Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Why I Don't Like Watching The Show "Extreme Cheapskates"

One of the most extreme cheapskates on the show,
demonstrating how she uses the  bathroom cheaply, on TV
As someone who claims to be extremely frugal, you might assume that the TV show "Extreme Cheapskates" would be right up my alley.
You wouldn't be the first.
In fact, I was contacted by them a while ago, because they wanted me to appear on their show, and after going through the whole interview process, they realized I wasn't in the US and so it wasn't doable.
Until tonight, I'd never seen the show Extreme Cheapskates. I watched two episodes on Youtube, thinking that I might get a few new tricks, or at least see some like minded people. I thought I'd enjoy it.
I didn't.
In fact, I got really mad at the people on the show, because so much of what they were doing is very wrong in my books, and it gives frugal people like myself  a bad name! 

So, what exactly did I not like about the show? 
The people on the show, for the most part, seemed not to be frugal or extremely frugal because they needed to be or because they were trying to save up for something specific; they saved money for the sake of being able to say they saved money, even when they were saving money in ways that were morally wrong, or they spent a lot of money to be able to "save money" instead of actually doing cost cutting measures. They're not frugal- they're cheapskates. Misers. Tightwads. And not in the positive sense of the word.

This is the first episode I saw of Extreme Cheapskates.

Abdul is the first guy in that episode.

Now Abdul likes a good deal. And I like good deals too. And that's just about where all our similarities end.
See, Abdul's way of getting a good deal isn't by going to cheap stores, buying what is on sale, or doing without.
Abdul's way of doing things is that he'll go wherever, and when he's told a price, he tries to get the people to lower the price. And usually they say no. So he pressures them and pressures them and nags them and nags them until they lower the price. But thats not enough for him. He tries to get them to go even lower and lower.
He did that at a fast food place. He did that at a party shop. He did that at a bakery. He did that when he was shopping for clothes with his wife in a high end clothing shop.

I don't think that what he does is right. When a store advertises a certain price, that's the price they're willing to sell the things for. If you ask them once for a bargain, not something I'd do, but its still ok in my books, and they say no, leave it!
The way I see this type of haggling is as if you see a friend, see she has something you like, ask her if you can have it, she says no, you beg and push and plead, and finally she gives in and gives you the thing. Yes, you didn't physically force her to give her thing up at gunpoint, but in my books, what you did is stealing. She parted with something she didn't feel comfortable parting with, and you basically took something without really getting permission.
Same with this type of haggling. The sellers afterwards will really resent a person like Abdul. They did not feel comfortable giving him the price he was asking for, but he wouldn't leave them alone and drove them crazy until eventually they let him, but certainly not with a full heart. That money that he should have paid for the item but didn't? He pretty much stole that money from the seller.
It's wrong.

Is any type of haggling acceptable?
Yes. There is a time and a place for haggling. Upscale stores are not the place, nor at any place where prices are set in stone.
At my local farmer's market, its accepted to haggle. The shopkeepers haggle with you from the start, offering to give you a bargain if you'll stop at their stand. You definitely can haggle back there.

But even when haggling, there's ways to do it and ways not to do it, in my opinion. If you want a lower price than what is listed, just say "Oh well, I saw that same item for $X at another place." They may offer to sell it to you for that price, or they may not. But pushing them to give it to you for that price isn't acceptable in my books.

Abdul- I have a hint for you. You want to save money? How about cook things from scratch instead of going to a fast food place, or ordering fewer things? How about baking a cake from scratch, instead of asking the bakery to give you a cheaper cake by leaving off the frosting, or giving you cake pops made out of leftover cake and leftover frosting? How about buying clothes from the thrift store, or at least not at a store that charges 150 dollars a shirt, so you don't have to ask them to lower the price from 150 to 130?
Now THAT's frugal.
What you just did was wrong.

Abdul, you know what my other issue with you is?

You're married. You have a wife. You're not a single person anymore- you're part of a unit- a married couple. Your first priority should be your marriage, not saving a dime.
When your wife is embarrassed by your haggling, when she cringes when you haggle, please, respect your wife's feelings and at the very least, don't haggle in front of her, especially when she asks you to please not haggle! You're putting your desire to be a cheapskate before your marriage, before your wife's feelings. Not only are you disrespecting the shopkeeper, you're also disrespecting your wife. Why do you not care?

You should know that as much as I like foraging, as much as I have no problem rescuing food from the trash, I know my husband is uncomfortable when I do such things when there are people watching and he's with me. Guess what? When I'm with my husband, I don't do that! Part of a marriage based on love and respect is respecting your partner's wishes, even if you don't feel the same way about those things. (P.S. He's cool with me foraging and rescuing food, so long as I'm not with him in front of a crowd while doing so.)

Abdul also threw a party for his wife, making it an ultra cheapskate party, but looking like an ultra cheapskate party. It embarrassed her in front of her friends  She may have said otherwise, but seeing her face on the camera, you can see how uncomfortable he made her feel. You can throw a party, a nice party even, without needing to spend a lot of money. Show your wife you care by throwing her a party she'd enjoy, not a party in which it is reinforced in front of her friends that her husband is a tightwad.

The second woman I saw (same episode as Abdul) was a woman named Vickie.
In a way, Vickie reminds me of myself. She's frugal. She makes homemade toys (as the paper dolls on the table show), she forages for veggies, she eats meat that other people would pass over (though my religion forbids roadkill like she eats, but I have eaten cow lips that I got free), she tries not to waste anything.
I think her intentions are in the right place.

I think that when it comes to parenting, she has some ways to go.
Her daughter, Saraya, is 13. 13 is the age when peers matter a lot to you, where your self esteem is probably not at its best, and a parent really needs to work hard to build up her kid emotionally.
And then you have a woman like Vickie with a 13 year old daughter who claims she has nothing to wear. A look into her closet confirms that- she has only one thing to wear.

As Saraya says, its a dress meant for a 4 year old.

She hates it so much that she wants to burn it. But her mom makes her wear it. And her friend comes over, and makes fun of her for wearing it. And ok, maybe the friend shouldn't have, but come on. Have you taken a look at that dress? Wouldn't you chuckle, at least inwardly, if you saw a 13 year old girl walking down the street wearing that, and think that maybe there was something wrong with her?

Finally, she convinces her mother to let her go clothes shopping, and mom comes along to make sure she doesn't "overspend". Saraya picks out 3 shirts and 2 other items, which add up to a grand total of 10 dollars. And despite Saraya having so little clothes that she is forced to wear something that she hates with a passion, mom doesn't let her buy more than 2 things.

Hello, Vickie. Let your daughter have some self respect! She's going to hate you for this when she grows up.
You don't have the money for clothes? Then give her the option to work so she can earn her own money and buy clothes. Because a teenager, of all people, needs clothes. And clothes she likes. Its important for her self esteem that she feels good about herself, and its hard to do that when you feel embarrassed by what you're wearing.

Vickie and her family went driving around, hunting for roadkill to serve for a meal. While I don't know the exact price in her area, I know that nowadays gasoline really isn't cheap anywhere. There's a good chance that they spent more on gas looking for free meat than they would have spent if they went to buy cheap meat. Or better yet, made a vegetarian meal out of beans or lentils.
Especially if you're having guests.
Because in the show, they had a family over as guests. And I saw the revulsion on the guests' face when they found out the meal was roadkill and foraged greens. And Vickie made them gifts out of the rabbit's pelt. Which again, was followed by that look of revulsion.
When you have guests, respect your guests. Respect their feelings. Don't serve something that very easily might gross out your guests. And if you don't know them well enough to know if it will or won't, play it safe and serve normal, cheap food, not strange, extremely frugal/free food that adventurous eaters won' t like. More on that in a minute.

The next show I saw was about this guy named Jeff Yaeger, a pretty famous guy, who wrote the book "The Ultimate Cheapskate". He and I are in touch- we're Facebook freinds, and I think he has a lot of good ideas. I really don't have much issue with the episode with Jeff, other than the fact that he visited another family as a guest, and promised to make them a frugal feast for supper. What did he serve them? Salmon carcass soup and baked salmon heads.

I mean, Jeff, I would eat those foods, and I would probably enjoy them just as much as you. But when I'm cooking for other people, my point isn't to make the meal as frugal as possible, whether or not they'll like the meal. As a host (or as someone cooking a meal for a hosting family), I think the right thing to do is to try to make something that they'll enjoy, and especially not a meal that will gross them out.

I mean, I have guests a decent amount. And while I'm perfectly happy to have all sorts of interesting, exotic, and strange frugal meals, when I have guests, I make normal food. I make food that they'd want to eat. The worst thing I think a host can do is to gross out their guests at the table. (Ok maybe not the absolute worst, but its definitely high up there.) Because of that, when I have guests, I ask them what foods they dislike, if they're picky eaters in general or more adventurous, etc... and plan my meals accordingly.
Yes, I like to keep my meals frugal. But not at the expense of my guests. Of course I try to get the things that I do serve as frugally as I can, by buying things in season and on sale, making things from scratch, etc... But I don't ever serve things that would gross out my guests.
And when someone leaves the table and goes to throw up, or at the very least feels queasy, you've missed the point.

You want to make them a frugal meal? Make some chili and cornbread. Not some fish carcass soup and baked fish heads.

Speaking of throwing up, there's another person on the show named Kate Hashimoto, and she also made her guests throw up.

See, Kate dumpster dives a lot. I think the fact that she does so isn't bad; I dumpster dive as well. The things I have issues with is how she dumpster dives. She dumpster dives for food, and yes, I sometimes am willing to rescue food from the trash, but I get it before it gets into a dumpster, and I don't dig through bags of gross garbage to try and find food. And she specifically puts on what she calls her "hobo clothes" before dumpster diving to get people to feel sorry for her.
And the food I get is always stuff that can be washed off, and then cooked. Nothing that comes out of a dumpster should be eaten as is- at the very least, cook it again before you eat it, but she doesn't do that.
She had guests over that she hadn't seen in a year, and fed them dumpster dived food. And she didn't try to present it nicely- just dumped 4 different containers of food into the same pot, so that her pot itself looked like a garbage can...
Her guest did throw up from her food.
Don't do that!!!

But there were two things that bothered me more than that even, if you can imagine.

You see, Kate actually is rich. She has lots of money. But despite having money, she won't spend anything. She is a money hoarder. What is the purpose of frugality if there isn't a goal at the end? She seriously has an obsession with saving money, and an unhealthy one at that. See people tell me that they think I'm unhealthily obsessed with saving money. I'll tell you why that's not so. I am frugal largely by necessity. Because we don't have a large income, and I want to be able to have enough money for the things that are important to me, and have a savings to fall back on during emergencies and other stuff.
I save in order to spend as needed. I save because I need to.
Kate saves for the sake of saving, and is willing to risk her health, gross people out, make people think she's a hobo, just so she can save and save and save and save, with no goal in mind.

But I think one of the things that bothered me the most about the show with Kate is that I think all is not right with her in her head; she demonstrated on the toilet in from of the camera how she washes herself after going to the bathroom, and she took a shower naked in front of the camera to show us how she washes her clothes in the shower. There is something not right about that. She has social issues at the very least, mental problems at the most, and I don't think its right for TLC to exploit that to have her show.

The last person I'm going to talk about today is a woman named Victoria.

My issues with Victoria are many, but most of them I've already addressed above, so just some key points.
Firstly- she pees in a jar and pours it in her compost instead of flushing the toilet, to save 10 dollars a month. Victoria- you can save just that much money by following the maxim of "If it's yellow, let it mellow; if it's brown, flush it down." There's no need to keep your pee in a jar, sitting around your house, especially carrying it from room to room like you do- unsanitary!
But ok, you want to be crazy? Be crazy.
But her boyfriend moved in, and he's not as crazy as she is. But she was pushing and pushing for him to pee in the jar also to save money, and he really was grossed out by it, and she was still pushing and pushing; her compromise was going to be "I'll get you your own urine jar so you don't have to pee into the same jar as me".
Lady. Leave it. He doesn't want to pee in a jar! Why make him? I mean, I do some extreme stuff like using family cloth, but my husband doesn't like to do the same, and so he doesn't, and I don't try to get him to change how he does things. People's bathroom habits are their own private business, and no one should try to tell someone else how to use the bathroom, especially not try to convince them to do something that grosses them out, like peeing in a jar!

And just as bad- she treats him like a baby, and not with respect. He enjoys taking hot showers, she thought he was taking too long, so she asked him to end his shower. He didn't end it fast enough, so she turned off the water to the house so he'd have to come out of the shower before he was finished- he still had shampoo in his hair.
Where's your respect for your boyfreind, lady? He's a grown man, not a two year old that you should be disciplining. And he's allowed to take normal showers, even if you want to be ultra frugal. And if you want him to change, talk to him about it, come to a compromise, but don't turn off the water on someone while they're in the shower!

And oh, did I mention, she is a millionaire?

She says she is obsessed with saving money.
That is so.
She saves for the purpose of saving, for no real reason, and at the expense of her relationship with her boyfriend.

And that, in summation, is my problem with the people on the show, Extreme Cheapskates.

The people on the show, for the most part, have missed the whole point of frugality.

Frugality isn't the be all and end all of life. Frugality should be a means to an end and not an end in and of itself.
And frugality should not come at the expense of your relationships with other people.

Frugality is nice, but there are more things in life than just saving as many cents as possible, no matter what, no matter how.

Do you watch Extreme Cheapskates? What do you think of the show? Did you have the same observations that I have, or do you disagree with what I said?
Have you learned any tips from the show, or just things not to do, or are most things that they do things you're already doing?


  1. I just saw an episode where a man took his wife to the movies and she wanted to splurge on a soft drink and popcorn. He went out in the hallway and dug a cup and popcorn bag out of the trash (he did wash the cup in the men's room) and then went and got "free refills". My problem with that was that his wife thought he had splurged on her and didn't tell her any differently!
    I saw the episode with the "hobo" girl and it was pretty disgusting and she was so proud of herself.
    Carol (a new reader!)

  2. I've only and just seen the Kate Hashimoto episode. Some comments and observations. 1) The way she forages for food (dumpster diving) is practiced by homeless advocates and some urban foragers. What she says about the quality of the food is pretty much correct. Much of it is fine. Buying pastries on smell alone is probably a bad idea; as noted on the show, it's stale. Partly consumed food is dangerous owing to cross contamination by the previous "owner". 2) Her bathroom habits, I suspect, might be drama'd up for the camera. But she's basically functioning as her own bidet. 3) She's not getting her furniture from a dumpster. Not in that video anyway. There's a big difference between a dumpster and a demolition box. The latter is usually throw-away from a building renovation. Essentially stuff you'd find from Home Depot at the end of its useful life.

    The main caveat about her comes from her timeline. She says she turned extreme from the dotcom bust. But by her own admission, some of her habits predated the bust.

    1. Did anyone else notice that while she's saying she doesn't use toilet paper....there was actually a roll of toilet paper hanging on the wall. So yeah drama'd up.

    2. I've watched a few of these shows. I don't agree with haggling with people at stores these places have "set prices" it's not a flea market ! There are some good ideas I have gotten out of it. Dumpster diving for food I have done but I wash all of it very well. It's not something I do on a regular basis. I've gotten a few free things out of doing it.

  3. "Frugality is nice, but there are more things in life than just saving as many cents as possible, no matter what, no matter how"

    this is something i do in my life

    1. I have at times in my life needed to pinch every penny. I acquired some resourceful skills and habits that that are part of my life even now. When I first discovered this program, many of the things the cheapskates did were useful and resourceful. Many of them were shellfish, manipulative and dishonest. Some were bordering on OCD. Some were unsanitary and dangerous. There is a time and place for everything and when you have guests and how you treat your spouse is a time to be generous and giving.

  4. I am astonished by their behaviour.
    I don't really care about how they want to live their life. I mean, it's their right on how to live.
    But seriously, why must the people around them have to suffer that much too?


  5. We're only getting this show (at least) in Malaysia now and I am like O_o I don't think I can bring myself to sit through an episode or watch clips of it ever.

    I only feel bad for their kith and kin that get dragged into their cheapskate lifestyle.

    1. I agree with you but I also live a cheapskate lifestyle. I think a person has to have a balance and perspective. I dry my clothes on hangars, reuse foil, plastic containers and zip lock bags. I clean my house with vinegar and bleach. I compost (urine and beer are good starters). I shop at good will. I only launder in cold water. I take 3 minute showers. My lamps are on timers. My thermostat is set at 65' in winter and 75' in summer. But if you are my guest, I will build a fire or turn on a fan, use my best china and serve steaks, a nice wine and good desert. I may insist that my spouse does his research and only buys the item he wants on sale, but he buys what he likes. We own 2 cars and a condo outright. We take nice vacations and have generous Christmases. It's our spendy friends that admit they cannot splurge on a nice restaurant with us because they have to make the Credit card payment. Thrift can be it's own reward. We are not all crazys.

    2. I couldn't have stated that better myself!!!!!!!

    3. I'm not sure if you're cleaning with vinegar and bleach separate or together, but mixing them can be dangerous! Tried that, won't do it again :)

  6. That Kate Hashimoto is insane. She just doesn't know it.

  7. Hey this is Vickie- yes from the show..... FYI, Sariah has tons of clothes and works and buys what she wants :) We'd barely moved in and so her clothes weren't even moved in yet. The show had us dig out that dress, one that her sister wore and Sariah volunteered to wear it for this scene, she knew she'd look ridiculous but was comfortable enough in herself to act the part. All our kids loved being on the show..... I just laughed about it when John made up his little song..... knew they were gonna twist the whole episode into a big roadkill weird thing. Our neighbors ate the chicken in the pot- looked just like the rabbit didn't it :) Realize everyone what you think you see is probably not really what it appears to be. Now Reality TV is ruined for us... especially after hearing the stories from the crew.

    1. I hear that Vickie! I'm glad the show twisted it and that's not really how your daughter is treated... and glad they had fun. I still disagree with serving roadkill at the table with guests, but...

    2. i would love to learn more about the book :) plz …. I am a video editor .. i knew they twisted the show around ---- I never questioned 4 a second ! peace n respect

    3. Thanks for telling us this. I was horrified when I watched this episode. Glad to hear your children enjoyed it. I feel better now that I know the show was twisted around.

    4. Thanks for confirming my suspicions Vickie!

  8. Hey, This is Vickie from the show. My kids really enjoyed doing the show and Sariah volunteered to wear that dress on camera She does work and buys what she chooses with her money :) Our friends laughed and laughed over the way the show portrayed us... thought it was totally funny. Only thing is now when we watch Reality TV, we know pretty much everything is faked or twisted with whatever angle the crew/production company wants not what's really real. I just was sad they didn't promote my hubby's book Confessions of a Butcher- that was my main purpose for doing the show. Penny email me off our site all-about-meat.com and I'll send you a review copy :)

    1. I will admit that the roadkill idea was a bit off-putting and I'm happy it was chicken you served :)

      On that note, I have to note that your husband sold it as sanitary for me. He seems like a very capable butcher and I wish him the best success, along with all of yours! You have a lovely family

      -Lyndas Husband

  9. I saw the episode with Kate. Personally I think she needs therapy. Like you said there is no goal to her being that frugal. She's the only cheapskate in the show that I'd tolerate though because she's single and her behavior does not affect anybody so please Kate don't invite your friends over again if you can't be the typical normal person who doesn't serve friends food that came out of the dumpster. No offense meant but our farmers, delivery truck drivers, fishermen, bakers, grocers..they all work hard to supply the world with fresh food and you actually wait for food to be stale and thrown away and feed on that? Instead of waiting for a financial apocalypse that will validate your frugality please learn to trust the world and enjoy life because we deserve happiness and comfort :)

    The episode with Abdul I did not even finish because I was so offended that he has a family and these people especially his children do not deserve the way they are treated. If you do not want to spend much just do not eat at a restaurant. Learn to cook yourself!! Or if you want to go to a restaurant do not eat a buffet and only pay for half the number of your companions. Or better yet go Dutch and have everybody pay for their own because I think it's much better that way because they deserve their own plates. I'm surprised the wife stays and hasn't divorced him. I think Kate might be mentally challenged but Abdul is plain selfish and he doesn't deserve a family. We can all be cheapskates but I hope in doing so, we also make sure we are still ethical and fair to the people around us.

    - Kathryn O.

  10. I was glad to read this post, as I've seen this show and the images are disturbing, and were coming into my head unbidden at the very idea of extreme frugality. Not a good thing! Glad to hear you had the same reaction. It sounds like a good thing you didn't do the show after reading Vickie's comments; she may have found it funny how they misrepresented her family but I could see it being devastating and mortifying seeing your lives reduced to a spectacle for others to laugh at and be disgusted by. I hope her kids are as tough as she thinks they are.

    I agree that frugality without cause or purpose is like money hoarding. It's like the other side of the entitlement coin - instead of feeling entitled to have everything one wants, it's feeling entitled to take part in life without paying for it.

  11. well i found out the show by youtube and i'm pretty disturbed, i think that one thing is wanting to save money on things that really saves money other is to go to extremes like shown on the show!! roadkill really? dumpster diving? feeding guests out of dumpster diving food? i would be so disgusted and disrespected by her that i would never ever wanted to see her again that is just something that people shouldn't do to a friend a thing is to be cheap and frugal other is to being that and disrespectfull to your friends and family, and that i don't understand! You can be cheap but i least don't mess with other people!! Althought i think that this kind of lifestyle is kinda of anti social because we live in a major consumer society, but of course that is perfectly doable you just have to change life upside down! Normaly what i do to save some money is being eco friendly! i use reusable water bottle, reusable coffee cup, and for the norm i do everything at home! but not flushing the toilet or going dumpster diving is just unsanitary aswell not doing the laundry that's just gross...

    1. Obviously I disagree with a lot of what you wrote. I have no issue with dumpster diving and would dumpster dive myself outside restaurants, assuming I lived in an area with that. Because the stuff dumpster dived arent really in the garbage, usually double bagged, and lots of perfectly good stuff is thrown out. My issue is when other people are subjected to that, because that just isnt fair. If you're cool with something, thats great, but not at the expense of other people.

  12. Do you realise, that the way Kate Hashimoto goes to the bathroom is the way the rest of the world (and most human beings for thousands and thousands of years) go to the bathroom?

    And it is CLEANER, BETTER, and MORE SANITARY than the toilet paper that you Americans love so much.

    There is nothing wrong with washing yourself after using the bathroom. Using toilet paper is filthy but you Americans know so little about anything that you think that it's okay. By using toilet paper you are dirtier, and more gross than Kate and the billions of other people in the world that actually wash themselves CLEAN with water after using the bathroom.

    1. You sound very hateful and prejudice.

    2. Apparently toilet paper is exclusive only to America.

    3. I agree Anonymous - you will notice sugabelly hasn't said any more? These are what I call hit-and-run commenters. The comment was meant to criticize our lifestyle as well as this country and they find every opportunity to jab at us. I ignore them - they are a type of troll. That being said, there is a huge difference between being a "cheapskate" vs "frugal".
      Extreme cheapskates go to extremes and shows they're touched in the head. Let them be that way as long as they don't try to drag "normal" humans into their convoluted world which is obsessed with not spending ANY money. They seem to get self-esteem from that.

  13. I just watched a few episodes of the show. What strikes me is that many of the people portrayed do things that other "normal" people would consider disgusting and at the very least unsanitary. Picking food out of the trash, reusing used paper towels, not flushing the toilet for a week (!), using strips of cloth as toilet paper and dumping them in a bin to wash them later. Yuck. As an exception Kate was very clean in her habits of wahing herself after going to the toilet, others parts of the world (India for ex.) do it all the time - I agree with Sugabelly on that point.
    What also stiikes me is that it seems that the cheapskates have a total insensitivity to the needs and wishes of those close to them. A wife asks her husband not to collect food from other people's plates on her birthday at a restaurant as a special favour this one time. Do you think the husband listens to her? Of course not!
    This must be some form of obsessive compulsive behaviour, that requires psychological counselling.

    1. You hit the nail on the head about obsessive compulsive. It also seems like they have an addiction that has crossed over the line.

  14. The one that really pissed me off was the woman who has kids was babysitting her neighbors kids and did the reusing fabric toliet paper....and feeding her friends kids wild onions/grass from a OPEN DOG PARK!!! Doesn't matter if she cleans it, it's still got pee/crap and germs from dogs in a park!!!!!!!!!!!! Then feeds it with pretty much old-past expired dated things made into a pizza with germs etc., an oven doesn't kill it all!!!!!!! That mother just....it's a form of child neglecting/to her own kids and friends kids. Theycould get worms, etc. Yeah....plus I've seen worse on that series like the mother who refuses to give her daughter a real budgeted wedding but a major low cheapskate...under 1000 thousand bucks in a holey ceiling wedding in a small high school gym, her dress from a pawn shop that was once stained-rat peed on, a fake display cake borrowed from a bakery. Refusing to let the groom's mother to try helping with the venture/budgeting more money to make it a better wedding for the couple....it's sad.

    1. Haven't watched the other show that you mention but I will say this from your description - the only people responsible for paying for a wedding is the couple getting married. If daughter did not want what the mom offered, daughter should work and save to afford the wedding she wants.

    2. i agree with your point here, as for the episode with Kate I saw her showering while wearing her bathing suit since the camera was rolling, I'm sure she would in private shower as we all do...doing laundry while in the shower is not a bad idea. Keeping clothes that are rags and continuing to wear them though when they should become useful as rags might be a sign of a mental illness.

    3. Actually the point with open dog park is not correct to my knowledge. There are dogs, birds, worm, ... and other wild life in the farms anyway. - so they might contaminate veggies just as much. And the danger of expired food is not the germ itself. If you cook it properly it DOES kill all the germ. The danger here is the toxic stuff that germs produced during those extended period of time it sits on the store - cooking would not eliminate those stuff. Actually I am surprised those stores are allowed to sell that stuff at all.

    4. Dog feces can contain pathogens that can contaminate vegetation. Since extreme cheapskates are so cheap with their water, contamination is more likely to occur as opposed to people who use better food preparing precautions.

  15. Well... I went searching for "the reason" this stupid show ended up on TLC, remembering all those "Flip This House" shows that were everywhere prior to the housing bust. Notice they are all gone now? So I was thinking... Frugal Shows? Tanking Economy? Maybe...

  16. Well... I went searching for "the reason" this stupid show ended up on TLC, remembering all those "Flip This House" shows that were everywhere prior to the housing bust. Notice they are all gone now? So I was thinking... Frugal Shows? Tanking Economy? Maybe...

  17. I watch a few episodes and I find it so funny how they are cheapskates yet drive all over the place to get the deals they want and spend all that money on gas amd its not even in very fuel efficient vehicles. The jeff guy wad ok anf he biked evrywhere thereby saving money by not usuing gas. I find it even funniet that the ones wanting cakes and such go to the bakery which is usually more expensive anyways. A good way to save money is to go to the store and buy cake mix and bake a cake. I don't see them saving as much as they think especially driving around

  18. Ugh. I'm apalled.

  19. The show certainly brings home how unbelievably wasteful supermarkets and restaurants are - and how bad for the environment throwing so much food is http://ecowatch.com/pubs/junjul08/whyis.htm. If nothing else this program gives some great public information to people about how much stuff is thrown away in the USA. I think everyone should try to consume as little as they can - of course not going to the extremes of the people in the program - but I don't see how it is relevant how rich the people are. I have known many people who are very frugal so the program wasn't much of a shock to me. I think it is a good idea to be frugal not so much to save money (although that is a benefit) but to save the planet.

    I don't really understand your argument. Are you saying if you were rich you would not be frugal and in effect would be wasteful because you did not need to save money?

  20. My background is in psychology. These people aren't just cheapskates or frugal, they have a mental disorder which is one of the forms of OCPD (Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder). I think it's sad to live like you are in a third world country (I have lived in those places) when you have so many wonderful resources available in America. Their obsession has taken over their lives to the point of endangerment and becoming social outcasts. I have no idea why anyone would marry such a person and put up with this torture every day -- don't their spouses have any self esteem? Very sad to see people live this way.

    1. Rick and Karissa share a Q-tip and floss. Karissa wants the cheapest burial...when one dies the surviving spouse wants the dead spouse exhumed so they can share the casket and be stacked. Then, they wanted just initials on headstone to save engraving costs. Also, they wanted a "bruised and reduced" headstone: when funeral director said no to those, they then asked about just using a rock out of their yard. Now these two have crossed the line. It seems that's all they think about - in other words, Obsessed. Saving money? They need help.

  21. There is a difference between frugal and cheap. Being frugal is creativity at work and being CHEAP is simply a poverty mentality. The guy Abdul just needed to be affirmed as a man..They party for his wife was HORRIBLE and EMBARASSING. The local Dollar Tree or $.99 General has a bag of balloons, plates, cups, stemware, and silverware... hE could had got a box cake and cooked it in a bundt cake pan from the thrift store and everything would have cost him under $10 with $15 to spare. I believe that Kate needed to get professional counseling. The dot com bust fractured her mind. Her apartment was just unacceptable. It would have been more frugal to invest in quality IKEA furniture than dumpster diving or just stenciled or painted the furniture to coordinate. She also could have gotten a wash board and galvanized tub to EFFECTIVELY was her clothes. Learning to sew would have also helped her a lot. She could have hemmed those shorts, and sewn her own reusable sanitary napkins . The mom of 6 needs counseling too. She would saved so much more money purchasing toilet paper in bulk ie 100 rolls @ $45 would last longer and save more money and time other than washing and drying "toilet cloths." Restaurnt Depot is excellent for large families. A garden is even better. I think I was done when I saw the guy who had 2 Phds. Smh. He was hiding money from his family...disgraceful. my point is none of these people were frugal because they had to be....consignment stores and thrift stores are frugal. Bakery outlets and farm co-ops are frugal. These people need to get some counseling to help them address their needs for security. If their purpose for living cheap is to escape poverty...NEWS FLASH: they are already embracing poverty as if they were third world. There is nothing wrong with being conservative or liberal when it comes to spending, you just need to have a healthy balance especially when you are involved in relationships.

    1. The gentleman with the 2 Phds should have had his children taken away. That was an unacceptable living space, with holes in the walls and the fact that it wasn't safe because he couldn't be bothered to put a dead bolt in the front door. He doesn't need counseling, he's a basic emotional abuser who is controlling his wife and his kids by keeping control of the finances. There is no reason that woman should be given just $20 to spend when she works and makes her own money. I wondered after the show aired if she found out about the hidden money. I hope she divorced him and took him for everything he had.

  22. There is a difference between being frugal and cheap. My definition of frugal may not suit everyone, but.being frugal is being creative with what you have available. There is nothing wrong with upcycling furniture. Kate should have tried upcycling some of her furniture by painting or stenciling. Being frugal is a lot about calculating the math and time. Sometimes you save more purchasing in bulk rather. Being cheap is a poverty mentality. Some these people live as if they were in a third world situation. I would prefer hunting and fishing to roadkill and gardening and co-ops to dumpster diving. That's just me as a Southerner. To each their own. However, I can't help but to wonder if some of these individuals need professional counseling to address their fears concerning security. Kate seemed very shaken by the dot com bust and it seems to have affected her greatly. She has the money to purchase things that are necessities but is afraid to spend. She really has no purpose for saving. I think the guy who had 2 Phds needed some help too. He had no real purpose for being as cheap as he was and I blame his wife for allowing it. They all seem to have issues with security. There is nothing wrong with being conservative or liberal when it comes to money, but a BALANCE is very needful.

    1. You seriously believe that everything shown on the show was for real, not scripted?

  23. I agree with what you say except you rag on the events which are OBVIOUSLY scripted for the show.

  24. This is Jordan, from the Pilot episode of extreme cheapskates. Yes, it's true, there are some gross people, but Reality TV is far from reality. They took the worst parts of my story, and made it the main point. I wrote up a complete behind-the-scenes article to explain further: http://mymediaguy.com/tlcs-extreme-cheapskates-true-story/

    I appreciate you writing this up... I just hope that everyone realizes the "apple polishing" the production companies do to make us look like a circus attraction. It's ok to be frugal, just don't be a freak.

  25. Hi there! Nice write up. I agree with you that some of these folks are being overly exploited, particularly the woman feeding her guests the dumpster food(not Victoria, but the oriental lady). THAT was too much.
    And for Jordan up there, dude, you are a master. The donut shop thing was understandably... time consuming..., but what you did for your friends and for your wedding was VERY inspiring. I honestly saw nothing wrong with your segment, especially compared to Abdul whose wife was mortified by him.

    My favorite is Jeff and the way the Wilson's allowed him to show them something about saving money. Sure, cooking an unpleasant meal for the family may have not been a great payback but I think that was in the point of it. To be honest, I found the kids to be pretty sheltered and Jeff really showed them the value of something in such an easy way, not even extremes. I agreed with the man selling Jeff the carcass when he said Jeff was a smart buyer. The grocery store thing, not as much lol.

    I've been attempting to live frugal this year after so much legal issues has began weighing down on my new life as a husband to my awesome wife. I don't want to be Abdul, but some folks like Jeff and Jordan and others really caught my eyes to the lifestyle. As someone who works in the entertainment industry, I understand completely how a RTV show works and falters the actual "reality" of things, but sometimes if you're smart enough then you see the truth behind it.

    Anywho, sorry to rant and I LOVED your blog! Keep em up pinchers!

    -Lynda's husband

  26. Extreme Cheapskates is designed to be so ridiculous it can make the ever growing "poor class" (and now pretty much non existent middle class) feel better about them selves.

  27. Matt, an aspiring professional wrestler had to go to a professional wrestling audition. He showed up having cellophane-taped his boots, wearing ordinary knee pads and plain black tights. The manager told him up-front that a first impression was very important and showing his cheapness was not a good one. Then, after his unimpressive audition, Matt walked away saying he couldn't stop being cheap because "cheap was his life". End of story.

  28. My biggest issue was the guy who prided himself on being smart enough to get "free" dessert by requesting several samples of ice cream with no intention of actually buying anything. Since when did it become acceptable to cheat a store owner out of his hard earned cash just so that you could smuggly avoid spending your own money? I was enraged and embarrassed to watch how this guy thought it was his right to indulge in as many free samples as he wanted because "technically" there was no limit when he knew he had no intention of buying anything. We all know that free samples are a complimentary way to taste and decide what we want to purchase. This pathetic human being had the nerve to say he was entitled to have as many as he wanted because that was the shop's policy when the shop owner finally refused to give him anymore. He was so smuggly blatant.....you could see the look of satisfaction on his face that he was getting over. I was so disgusted that I wanted to reach into the television, grab him by the shoulders and shake every last bit of free ice cream out of his greedy gut. Times are hard for everyone and free samples are a customer-friendly way to promote busines. That poor shop owner is trying to keep his business afloat just like everyone else. Taking an advantage of such generosity just so that HE could get his emotional high out of messing someone over is morally and fiscally wrong. He found a loophole and exploited it shamelessly with a sense of entitlement. That type of dishonesty (yes, dishonesty is EXACTLY what this is) gives genuine cheapskates a bad name. He really needs to rethink his values and ethics because they shouldn't get tossed out of the window jst to experience the high of getting something for nothing. Simply deplorable.

  29. One final observation. It's up to each individual adult to decide if they feel that it's safe to eat expired food or food that has been salvaged from a dumpster or trashcan. However, NO ONE has the right to feed expired or dumpster-dive food to unsuspecting guest without disclosing that information. They deserve the right to know the true condition and background of the food that has been set before them for consumption so that they can make their own informed choice as to whether they feel that it is safe to eat (or not).

  30. These people are ridiculous. Sleeping in a bed with your teenage son? There is a serial killer in the making. And why did they buy a " trailer" with more bedrooms then they were going to use anyway??? Going all over the state to get free paint samples, to paint your child's room?! That's stealing. That's why retail prices are through the roof. Because of low life people like that. It's like buying an outfit, wearing it to an event and then returning it. There is a difference between being financially responsible and a crook. These people don't care about saving money, they care about " winning" or " beating the system". They are trash!!!

  31. The only person I saw serving unclean food unknowingly was a husband who picked soda and popcorn boxes from the theater. The woman with many children picked greens from her own yard not the dog park. Kate showered dressed in a swimsuit. Who cares where she w ashes her clothing or if she dumpster dives wrapped food? Her friends knew where it came from. The woman friend didn't vomit she was overcome by heat. Kate washed and dried herself with paper towels after toileting which is cleaner than the average american. Some people really a re poor. I wore hand me downs and am surprised at how successful and happy i became. Incorporate what reasonable money saving and earth saving techniques you can. In the Netherlands and 3rd world countries they collect human waste as fertilizer. Stop projecting your negative assumptions on others and watch with an open mind. "Reality" TV is perverted for it's watcher's entertainment .

  32. I agree with you.. it seems that all these people on the show are saving just to save.. not to save for something, like debt or vacation. I have no problem with people being frugal to save money but being a money hoarder is different..

    I saw a lady recently who used free newspaper for toilet paper.. even her son was embarrassed about that.. I found it odd considering that in the USA toilet paper is really cheap and with coupons they can get it for free.
    My boyfriend doesn't mind me being frugal but I do have a limit.. we have limits.. like toilet paper

  33. What is missing here ??? Could it by any chance be REALITY ??? !!! ( Reality--The quality or state of being actual or true...That which exists objectively and in fact.) It is obvious that programs of this genre stretch the truth to it's EXTREME limits...It is too bad that shows like this don't have anything better to provide besides amusement...Calling it entertainment would also be a stretch !!!...Eventually the viewing public will tire of these shows and they will disappear...As soon as they are not able to cash in on this trash they will have to come with something else...With luck it will have more value and be worth watching ....Until then..See you in the funny papers,,,,,,,,,,,

  34. I think that people on this show should have their children removed. It is only a matter of time until one of them dies from unsanitary conditions. It was too much for me when the mother was reusing old water for cooking, putting used spaghetti sauce from someones plate back in the jar. That is a health concern. If my spouse was like that I would leave.

  35. I didn't want to watch the show originally because of the "gross out" factor but with the same morbid fascination like watching an accident, I finally succumbed. I only saw the show with the Asian (not oriental please!) lady and the guy who "couchsurfed" at his friends place for vacation and then just today a guy who went to a coin laundry to throw his clothes in with others and was willing to stop his heart and have his testicle removed for money (I was going to do a clinical study and the doctor who was conducting the study told me he dated a pharmaceutical rep and that SHE would never do a clinical trial!) I wonder how the family that used newspaper for toilet paper, flushed the paper, toilet paper is made to dissolve, unlike newspapers, are they pennywise and pound foolish, don't spend money on t.p. and have high plumbing bills instead??
    I think EXTREME cheapness is a sickness, read the following stories.

    I know a guy who made a lot of money as a chiropractor although wealthy is EXTREMELY cheap. When he had ihs practice it drove him crazy that people would use the water fountain and use the paper cups one time, so after work, he would fish the cups out of the garbage and put them back in the holder. When he lived in Key West he lived with ex-cons and ex-drug addicts in a half way house because, hey, it was only $150 a week, when they had a fire and were dislocated he made sure that he got the Red Cross disaster money like everyone else and the people wondered why he lived that way and why he got the money as he didn't need it. He migrates from place to place because of seasons, and in the summer volunteers at a hostel where he lives in the tool shed, no longer attends movies and very reluctantly, maybe a couple of times of year goes a restaurant and tries to never, ever, if he can, treat a woman because he doesn't believe a guy should pay, but, (and I don't know why he did that because I never asked) showed me his financial assets and he was worth at the very least (he could've had more) 750K. True he did retire 10 years ago at 50, so maybe wants the money to last but his miserliness was off putting. When I visited him and stayed at the hostel I always offered to share my food, but if I ever wanted to taste what he made, I could see how upset he was about wanting to share his food. I often told him, that at least his only heir, his son, would have a good life.

  36. These people on the show are sick in the head. The artist from Texas is sick in the head, likes to brag about getting water from the creek to save a dollar. Buddy you drive your crappy truck all the way over there to save a dollar when you can buy fresh water for the same price.Then you put water and watermelon in wine and call it sangria? He's mentally disturbed ?

    1. In America there are water vending machines, where you can fill your clean plastic gallon containers for anywhere from $.35-$.75 per gallon. Its clean and safe, and I use these often. Of course, you still need to PAY for this, but hey. I have seen this episode as well as Kate's, and she is overboard with her ways. There is nothing wrong with frugality. It's the extremes of this that raises alarm, and alot of these folks are in the extreme area.

  37. I find what is most annoying is that a lot of the saving tricks are not saving at all. There is the mom who used cloth as toilet paper to save money. Why does she not consider that throwing these in the wash is still costing money?

    Also, you can find a nice clean couch/mattress for free if you really work at searching for one on places like craigslist or freecycle.

    And why would you pay with a bag of change? Just go to a bank and exchange that.

    Most of these people are really bad at being frugal.

  38. Jeanie, just mentioning that as someone who does use cloths after using the facilities and washing them, instead of TP- it doesnt add any extra wash at all. It amounts, volume wise, to perhaps an extra T-shirt or less per week.

  39. I agree that these reality programs show the "worst" of the worst out there. They edit out what may not cause controversy and be boring. In watching a few of the programs on netflix, the man who went to the tables in the restaurant and asked for their left overs, we never actually were told what he does with these..if he eats them or not. The couple run a dog rescue and knowing the way these reality programs work im wondering if that left over food was going to go to the dogs for their food. This couple at least were saving money for a purpose, to be able to run the dog rescue. Although I do have to admit he did go a bit far by going to the individual tables, he should have just asked the owners of the restaurants if they would save him the leftovers instead of throwing away.
    Anyway, we all have our limits of what we ourselves would do and I do agree that nothing should be forced upon others.

    1. great point! I was wondering about this.

  40. I think you are taking everything too seriously. It's a freaking tv show, of course they blow things up for the purpose of entertainment. Also no one should be able to judge and tell other people how to live their lives. Go do your own frugal ways and let others do theirs. Criticism is not necessary.

  41. I'm Chinese and in my culture, people are conditioned to be cheap and learn to compromise. Like my eye doctor was telling me his patients often complain about how high his prices are compared to glasses they can get from China but they don't seem to care that the prescription is only around the general area. My plumber said that a rich family asked him to install a solid gold toilet and he said it would cost more (because of the risks) and they tried haggling with him - they spent hundreds on a toilet yet won't pay the plumber more.

    Another couple I know (Indian, not Chinese though) were both doctors and were selling their 4 million dollar house after waiting for 6 months on the market yet when the time came, they refused to sign the deal until their agent took a pay cut. This same agent was their family friend for decades and helped them since they moved to the US. They were receiving millions but were bickering over a few thousands.

    It really astounds me how cheap the rich can be.

  42. I watched this show in hopes of finding tips to help me save. I'm a college graduate with student loans and a minimum wage job, I need to save as much as I can. The only person with reasonable practices I can see myself taking pointers from is Jeff. I'm perfectly fine with dumpster diving as my roommates and I did it in college to furnish and decorate our apartment.

  43. I cannot stop watching this show. It blows my mind!

  44. I'm addicted to this show. Most people are ridiculous, but I actually learned a thing or two. I really like the idea of a "fiscal fast" and will be doing it myself. God willing, I will never have to dumpster dive for food but come on, we have all eaten things past the expiration date. Cake pops are a great idea for my wedding! Cheaper and less wasteful than cake that no one will eat. I won't give up toilet paper, but the previois commenters are right- people all over use bidets so the Asian lady was normal in a sense.

  45. I agree, the lack of a spirit of genorosity is troubling.One can live well and give genorously by being a good stuarde of ones resources.Living with a spirit of scarecity and lack & hoarding what you have is just sad. That being said, watching that show is a guilty pleasure of mine & I'm sure alot is put on for the cameras.

  46. The woman who wanted her boyfriend to pee in a jar would rather live like an animal than spend money to flush a toilet or eat properly...not to mention that he should be able to use all of the water he wants because if they did officially move in together, HIS INCOME would easily pay the "huge" $10 water bill for showering and flushing

  47. I wonder if many of those people were pleased at the way they were portrayed- I say that because it is a habit in US tv producing to try to gross-out people, to shock, to keep making 'cliffhangers' so people might sit through the commercials...

    The lady who served her guests roadkill I did watch that show, and though I of course would never feed someone something which they were not expecting- the quality of those gifts she produced at the end, she's obviously one very talented lady. There's craft shops don't produce that standard! Maybe she could make some proper teen clothes for her daughter. Or sell her road-kill crafts and make her child happy.

    I have made the comment elsewhere that some examples of supposed frugality are really hoarding compulsion. It's not necessary or even appropriate to have a lifetime supply of aluminum foil or toilet paper- some of the stockpiles are downright unsafe! And one teen extreme couponer who bought hundreds of menstruation and incontinence products just because they were free- if he'd donated them to people in need it's healthy, keeping them in his garage 'just in case'...that's weird.

    Stealing is wrong. Exploiting is wrong ( although here in America it's the accepted corporate way of life! ) Wasting is wrong- if you buy a load of stuff really cheap you don't need and won't use, and someone else could do with it....

    There's a huge lack of empathy in many of these extreme reality shows- the way people obsess to disrespect and abuse others- which is why those people find themselves with so many problems and attaching to possessions not people in the end.


  48. I've seen the show and the people in it are crazy. They are not frugal. They are extreme cheapskates. There is something wrong with them. I try to live cheaply, but I still want to live an enjoyable life.

  49. Just saw an episode from this show (I live in an European country and some "quality TV" arrives with a delay and I got pissed.
    There was an african american lady who cooked dinner in the dishwasher (food she served to her kids), scraped uneaten condiments back into the bottles (making your own salsa is cheap and healthy) and used one lightbulb that she carried around the house... while having fake nails and either chemically straightened hair or a weave. And those things are expensive, I know firsthand.
    Also, having a dishwasher seems like a waste. Warm water and dishwashing soap do the same thing, but you use less water and electricity, just more elbow grease. If I were that big of a cheapskate, I would invest in thermo cookware- you boil water, put the foodstuff in it with the hot water and next day you have cooked food.

    Those "cheapskates" embarass themselves doing idiotic things, while spending ridiculous amounts of money on stuff they could actually be frugal with. Why do you need to drive around "bargain hunting/dumpster diving" in an SUV when you could do the same on a bike??
    Why would you use disposable razors wayyyy too many times and then make coffe with one of the most expensive machines and brands out there? My regular coffee making is grounds in a cup, boiled water over it. No machine needed and even the cheapest coffee brand out there can be made palatable with a pinch of salt and cinnamon. And I do not do that to be frugal, I like the coffeine kick and that is the quickest way to get it.

    I get that the show is over dramatized, but thise people need help. I am happy to spend a little extra on a luxury, when it makes me happy. I only have this one life and I want to live it.



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