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How to Deal With Extreme Cheapskates

Updated on July 28, 2015
You know you're cheap when (insert punchline here).
You know you're cheap when (insert punchline here). | Source

Annoying Extreme Couponers

Can you imagine working as a cashier and some lady gives you a hundred coupons to scan

What would be your first reaction?

TLC's Extreme Couponing is fun to watch because of its ability to relate to the middle class, but clearly there's something wrong with spending 60+ hours a week clipping, organizing, and dumpster diving for coupons.

In the end, do they really need 300 boxes of cereal.

I get that it's awesome to save thousands of dollars, but those people don't have jobs or lives for that matter because couponing has replaced it all.

Cruel as this may be, extreme couponers are the worst kinds of cheapskates because of their super high annoyance factor. They will annoy customers, employees, and managers at the grocery stores with time consuming scanning.

And...

They'll annoy the rest of their family when kids, spouses, and siblings are forced to clip coupons and dig in the garbage every week.

Stage an Intervention

Intervention for the Frugal Extremists

Oh look another TV show!

But in all honesty, if you're dealing with a friend or family member that's very cheap, then have people talk to them about it.

However make sure you don't ambush them just because they use a couple of weekly coupons for groceries.

No, when I say extremely cheap I'm referring to those who perform similar (well almost) activities as the people on that show Extreme Cheapskates (TLC). I realize a lot of those situations are staged or exaggerated, but it wouldn't surprise me if people were that cheap.

Watching that show should make you realize an extreme cheapskate lifestyle is not the way to live, and I don't care if you save an extra few dollars a week if your kids end up hating you for it.

If you've never seen the show or clips from it, then you should really take a gander. Those poor children are living like a bunch of hobos under a bridge due to their insane parents.

Talk about a save the children commercial!

(Where were you on that one Sarah McLachlan)

Summer Vacation Relaxation

Living for yourself and others
Living for yourself and others | Source

Low Cost Fun

Show those cheapos what they're missing, and give them a reason to splurge every once in a while.

Buy them brand new Fine China and throw all those paper cups and plates in the garbage. Start small and work your way up, but remember that It's the little things that make difference.

How about a nice trip to the lake or shore. I'm sure your cheap friends would enjoy a cool, fun trip to let loose (you'll probably have to pay).

Regardless of what the activity is, the whole point is to make the frugal few forget about their nonstop frugality and prove that there's more to life than the bare minimum, saving on everything, and shopping at raggedy thrift stores (no offense).

Let them experience a day without a buy one get one free store promotion or a mail-in rebate.

Give them pennies and have them throw it in the water or inside a shopping mall's pool. If there's a wishing well around, then tell them to make a wish and throw a few coins down the well.

Warning: Be prepared to go in after them when they inevitably start diving to save their change (Not joking here).

Save Money on a Lie

Red Alert! Lying is OK
Red Alert! Lying is OK | Source

Few White Lies About Money

Yeah, yeah this is dishonest but men and women tell 100's of lies to each other all the time, and sometimes you gotta play hardball.

The act of lying doesn't have to be extreme, and even a few cents or dollars of misinformation might be enough to calm your cheap relatives or friends.

The only problem is that eventually they'll figure out what the actual amount is, in which case, you'll have to start running as fast as you can. There's nothing more dangerous than an extreme cheapskate whose had to spend a dollar beyond budget.

So there's an obvious limit to the lies, but maybe it'll teach those extremists something new. Who knows perhaps they'll start to change their sadistic lifestyle.

The Cost of Saving Money

Stepping out of your "real world"
Stepping out of your "real world" | Source

A Dose of Reality

Make them walk a mile in your shoes.

Express to them the consequences of being too cheap by exposing their faults. Be honest and let them know what everybody else is thinking about them.

Hit them where it hurts!

If you really want to extra harsh, then do these things below:

  • Have the kids thrash their parents' cheapskate ways
  • Constantly make jokes about their lifestyle
  • Be a showoff; show them the finer things in life
  • Video evidence of their frugal behavior
  • Make them watch TLC for 24 straight hours

You're probably going to have to tie them up to a chair for that last one (kidding?).

I know I'm being cynical, but most people don't stop their bad habits unless they see how it affects loved ones. Some of those other tactics may work too because of how obnoxious they'll become.

For example, teasing and making fun of someone is definitely juvenile, but it could work because cheapskates may get sick of it eventually.

Think About This!

Which Tactics Would You Use to Stop an Extreme Cheapskate?

See results

Healthy Cheap Alternatives

How to Live a Frugal Lifestyle?

What's the right way to live a frugal lifestyle?

First of all, there's nothing wrong with trying to be more frugal. In many cases we have to be frugal because costs are so ridiculously high, but where do we draw the line.

You don't need to be spending hours a week clipping coupons, but you should seek them out. All you have to do is reduce the time spent couponing to focus on more important tasks, and these days there are faster, better ways to get easy savings.

There are numerous online resources and mobile apps that strive to make your savings a lot easier to accomplish including:

  1. The Krazy Coupon Lady
  2. Coupons.com
  3. Retail Me Not (also an app)
  4. SavingStar (site and app)
  5. Ibotta app
  6. Receipt Hog app

I also started using the "ReceiptPal app" ,(IOS and Android) and I love it already. You could snap any receipt and the point values are better than Receipt Hog. However you can't add long sections of a receipt yet and rewards are generally Amazon gift cards.

The bottom line is there are a plethora of sources available to decrease time spent on trying to save every penny.

Speaking of trying to save on everything, the simple solution is setting aside some money for that occasional splurge. At least then you'll remain in control even when stepping out of the box to enjoy yourself.

Cheap and Proud!

As long as being cheap isn't ruining other people's lives, then go ahead and stay cheap.

Just don't be an extreme cheapskate!

If you're able to stay in your lane without bumping others off, then it's okay to be cheap and proud. You may still get ridiculed for your lifestyle, but I guarantee you're doing a lot better, money-wise, than those spendthrifts.

At least a cheapskate saves money instead of throwing it away on nothing.

I'm a cheapskate a proud of it, but I won't let it affect how I live. I love to save money, but I'll also splurge on occasion.

A healthy balance of fun and caution is what it should be all about, so go ahead and live your life.

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    • profile image

      Lesskart 5 months ago

      Nice article as for me and this gives me some options to look at.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 2 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      That's a real tragedy that you've had to deal with so much because I couldn't imagine what it must have been like. I do sympathize with those who have obvious mental disorders, so my apologies if I offend anyone. Yes those with a legitimate psychological problem need to get help and therapy. I was looking from it at a more lighthearted approach. The shows are sad sometimes but those people agreed to be filmed and be on the show. For that reason I can't be as empathetic as I'd like to be.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 2 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      That's really interesting and whatever works I suppose. It sounds a bit ridiculous for families to go through all that trouble, but I guess winning makes them look like geniuses. I do envy those who know how to handle their expenses because they're a cut above the spendthrifts. Thank you for the feedback, much appreciated.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      I'm not sure shaming them will help. There is obviously a deeper problem than just an obsession. I think people that go to that extreme have some deep seated fear that can't be overcome overnight. It may take therapy and a number of doctors. I'm cheap/frugal but I like to splurge and would love to end the bargain hunting if I could. But even at that, I know I have a secret fear of running out of food or something that I have to battle every day. It's unreasonable but it's there. I have been without before and I've been homeless before and I don't want to be there again. So I fight my own secret hoarding war... I have gotten better but I'm still not willing to throw it all away. I think women naturally have security issues but in the extreme cheapskates case, something has happened to trigger an extreme fear response. Just my take on it. Instead of helping people like that, they may a TV show about it and laugh at them behind their backs. It's sad really.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Interesting hub Chris, and good advice for dealing with cheapskates. I knew some people (who shall remain nameless) who used to enter every radio and newpaper competition. They made their kids enter every coloring competition etc where there were prizes involved. It is amazing how much stuff they won I admit..and they obviously thought it was worth all the time and effort. Here sport clubs etc often have promotions where if you buy a meal (kids eat free) you get $5.00 to spend on poker/slot machines. These same people would all go there to eat then put the $5.00 in the machine and instantly hit collect to keep the $5.00 rather than play. Voted up.