The married stars of HGTV's 'Fixer Upper' explain how a stint in county jail highlighted their deepest money disagreement

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Shortly after the birth of their first child over a decade ago, Chip and Joanna Gaines, now the stars of HGTV's hit home-renovation show "Fixer Upper," experienced a financial wake-up call when Chip was thrown in the county jail for about $2,500 in unpaid tickets.

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The tickets were issued after neighbors complained that the couple's dogs were illegally roaming the street in front of their house, they write in their new book "The Magnolia Story." To pay Chip's $800 bail, Joanna had to empty the cash register and safe in her small retail shop. It was then that she realized they "were right on the edge of a real financial struggle." She promised to never let it happen again.

"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 of the ordeal. "My strength is saving and being tight with the money, and I had not exercised that strength recently."

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'Fixer Upper' Joanna & Chip Gaines
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'Fixer Upper' Joanna & Chip Gaines
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 08: Designers Joanna Gaines and Chip Gaines attend AOL Build Presents: 'Fixer Upper' at AOL Studios In New York on December 8, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Desiree Navarro/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 08: Designers Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines attend AOL Build Presents: 'Fixer Upper' at AOL Studios In New York on December 8, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Desiree Navarro/WireImage)
In this March 29, 2016 photo, Chip Gaines poses for a portrait in New York to promote their home improvement show, "Fixer Upper," on HGTV. (Photo by Brian Ach/Invision/AP)
In this March 29, 2016 photo, Joanna Gaines, left, and Chip Gaines pose for a portrait in New York to promote their home improvement show, "Fixer Upper," on HGTV. (Photo by Brian Ach/Invision/AP)
In this March 29, 2016 photo, Joanna Gaines poses for a portrait in New York to promote their home improvement show, "Fixer Upper," on HGTV. (Photo by Brian Ach/Invision/AP)
In this March 29, 2016 photo, Joanna Gaines, left, and Chip Gaines pose for a portrait in New York to promote their home improvement show, "Fixer Upper," on HGTV. (Photo by Brian Ach/Invision/AP)
THE CHEW - Chip and Joanna Gaines as well as Victoria Justice are the guests on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 on ABC's 'The Chew.' 'The Chew' airs MONDAY - FRIDAY (1-2pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images) CARLA HALL, CHIP GAINES, MICHAEL SYMON, JOANNA GAINES, DAPHNE OZ, CLINTON KELLY
THE CHEW - Chip and Joanna Gaines as well as Victoria Justice are the guests on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 on ABC's 'The Chew.' 'The Chew' airs MONDAY - FRIDAY (1-2pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images) JOANNA GAINES, MICHAEL SYMON, CHIP GAINES
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines appear to promote 'The Magnolia Story' during the AOL BUILD Series at AOL HQ on October 19, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines appear to promote 'The Magnolia Story' during the AOL BUILD Series at AOL HQ on October 19, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines attend The Build Series to discuss 'The Magnolia Story' at AOL HQ on October 19, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines attend The Build Series to discuss 'The Magnolia Story' at AOL HQ on October 19, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines attend The Build Series to discuss 'The Magnolia Story' at AOL HQ on October 19, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/WireImage)
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Now, Joanna fully recognizes the importance of an emergency fund — something she credits her parents for teaching her to value.

"I think for me, the best lesson is always having a nest egg on the side," she told Business Insider in a recent interview.

Chip disagrees, however.

"He laughs because I had a nest egg going into our marriage," Joanna said. "And then that nest egg ended up [going] into an investment, and then within six months I was like, 'Well, it would've been nice to have that nest egg right about now.'"

Still, Joanna said she's "always liked the idea of putting money aside." And she advises her clients to do the same when it comes to renovating a home.

"If you have a $20,000 budget, plan on spending $15,000 — $5,000 will be money that just magically appears that you're going to need," Joanna said. "Something's going to happen, something's going to go wrong. So I'm always thinking 'Hey if I have this much, I'm always going to want this over here, just in case.' But not Chip."

Chip says his parents taught him the exact opposite.

"They 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," Chip told Business Insider. He then asked Joanna, "Do we have a nest egg?"

"I learned early on that if you have a nest egg, you can't tell him about it, because it will be gone," Joanna said.

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