Are You an Extreme Tightwad - picture of coupons, scissors, and coins

Are You an Extreme Tightwad?

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Are you an extreme cheapskate?  Do you want to be on television?  Do you enjoy being made fun of by thousands, maybe millions, of strangers? If so, this may just be your lucky day.  I recently got this email from a casting executive at TLC:

CASTING NOTICE:  Do you have a family member or friend who knows how to stretch their dollar to its absolute breaking point? Does the idea of spending money on anything other than what is ABSOLUTELY necessary make them sick to their stomach? Do they love showing off how very little they spend?  Then we want to meet them! TLC is currently casting for a second season of a hit show and is seeking families, couples or individuals who live well on very, VERY little.  In this day and age, many people want to save more and spend less. But for them, saving every penny possible borders on OBSESSION!  If this sounds like someone you know, please NOMINATE them by sending an email and tell us a little about their lifestyle and why you think they made the decision to live this way. Please give specific examples and please include photos of them.

I can only assume that they are talking about the new TLC show, Extreme Cheapskates.  I don’t have cable television, so I haven’t seen any whole episodes.  I have only seen a few clips on YouTube, like the clip entitled, “I don’t wipe my ass.”

Yuck.  I’m all about saving money but I’m not willing to forgo good hygiene in order to do so.  Here are some other reasons why I could never be considered an “Extreme Cheapskate.”

  • I buy things when I need them
  • I spend money on travel
  • I flush the toilet when I pee
  • I don’t wash my clothes in my bathtub
  • I don’t eat food out of the trash

The Extreme Cheapskate Millionaire

Yeah……I love saving money but I’m not willing to do anything disgusting to save a few bucks.  Actually, I have only known one person that would fit the criteria of an “Extreme Cheapskate.”  In my early twenties, I dated someone whose father was so cheap it was crazy.  I remember going to his house in the winter when it was icy and snowing outside.  He refused to turn his heat on so he spent months in his family room with a space heater turned on.  Even with the heater, it was so cold that you could literally see your breath inside the house.  He would spend the entire winter this way, and preferred saving money to being warm and cozy.

Strangely enough, he had a ton of money.  He was easily a millionaire, and his whole house was filled with valuable antiques.  He was a super nice guy, but I could never live like that.  I love modern-day luxuries like heating, air conditioning, and hot water!!!  I also have kids, so I have to keep the house at a reasonable temperature for their sake.  Unfortunately, sometimes Greg and I disagree on what a “reasonable temperature” is.  In the summer, Greg often accuses me of being a thermostat Nazi.  I think that setting the air conditioning at 78 degrees is perfectly reasonable when it’s hot outside.  What do you guys think?

Do you know anyone who would qualify as an “Extreme Cheapskate?”  What things do you do to save money that some would see as extreme?  Please share by commenting below.

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73 Comments

  1. We have TLC here in Norway as well, but I`ve never seen this show before! That`s just too extreme for my taste! For me it`s all about saving money while having a normal life, not going dumpsterdiving for furnitures.. we do have something called IKEA and the Norwegian version of Craigslist if you`re looking for something for free.
    I guess the most “extreme” thing I do to save money, is that the days BF is working the evening shift, I don`t eat dinner. I do eat food, I`m not starving myself, I just don`t cook for just one. I just make myself a sandwich.

    1. Nothing wrong with that! We eat snack food for dinner all the time because we are running late.

    2. Nicolette says:

      There is a HUGE difference between being smart with money, saving some for a rainy day, and making smart dcisions, than being a super tightwad. I know some people that it can almost fall into the category of a mental illness, similar to a hoarder. I cannot stand to be around people who are like this. I know, that sounds a little harsh but… I get sick of being the one who drives, who pays for the movie, who pays for the parking all of the time. They are smart as a fox and had the entire thing planned from the beginning. They would not help anyone in need, they don’t give their kids teachers a small gift of appreciation at Christmas, and they would never give the elderly lady next door a loaf of bread if she was starving. It has become a disease. A disease to save every single penny they can. I pity the person who can not think of someone before themselves. It snowballs into a massive on-going thing in their heads. to pinch, save and bank ,bank ,bank everything they can get their hands on. I do believe that saving makes sense, but I do not support people who use others for their own gain. You cannot take it with you anyway. The love of money has turned into being nothing but selfish. I think they are missing out on some of the greatest things in life.

    1. Fun is one of the things that I am actually willing to spend money on! =)

  2. Please do not watch that video, God, I look terrible in it. Editing, damn you!

    There are kooks in every formally reasonable lifestyle choice.

    1. It’s your self manicured haircut that makes you look like shit. Please go to Supercuts at least. I’ll pay!

  3. I’m cheap, but I definitely don’t think I’m an extreme cheapskate. I think the difference is learning to cut some of the fat out of your life without cutting away the muscle and bone. If you’re foregoing toilet paper, that’s bone you’re cutting away, money-wise.

    1. I totally agree. Some things, like toilet paper, are a necessity!

  4. I tried to watch Extreme Cheapskate because I thought I might learn some tips on living on less but instead I had to change the channel because it was a cross between a freak show and a horror show where basic standards of personal hygiene and food safety were abandoned. I will continue to waste money on toilet tissue no matter how much of a cost savings using an old drink bottle to squirt water on myself saves.

  5. This show can be a bit depressing, I felt bad for the wife of one of the guys who was featured….I’m all about saving money, but some people take it way, way, WAY too far!

  6. We’re not even close to this… and I’m glad!

    1. Me too! I don’t have the time or energy to go to such extremes to save money!

  7. Oh wow this is scary–I definitely don’t qualify although I am quite a frugal person in some respects. I spend far too much on travel to ever fall into this category and I wouldn’t have it any other way! 🙂

    1. I also spend way too much on travel. Plus, I pay for decent groceries, mostly organic. Not cheap.

  8. I have always found that show a little bit disturbing to be honest.. When I first heard about it.. I watched it, thinking that they may offer some useful tips.. But instead they dwell on the extreme fringes of society with folks who just may have mental issues 🙂

  9. My wife needs the house to be super warm in the winter and super cold in the summer. We’ve compromised as far as the winter goes, because you can always throw on more layers. And in the summer our solar panels basically cover all of the cooling costs.

    On a side note, I dated a girl once that would get seriously mad at me if I flushed the toilet if I had only peed. I don’t know if she was an extreme cheapskate or if she was a little obsessive/controlling because thankfully the relationship didn’t last too long.

    1. LOL! Well, that does make sense. Water is a scarce resource in some parts of the world. It is kind’ve wasteful to flush fee if you really think about it!

    2. I only buy underwear and shoes new. The rest of my clothes were free, from rummage sales, or thrift shops. My jewelry is gifts or used. The only craft item I buy new is glue and I buy that at back to school sales. I do a lot of volunteer work and live close to a big public library.

  10. The hilarious thing about that Cheapskate show is all the time people waste doing whatever it is they do to save a dollar. There was one guy who opened up fast food ketchup packets to fill up his ketchup. How long is that going to take? Is it really worth the few bucks you saved?

    My favorite was the guy who took his wife out to an anniversary dinner, and then asked the people next to him if he could have their leftovers when they were done. That’s so gross!

    1. That is crazy. Ketchup is cheap. Just buy generic for goodness sake!

  11. I’m very frugal with a lot of things, but I wouldn’t go that far. I’ve seen this episode before and had to look away when she had the friends over for dinner!

    1. Ugh, I know! I don’t think I could eat dumpster food.

  12. Wow, that’s absolutely nuts. I wouldn’t consider myself cheap per se but I do love to save money and will be cheap with some things that don’t matter much to me so I can spend more on other things. We have a family member that would be perfect for a show like this. Crazy thing is that they’re fairly well off yet will still try to get blood out of a turnip.

  13. We keep our house even cooler in the summer, but I just uncovered something in getting our roofing quotes which might let us raise the temps a bit. He found that our attic was very poorly ventilated and was basically causing heat to be trapped, which would then radiate into the house. This made sense because the upstairs has always been very hot even after it cools down outside. He’s going to fix this as part of the roofing install, and I’m excited to see whether it in fact makes a difference.

    1. That sounds like a great idea! I’m glad you found out!

  14. I have a friend who is really cheap although not freak-show cheap. My favorite story of her is when she and I had a rare “moms night out” and had dinner at a restaurant (with a groupon of course) and then she asked if I wouldn’t mind if she ran an errand before driving me home. She then drove us to a Dollar Store where she returned an item she bought there 3 months ago. Yes, she returned an item that she bought for $1 at a Dollar Store. I was more impressed that she still had the receipt.

    1. I can’t believe that she saved the receipt either!!! =)

  15. I have only seen a few episodes because I don’t have cable either and this show is why I don’t want cable. Why would you live like this? Just to save $100 a month, you are going to hit the trash cans in order to find food and you are not going to use toilet paper when you go to the bathroom. Thanks for making me cringe Holly.

    1. You’re welcome. I would be very scared to eat meat that has been in a dumpster. It wouldn’t be that hard to eat some crazy bacteria and die. Saving money is not worth dying over.

  16. Oh my, I’ve heard of this show. There’s a lady who apparently does her business in plastic bottles and then uses the refuse in her garden. Like you and many commenters above, there are some modern amenities that I wouldn’t give up even in the name of saving money. The most extreme thing I’ve done is to cut my own hair and fortunately that was a success.

    1. I have tried to cut Greg’s hair but he won’t let me near him!!!

  17. Ugh. I wrote about these people awhile ago. I don’t think they’re frugal or thrifty. I think they’re mooches and I think they’re kind of trainwrecky. One guy took other people’s leftovers in a restaurant (if eating out is that expensive, make your own dinner), another one put boxed wine in a bottle that used to hold expensive wine (why hide the fact that you’re drinking boxed wine?). Another guy charged his roommates rent for a place he paid nothing on AND reused all of his plastic ware. There were no glasses in the place; only reused plastic cups or plastic containers and plastic utensils. I was all, dude, if you’re going to charge market rent to two roommates, maybe you can spring for some actual plates and cutlery.

    1. Eating other people’s leftovers = yuck….unless it’s your kids or something!

  18. I am cheap, but I wouldn’t do most if not any of the things I have heard about on Extreme Cheapstakes. I have never seen the show, but from what you have described above, and from what friends have told me, I would not do any of those things.

    Washing my clothes in the bathtub, or taking food out of the trash is way too extreme for me as well.

    1. I agree! I love my washing machine and dishwasher. They are worth the money for the time they save me!

  19. I tried to watch an episode of this show, I really did. But I couldn’t last even 5 minutes. Bleh…the things these people do, I can’t even…. 🙁

    1. If I had cable, I would probably watch it. Haha!

  20. The very first one they did, they showed a guy that was fairly reasonable – he had a “no spend” week or something like that I thought was a great idea since it forced you to eat whatever was in pantry. But when they launched the series, it took a weird and gross turn – serving guests food out of the trash is pretty disrespectful.

    1. We try to do “no spend weeks” here and there. We mostly do it near the end of the month when we have spent most of the money in our budgeted categories!

  21. As far as the thermostat wars, we keep ours at 76 to 78 in the summer and at 70 in the winter. My girlfriend always complains it is too hot though so that is why we have a summer range. I think if she just left it alone at 78 she would be fine after adjusting but no luck so far with that…

  22. Hmm, I don’t know anyone who is that extreme, but a lot of wealthy people that I know are cheap about certain things. I guess that’s how they ended up wealthy! I’m pretty cheap, I didn’t think so but a few days ago, my bread went mouldy and I spent 15 minutes cutting the mould off a few pieces so I wouldn’t have to throw the loaf away.

    1. I’ve done the same thing. Greg is terrified of moldy bread though so he wouldn’t do that!

  23. Extreme anything is just wrong! You cannot keep it up and it is not worth the effort. Life is meant to be enjoyed and you need to find a way to achieve your financial goals without going extreme.

    1. I agree. The people on this show seems obsessed and it’s kind’ve sad =(

  24. I know someone who could probably go on this show….I’ll spare most details be he reuses GARBAGE bags. I’m not kidding. He empties the smaller garbage into one larger bag and reuses the smaller ones again, from bathrooms, kitchens anywhere. God only knows the microscopic shit thats crawling in those cans….

    1. That’s pretty gross considering the kinds of things that go in bathroom trashcans =/

  25. I am actually a little bit obsessed with toilet paper. If I get below an 8 pack, I freak out a little bit. I’m not sure why. Maybe I’m afraid of having a bout of food poisoning with not enough TP? Not sure.

    When you think about it, people from my Mom’s generation were probably extreme cheapskates because they just didn’t have any money. She was one of six. They were farmers and grew or raised all their food. If their crops weren’t good, they had no money,so they made due. I remember her telling me they took a bath once a week and all six kids used the same bath water. She said they probably stunk, but everyone else did too, so you didn’t notice it. Back then it was just life, but I would consider it extreme if we had to live like that today. I love showers!

    1. So do we! I once had a year supply of toilet paper….back in my couponing days. Now, it feels like we are on the last roll when we have several packs left.

  26. I don’t have cable either and have only heard about this show on the radio. I would say I’m cheap, but not extremely cheap. I don’t flush if its just a little tinkle though. Seems like such a waste for something that’s not a full pee. Lol. I wouldn’t sacrifice hygiene to save a few dollars. It doesn’t seem worth it.

    1. I know what you mean about peeing and flushing! As long as you don’t have company over, who cares?

  27. I would be surprised to find that these people have more left in the bank after a year than I do. Penny wise, pound foolish, I’d say

  28. I’m not a cheapskate, but I’d be happy to be labeled a cheapskate millionaire! There are certainly limits to saving money that don’t make sense to me. That being said I’m a “to each his own” kind of person.

  29. I’m with you on flushing. I think it’s always a good idea. 🙂 I don’t think there’s much I do that could be considered extreme – I may use a tea bag more than once in a day, but that’s about it. And I’d never do that to a guest!

  30. Oh my. I wish I could undo seeing that. That’s extreme. Beyond extreme. Ack. Living in LA, it’s the land of indulgence. I’m all for being frugal and thoughtful with how you spend money, but I could never imagine …. yeesh. I gotta go rinse my eyes out. 🙂

  31. I am frugal, but not an extreme cheapskate. OMG the title of that video made me LOL!

  32. Thank you for warning me of yet another tv show on TLC that I should avoid. That network is almost as bad as MTV, possibly even worse lol

  33. We’re far from extreme cheapskates and we have watched the TLC program. I don’t even know anyone that would fit the description of what they are looking for. Most times though unless you really know someone you may not even know that they are as cheap as they are as they are.

  34. Interesting idea for a show, may tune in. However, I dont think I would make the cut due to my liberal tendencies toward spending, not to mention my face which only a mother could love, LOL.

  35. It’s funny because that clip is from the ONLY episode I actually have seen of that show, and that woman disgusted me! She was just plain awful, unpleasant and gross. Some of the dumpster diving food she picked up just me ill. I think in some ways that “extreme” behavior, although in some regards saving a lot of money, is almost a mental disorder like so many other ones like hoarding. TLC has some pretty bizarre shows!

  36. Financial Black Sheep says:

    I don’t have cable but picked up a book called “The Cheapskate Next Door” thinking it would be close to the millionaire next door. Boy was I wrong! I could only read half of it, because like others have said about the show on TLC it is borderline gross. Not fixing your house and letting water drip in is not a way to save money. Not using toilet paper (at least get napkins from fast food chains jeez) is not a way to save money. These measures are just too extreme, and one should be focusing on living comfortably while saving money, not pinching every penny so tight that is all you focus on.

  37. I watched a couple of episodes of this show and it wasn’t for me. It seems like these folks are ruining their relationships with people. I get being frugal but some of the stuff seems to be dysfunctional.

  38. Holly, the title of that video was so disgusting I couldn’t even click on it. Come on people! There are so many ways to save money and have all of your personal needs met along with a few needs.

  39. When I had two small children in cloth diapers I also used cloth wipes. I asked myself if I am using cloth wipes on them why am I not using them on me? I couldn’t come up with a logically answer. So I created a whole pile of cloth wipes for my husband and I. In the beginning we did forget and we accidently flushed a few but after awhile it became routine. We did a load of laundry at least every three days with the diapers and the wipes so odor and mold were never an issue. Also our wipes were much less messy since 99% of our waste endng in the toilet not like a child in a diaper. We stopped using them when the second child stopped using diapers and it was much longer between laundry times since I didn’t want to mix the wipes with other clothing. But I have to say I do miss the cloth wipes, they were very soft on the skin.

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