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.
LUCKY US, TLC RERUNS THEIR SHOWS LIKE THEY HAVE TO MEET A DAILY QUOTA.
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.
.. goat. HEADS. 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?
OH, I AM RILED YET AGAIN.
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!