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Review: The Learning Channel (TLC) Special - Extreme Cheapskates

Updated on January 22, 2014

While flipping aimlessly through the endless sea of TV channels on the remote last night, I happened upon the TLC Special - Extreme Cheapskates. It seemed interesting so I tuned in. defines a cheapskate as a miserly person, tightwad, a stingy hoarder of money and possessions (often living miserably).

The show highlights several individuals who are known "extreme cheapskates," meaning that they utilize unusual measures to save money. These people were definitely tightwads but they didn't seem miserable. As a matter of fact, they seemed rather proud of their accomplishments in saving every little bit they could. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.

The Ultimate Cheapskate

Some of the examples of this intense frugality shocked even me:

♦ Cutting apart fabric squares to make reusable toilet paper. After each square is "used," it is placed in a basket and washed, ready to use again.

♦ Purchasing two-ply rolls of toilet paper and separating them into two separate single-ply rolls.

♦ Bartering for goods and services.

♦ When dining in a restaurant, boxing up other guests' leftovers to take home yourself and eat later.

♦ Squeezing ketchup packets (like the kind at fast food restaurants) into the ketchup bottle at home.

♦ Making your own household cleaners like laundry detergent and window cleaner.

♦ When the tube of toothpaste has no "squeeze" left, cut it in half and there's still enough to use for another week.

♦ Diving (really) into dumpsters and retrieving items as the wife's wedding anniversary gifts. Examples include: dead roses, a tea kettle and a bottled water.

♦ Reusing paper towels. After one use, carefully rinse out and hang to dry.

♦ Scoping the town to find loose change. After collecting more than $7.00 (quite a find, I think), the gentleman heads to the butcher to purchase two goat heads that he takes home to cook and eat.

Now, I admit I am frugal. I was brought up that way. I do use coupons when available, I do make my own laundry detergent and a number of other things (see some of my "frugal" hubs on the right).

I can't quite get past the toilet paper thing. The fabric squares must certainly be more "comfortable" to use as the husband says. But I don't care how much bleach you use, there are still obvious "stains" on the re-washed "clean" wipes.

I don't think I would have ever married the guy who dumpster dives for anniversary presents. This is also the guy who picked up the rice from the ground that was thrown at them when they got married. He took it home and cooked it to eat.This is definitely saving to the extreme. I love to repurpose old things and go to yard sales for used items and love a good bargain, but give me a break.

I wouldn't mind trying to use that last bit of toothpaste in the tube by cutting it open. Even the most expert toothpaste tube squeezer still can't get that last little bit out. I'd have to keep the open tube in safe place, though, because the cats would likely want to check out the taste.

Bartering for goods and services is definitely not a bad idea, especially since it's been around for hundreds of years. If you have a talent that you could trade for something you need, it might be worth a shot.

Taking other people's leftovers seems very unsanitary. Sharing germs of those I know is bad enough but from a perfect stranger? No way.

The show will be aired again on TLC (The Learning Channel) so check your local listings. It definitely was interesting to watch (although disgusting at times) and forces you to think about how your family saves money (if you do).

Let me know what you think!


Submit a Comment
  • Esmeowl12 profile imageAUTHOR

    Cindy A Johnson 

    7 years ago from Sevierville, TN

    Weird. No, no one contacted me. I wrote about it because it was just so unbelievable. Hopefully it wasn't spam.

  • KathyH profile image


    7 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

    This is so strange... I got an email from someone who claimed to be from TLC about this show, they are casting and read something that they said I wrote about cheapskates, only thing is, I have never written about cheapskates that I can recall! Unless you count "Free" things to do in Las Vegas? I did write one about shopping at a thrift shop for kids clothes when our boys were young. It was a strange email, and I have no idea if the person was even being truthful! I don't think I'd be any good on that show, I'm not an "extreme" anything, including cheapskate! Did they contact you because of you writing this hub? Just curious! :)

  • Esmeowl12 profile imageAUTHOR

    Cindy A Johnson 

    7 years ago from Sevierville, TN

    Thanks for your comments, Eve. These people definitely had something going on.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    This show had nothing to do with one being cheap or frugal but rather TLC delved into individual psychological neurosis that require medical or psychological treatment. Those persons were not cheapskates but rather neurotic individuals in need of professional help.

  • Esmeowl12 profile imageAUTHOR

    Cindy A Johnson 

    8 years ago from Sevierville, TN

    It was definitely fascinating, molometer!

  • molometer profile image

    Micheal is 

    8 years ago from United Kingdom

    I too was brought up on the idea of make do and mend but this is extreme and as you say unsanitary?

    There is being frugal but this takes the biscuit (half eaten) lol

    I will give it a watch as it sounds fascinating.

  • Esmeowl12 profile imageAUTHOR

    Cindy A Johnson 

    8 years ago from Sevierville, TN

    Thanks, gypsy. I think you can take anything to the extreme.

  • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

    Gypsy Rose Lee 

    8 years ago from Daytona Beach, Florida

    Great hub! Frugal is good to a certain point and yes some people take it to extremes. However some of the ideas like the toothpaste tube are not bad. Will check this out on YouTube.

  • Esmeowl12 profile imageAUTHOR

    Cindy A Johnson 

    8 years ago from Sevierville, TN

    Alecia, I agree. Thanks for your comments.

  • Alecia Murphy profile image

    Alecia Murphy 

    8 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

    Wow is all I can say. The toliet paper one is too much. It's not sanitary and I think sometimes you have to consider that above being cheap. And dumpster diving for gifts is not frugality at its highest but a cheap way to cut corners to my way of thinking. You can save money and preserve your dignity. Great hub!

  • Esmeowl12 profile imageAUTHOR

    Cindy A Johnson 

    8 years ago from Sevierville, TN

    Don, I'm with you on what you do at home. I made the mistake of cleaning with ammonia and bleach at the same time once. Won't do that again!

  • Don Fairchild profile image

    Don Fairchild 

    8 years ago from Belgrade, ME

    OMG, the toilet paper thing!!

    My wife will reuse tin foil left over from a turkey or chicken roasting, she uses it to make lids for the dog food container in the fridge.

    We both use home made cleaners (from the old days) using inexpensive items like ammonia, bleach, borax, etc.... (Not all at once of course.) Ammonia is great for bathtub soap scum, and it is real cheap, much cheaper than spray on foam bubbles. Ammonia is great for mosquito, wasp bites as well.

  • Esmeowl12 profile imageAUTHOR

    Cindy A Johnson 

    8 years ago from Sevierville, TN

    I do know what you mean, drbj. Not from personal experience, however, but my dad did. The fabric seems nasty to me.

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 

    8 years ago from south Florida

    Like you, Esme, I love a bargain, but the toilet paper/fabric idea is just too far out - and very unsanitary. I would prefer returning to the days of the Sears Roebuck catalog (if you know what I mean) instead.

  • Esmeowl12 profile imageAUTHOR

    Cindy A Johnson 

    8 years ago from Sevierville, TN

    I know, Sandy! It was so funny and gross at the same time!

  • sandy1973mypetdog profile image


    8 years ago from the south

    I saw this show as well and I could not believe some of the things people were doing, including the toilet paper idea. I was laughing at the guy who went dumpster diving for his wife some flowers and a present for their anniversary, that was so hilarious, but unfortunately true. Well, I am glad I am not married to someone like that, so I guess you could really say love was blind in that case. Great hub!


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