Extreme Cheapskates and Why This Show Made Me Insanely Stabby

On Wednesday night this week, Twitter was ablaze about a show on TLC called Extreme Cheapskates and people were kind of losing their minds about it. I was all bummed out because we were stuck watching Batman: Arkham City which, while VERY COOL, is not what everyone was talking about.


Okay, the title SHOULD’VE BEEN Unintelligent Cheapskates That Will Leave You Questioning Why We Let Them Breed.

Sure, there was the guy who retired so he could drive around on his bike and collect loose change all day. And I found a bit of his math to be odd: they routinely go on “financial fasts”, where for a week they spend no money, and they believe they save about $700 every time they do this.

… how many of y’all spend $700 a week? Like, do they not pay any BILLS? If the utilities are due that week, do they just shove them off and say “Yep, saved $200 during that fast!” only to have to pay it the next week? I’m .. I’m just not sure they’re really saving as much as they want to believe.

(Now, they do have some premises that are very sound. They agreed at the start of their life together to set a lifestyle that they liked, and they wouldn’t strive to reach above it. They’re not trying to keep up with the Joneses, and there’s probably a lot to be said for that.)

But when he scrounged for change around town (digging into booths at diners and scraping lint traps and laundromats)(OMG, MY OCD WAS RAAAAGING), he got around $10 that he wanted to spend on a meal for he and his wife. (They were at the end of a weekly financial fast.) So he got what any cheapskate would: two goat heads.


ALMOST TEN DOLLARS. Goat heads? You’re an idiot. You can buy three fryer hens. You can buy MANY MANY boxes of mac and cheese. I just .. if I was his wife, I’d have decked him.

But what riled me most was this family in the clip below. She repeated – and repeated, and repeated, to echo it about four times through their segment – that they were a middle-class family with a very good income. I don’t know why she felt the need to say it that many times, but she did. They had six kids, noting that not many families opt for that many children anymore. Okay, true. It helps that they don’t pay daycare for the six kids, but hey! Six kids is still not cheap!

Then she showed the first “extreme cheapskate” method:

Um, okay. So .. homemade, reusable toilet paper. Which … okaaaaay. But y’all, toilet paper is not THAT expensive, and when you have a bucket of used ass-wipes just ripening in each bathroom, it kind of skeeves me out. And a clip was shown of the kids helping to fold said “toilet paper” and there were (not surprisingly!) skid marks ALL OVER THEM. That’s just NASTY.

But even THAT is not what riled me. What riled me is that (again, I don’t know that I understand the math) they are part of a babysitting group where a couple of families take all the kids one night and they rotate families each time. They said they saved .. I don’t remember the exact amount correctly, but .. something like $450 a month doing this. JEEBUS, Y’ALL. Maybe I underpay my babysitters (I don’t), but .. that seems like a lot. (Then again, it might be the six kid issue.)

Okay, I’m getting there.

It’s worth the wait, because you will be riled too.

How she “affords” to pay for her rotation (on their middle-class, really good income) is that they shop at a local thrift mart, where the food is steeply discounted. It is steeply discounted because it is expired.

Like, WAAAAAY expired.

She bought cheese and sauce to make pizzas for the kids, and the cheese was two years expired. TWO YEARS. 2009. She shrugged, but tossed it in the cart. Then they went and pulled greens out of a local park to make a salad for the kids. While pulling, a kid stepped in dog poo, so .. it was a dog-friendly park.

Now, I might be willing to let the whole “here, honey, wipe your ass with this washcloth that they’ve been using on THEIR asses for five years” thing slide if I dropped my kids off there for the night. But if I found out – after the fact – that she fed my children food that was TWO YEARS EXPIRED? KNOWINGLY?


Look, you already have six kids. The two extra kids dropped off for this evening’s festivities SURELY could’ve warranted a trip to a Publix. Or hell! A Kroger! It’s one thing if you choose to feed expired food to your own kids (and OMG, I hope she NEVER lives that down), but feeding it to other children? OH I HATE HER MIDDLE-CLASS REALLY GOOD INCOME FAMILY SO HARD.

Hey, also, HAPPY 2012!

6 Responses to Extreme Cheapskates and Why This Show Made Me Insanely Stabby

  1. Snidely December 31, 2011 at 8:05 pm #


    Did she eat the nasty expired food too? I feel bad giving my family stuff thats been in the freezer for a few months!

    I like her premise that the only way to keep from going into debt is to use (and reuse) fabric tp.


  2. Nil zed December 31, 2011 at 8:47 pm #

    The reusable bottom wipers is no worse than cloth diapers which you wash and reuse. Or washable sanitary pads (im close enough to menapause that i cant be bothered to invest at this time Thats my story and im sticking to it!) My first kid was born just about the time baby wipes were invented. Very fancy and $$$$ so i reserved for when travelling! I received several dozen ‘baby washcloths’TSS gifts though. After use they went in the diaper pail and were washed with the diapers.

    As for the cheese, being past it’s sell by date doesn’t automatically mean its spoiled. Just that it is beyond some undefined perfection point. . Have you ever bought aged cheddar? Bingo. Not saying I’d buy it necessarily, just saying that so long as it hasn’t been exposed to other pathogens or stored too warmly, it’s likely no different than a more expensive ( because of longer aging) cheese.

    Or was it ‘Parmesan’ in a can? Cause that is already so not food that it can’t be much different than when it first left the factory!

  3. Jesabes December 31, 2011 at 8:47 pm #

    Maybe her family’s guts are used to expired food, but I bet those kids coming over aren’t. It would be like visiting a third world country – don’t drink the water!
    Jesabes wants you to read ..Well that explains it

  4. Elsha December 31, 2011 at 11:21 pm #

    Well now I’m sort of glad I missed the show because I think it would have made me stabby too. I mean, there are many, MANY great ways to save money. Lots of money even. These all sound ridiculous to me.

  5. Nik-Nak January 2, 2012 at 10:35 am #

    DVRing this show right now!!

  6. Mr. Mom January 10, 2012 at 11:53 pm #

    I think the huge point for me is the fact she fed this stuff to other peoples kids. I’m sure when the other families went out of their way to make sure their SIX kids where treated well and given healthiest food they could. and to turn around feed them expired food and dog peed grass is beyond unacceptable.

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