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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!


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