Individuals who’ll give Scrooge run for his money on TLC

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MANILA, Philippines – When it comes to money, there are those who save, those who are stingy, and then there are cheapskates. TLC’s new series EXTREME CHEAPSKATES casts the spotlight on some of the most frugal individuals in America and the outrageous methods they use to save money.

The show premiered with a special one-hour pilot episode last July 9 and would air every Tuesday at 10:00 p.m., EXTREME CHEAPSKATES will give you a candid look at the lives of some of the most outlandish penny-pinchers, profiling different individuals to show you what desperate measures they will go to in order to save a buck…some of which are downright revolting! Catch the encores every Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. and Sunday at 7:00 p.m.

How far will you go to save some cash? Would you give up using toilet paper? For a few tightfisted individuals, it’s not even a question! Get to know these misers who take scrimping to a whole new level even if it means mortifying their family and friends. We are not just talking about unplugging electronics when you are not using them or reusing teabags; these EXTREME CHEAPSKATES will resort to any tactic including dumpster diving for their dinner, reusing paper towels, and foraging in bins at movie theatres to retrieve used popcorn containers and drink cups to get free refills.

More surprisingly, some of these EXTREME CHEAPSKATES don’t live like this because they have no choice or are poor. For example, Kate Hashimoto is an employed New York-based CPA (certified public accountant) who saves over $4,000 monthly from resorting to tactics like hand-washing her clothes in the bathtub with the water she showers in in order to pinch a measly $6 a month; she owns her studio apartment in Harlem which she paid off in nine months. Victoria Hunt is a self-made millionaire who has a “flush-free” lifestyle which involves urine jars and she only showers at her gym.. Some have more altruistic reasons like Roy Haynes who runs the non-profit pet rescue centre, Save Our Strays, out of his home using the money he saves to pay for food and veterinarian bills for the animals they rescue. Former CEO and author Jeff Yeager has saved enough to sponsor a child in the Philippines through college, a decision he and his wife Denise made instead of giving each other gifts for birthdays and Christmas.

Yeager, who wears the title of America’s “Ultimate Cheapskate” proudly said, “People often think that because I’m cheap, I don’t really enjoy life. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Because I don’t need to spend a lot of money to enjoy life, I don’t need to spend a lot of time getting a lot of money”.

Explore the austere world of these folks who are constantly searching for unique ways to cut costs by any means necessary. Prepare to be amazed, and most likely shocked, at their inventive and sometimes bizarre ways to spend as little as possible. In a world beset by financial crisis and double-dip recessions, every bit counts. Who knows? You might even learn a thing or two from these remarkably savvy money savers.

Meet the nine nifty-thrifty folks who are determined to live life on the cheap:

Kay (goes by Kate) Hashimoto [New York, New York]:
Kate’s story on 16 July at 10:00 p.m.
Kay finds most of her savings in the dumpster. Living in Manhattan means having access to fine dining but rather than eat at these restaurants, she collects the discarded perishables from their garbage bins as they sometimes throw out perfectly good food. This employed CPA manages to save half of her salary in one of America’s most expensive cities and owns her own studio apartment in Harlem. She doesn’t use toilet paper or do laundry, cuts her own hair, and hasn’t bought toiletries in over ten years.

Terence Candell [Oakland, California]:

Watch Terence’s story on 23 July at 10:00 p.m.

Terence goes through life without spending money – he picks up loose change, doles out a tiny allowance to his family, refuses to buy furniture and never takes his family out to eat. He is so cheap that he once painted his entire house on a single bucket of paint, and on the rare occasion he takes his family out to a restaurant, he opts for a budget Chinese buffet and has six people split three plates of food.

Greg Insco [Cincinnati, Ohio]:

Watch Greg’s story on 23 July at 10:00 p.m.

Greg is a Zumba instructor who only flushes his toilet once per week using shower water he has saved in a bucket. He reuses plastic utensils, and makes money by participating in medical tests…even if it means applying ointment to his rear end! Like Kate, he washes his clothes when he takes a shower and also steals plastic utensils and condiments from restaurants.

Victoria Hunt [Columbus, Ohio]:

Watch Victoria’s story on 30 July at 10:00 p.m.

Victoria is a self-made millionaire who obsessively keeps track of her budget, and is thrown for a loop when her boyfriend Steve moves in on a trial basis to see if he can handle her “flush free” lifestyle, which involves personalised urine jars she empties in her garden to save two dollars a month. She lives on just US$12,000 a year (including bills, groceries, and even health insurance) in part by putting her freezer on a timer so it only runs 12 hours a day and taking showers at her gym to save electricity and water.

Abdul Salaam Mohammed [Sioux Falls, South Dakota]:

Watch Abdul’s story on 6 August at 10:00 p.m.

Abdul is the ultimate haggler. He takes pride in negotiating a cheap price for everything – fast food, gas and utilities. He once threw an anniversary party for his wife for just $25.

Vickie Smith [Ashton, Idaho]:

Watch Vickie’s story on 6 August at 10:00 p.m.

This mother of five refuses to shell out cash for a telephone, a television, or even new clothes for the kids. If you receive a present from Vickie, there is a good chance it was made from the carcass of an animal that was run over by a car. To save money on gifts, Vickie and her husband John don’t go to the mall – they hit the highway in search of road kill and she then makes gloves, hats and other little things from what she finds.

Jeff Yeager [Accokeek, Maryland]:

Watch Jeff’s story on 13 August at 10:00 p.m.

Dubbed “The Ultimate Cheapskate” on the NBC TODAY Show, Jeff has been living the cheapskate lifestyle for most of his adult life. A former CEO, and author of The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Road Map to True Riches, Jeff uses his bicycle as his primary means of transportation and claims he has saved over US$50,000. He takes low-cost vacations by couch surfing and helps a family participate in a cheapskate boot camp that includes a “trash can autopsy”.

Roy Haynes [Huntington, Vermont]:

Watch Roy’s story on 20 August at 10:00 p.m.
Roy reuses his dental floss, picks through trash, and makes his own household cleaning supplies. He reuses coffee grinds several times, takes advantage of ice cream samples and gets free refills at the movies from old drink cups and popcorn canisters discovered in the trash. Besides unplugging every single appliance in his home when not in use (which saves him US$40 a month), Roy has a clothesline in his living room where he hangs the paper towels he washes and reuses and sharpens disposable razor blades.

Ben Livingston [Austin, Texas]:

Watch Ben’s story on 20 August at 10:00 p.m.

The 54-year old artist has gotten very creative when it comes to his miserliness. To keep his costs low, he uses his dishwasher to clean his clothes, gets his drinking water from a nearby creek, makes his own toothpaste and covers himself in cornstarch to keep himself cool since he lives without air conditioning in the sweltering Texas heat. His thrifty ways extend to his artwork and he crafts his neon sculptures from scraps and shards gathered from glass makers and neon shops.

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  • Simon Ward

    Well, FWIW, I haven’t used toilet paper at home for 40 years. It all started out because I was a student and my means of transport was a bicycle. Who wants to take up valuable back-pack space with toilet paper? Anyhoo, it didn’t take me long to realise that there is a MUCH better way to achieve the result toilet paper is intended for. And when I came to the Philippines, I discovered that many others had reached the same conclusion, by necessity or by chance.

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