubt they likely poured a lot of cash into them.

The Real Housewives sometimes spend money on their vacations

One of the biggest questions people have about the Real Housewives franchise is: who really pays for the Real Housewives cast vacations? While the housewives themselves get to enjoy five-star hotel suits in exotic locations, they are filming and therefore are working. So, it's not too shocking to learn that most of the time, Bravo covers the cost of the trip, according to Bravo godfather Andy Cohen. "Frankly, we do yeah but you know it depends on the vacation actually," he revealed in an interview with OK! magazine.

So how can you tell which trips are paid for by producers, and which ones the Real Housewives spend money on? Alex McCord, a former cast member of The Real Housewives of New York City, explained how. "Look at the credits," she revealed in a video for RumorFix. "If you see 'promotional consideration provided by' an airline, a hotel, a cruise ship, a this, a that; that means it was provided by the producers."

So if the producers aren't financing the trip, chances are the Real Housewives are paying their own way.

Real Housewives spend wads of money on their luxurious handbags

When you're a cast member of a Real Housewives franchise, it's understandable that you'd feel an enormous amount of pressure to constantly look great and sport the hottest accessories. But that's no problem for Real Housewives star Kyle Richards — who's undergone a stunning transformation – who has no issues keeping up with the Joneses. 

Even though Real Housewives star Kyle Richards was the victim of a home burglary in 2017, she still has plenty of luxury designer bags to tote around. "The material things, yes they can be replaced, but they also hurt," she told People, after she returned home from vacation and realized her bags and jewelry had been stolen. "I feel embarrassed to say that, but those are things that were either given to me by someone that I care about or that I worked really hard for. So it hurts no matter what." 

Losing over $1 million in handbags and accessories can't be easy. But the fact that Kyle was able to rebuild her purse collection with Birkens, which can run up to $200,000, shows just how much money she spends.

Real Housewives spend significant money on their kids

It's no secret that having kids is expensive. For many, the sheer cost of having a baby is reason enough not to have one. In fact, the United States' Department of Agriculture reported that in 2015, the average cost of raising a child from birth to age 17 is $233,610 — which is not cheap. 

But that's just the average cost, and as Real Housewives fans know, there's absolutely nothing average about the way the women raise their kids. From private tutors and schools, fancy first cars, and the best colleges, children are undoubtedly one of the biggest expenses for the Real Housewives.

For example, Jennifer Aydin of The Real Housewives of New Jersey came under fire in 2019, when she was accused of spoiling her children — which Aydin vehemently denied. "I have the ability to give them a life that I always wished I had — this is new to me, people!" she tweeted. "I didn't come from this so sue me if it happens to be my joy to reward them." Hey, if she's happy spending tons of money on her kids, more power to her!

The Real Housewives dine out often, which costs a lot of money

If you regularly watch episodes of any Real Housewives franchise, then you've probably seen at least one scene of the ladies eating together at a restaurant. It's one of the most common activities they do together, which always seems to result in some form of drama, too. But, you can't help but wonder just how much money the wives spend on eating out, seeing as how they do so all the time.

As ChowHound noted, some of the restaurants frequented by cast members of The Real Housewives of Dallas aren't your average eatery. One of their favorite restaurants, a french bistro called Lavandou, seems especially fancy, charging $35 for a steak. And while that alone might not seem like much, the ladies rarely dine out without also indulging in an alcoholic beverage or two, meaning that their bill probably gets pretty high. 

Eating out is definitely a social thing for most people, but for the Real Housewives, it's probably also a huge expense by the end of each season.

Some Real Housewives spent tons of money on private planes

Even though all of the Real Housewives are much more well off than the average person, there's one franchise city whose stars' total net worth would make even Bill Gates impressed. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills have long been the richest of the bunch, but when one specific woman joined the cast, the cast got even richer. It makes you wonder: how much are The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills are really worth?

Erika Girardi, or Erika Jayne as she's known, isn't shy about her wealth. In fact, in one episode, she literally lets it slip that she and her husband own not one, but two private planes. Yes, apparently one is bigger than the other, but they have two personal jets onto which they can simply hop and fly anywhere they desire. The lowest price range for a private jet is around $3 million, so the fact that Erika has two is truly impressive. 

Obviously, not every Real Housewife owns a private aircraft, but those that do spent a lot of money on them.

Some Real Housewives spent good money on personal trainers

It's not unusual for an episode of The Real Housewives of any city to feature one or more of the women working out. After all, it's all part of looking good, which each housewife does especially well. But many housewives don't just head to Planet Fitness to get their workout in. Instead, they hire personal trainers to come to their house, or go to a fancy, private boutique workout class. So, just how much does all that cost?

On average, personal trainers can cost anywhere from $40-$70 per hour. And as many of the Real Housewives work out for more than one hour per week, it's likely that the cost of those personal trainers and fitness classes — which typically cost from $15-$33 per class – probably add up really quickly. 

It's no wonder the Real Housewives feel pressured to always look their best, given that they're on television. And personal trainers are a great way to get in shape, if you can afford them — which, obviously, they can.

Many Real Housewives spend money on their personal staff

It's arguable that being a wife and mother is one of the most under-appreciated roles in the world. And while the Real Housewives aren't exactly as stressed out as most typical moms, they do have to manage a lot. Sometimes that includes a staff, which is just another huge expense.

In 2016, when Dorit Kemsley joined the cast of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, it became very clear that she was no ordinary housewife. In fact, Dorit's life fascinated viewers, as did her impressive army of home helpers. "Currently, my staff includes Peggy, who's [my] baby nurse, [and] Neila, Jagger's main nanny," she revealed in an interview with E! News. "Then I've got a few nannies for Jagger and Phoenix –to fill in — three full-time housekeepers, and Tiffany, who's my husband's assistant."

Yeah, that's a lot of staff to payroll, so Dorit clearly spends a lot of money on them. Just how much is RHOBH Dorit Kemsley worth, anyway?

Plastic surgery isn't cheap, and plenty of Real Housewives spend money on it

As the years have gone by, many of the Real Housewives who have been on air for multiple seasons have obviously gotten older. But they don't look much older, thanks to the trusty old pal of the rich and famous: plastic surgery. Seemingly every cast member of The Real Housewives who is older than 40 has undergone plastic surgery, as noted by Us Weekly.

Obviously, the procedures performed by plastic surgeons can be very expensive. But if you're looking for a specific number, look no further than The Real Housewives of Orange County star Shannon Beador, who's undergone a stunning transformation. Shannon got a scalpel-less procedure from renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Brian Reagan, who told Bravo that it cost Shannon, "in the range of $12,000 to $15,000 to do all three" of the procedures she had. 

That's not cheap, but it's also not the only money Real Housewives have spent on plastic surgery. Vicki Gunvalson, Kyle Richards, and many more Real Housewives have gone under the knife as well. So it's clear that they don't mind shelling out the big bucks in order to look younger.

Throwing all those dinner parties has to cost the Real Housewives money

One of the greatest things about the Real Housewives franchise is the reliability of it. No matter what city or what season it is, there's bound to be drama during a dinner party. Basically every franchise has featured at least one notorious dinner party, and it's always as opulent as it is entertaining.

All those dinner parties aren't exactly cheap, either, even if they throw them at their own home. Specifically, if a housewife were to hire a party planner for their event, it would run up to $750 (via Thumbtack). A bartender could cost up to $240, private chefs are around $70, and that's not even counting any decor or actual alcohol they consume — and Real Housewives fans know they drink a lot on those shows.

For many people, having dinner at home is a lot more cost effective than going out, but for the Real Housewives, they're still spending tons of money

Real Housewives spend a lot of money on weddings

While the title can be misleading, it's not at all strange for the women of the Real Housewives franchise to actually be single while they're on the series. Of course, that doesn't mean they weren't married before, or won't be married again. 

For one, The Real Housewives of Dallas star LeeAnne Locken love found her after she started on the show, and her wedding was a big plot point in the series. According to OK! magazine, LeeAnne's spent oodles of money on her big day. Her custom wedding dress cost a whopping $25,000 alone. Additionally, LeeAnne wore jewelry worth a shocking $3 million, while her tiara alone was worth $1.5 million. 

Of course, that's not the only Real Housewives wedding that came with a shocking price tag. Bethenny Frankel of The Real Housewives of New York City is rumored to have spent $200,000 on her wedding (unless Bravo picked up the price tag), as noted by Slice. That's a lot of cash to drop on one day!