Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Extremely Fake Cheapskates! Season One Recap

If you've been browsing Netflix lately, you may have noticed a recent influx of trashy reality TV shows.  While I normally avoid these like the plague, there was one that recently piqued my interest.  I've been reading the Mr. Money Mustache blog lately so I just HAD to watch Extreme Cheapskates.   Have these extremists used any of MMM's penny pinching tactics? Maybe there would be some useful tricks I could impress my wife with! I was not disappointed.  This show was a gold mine of hilarity, but it was rather inconsistent.  On one hand there are characters such as Jeff, a man who may out stash Mr. Mustache himself.  On the other, we have people like Vickie, John, and Abdul, who's money saving methods seemed about as real as an episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians.

Lets meet the cast of characters that Extreme Cheapskates has lined up and see if we can filter out the real eagle squeezers.  I'll rate each one on a scale of 1 (Gucci hidden under the bed) to 10 (Ghandi would be proud).

To start off the season we meet Kate, a sad and lonely lady who lives in what appears to be Manhattan.  I honestly felt bad for her, and I think she may have some mild Asbergers and Anxiety issues.  She lives like a depression era begger, going so far to eat and serve to her 'friends' expired food from garbage cans.  I don't think she has spent a cent of money on anything besides her electric bill and rent.  Her "favorite t-shirt" is tattered, disgustingly yellow, and full of holes.  Her prized possession seems to be a pair of athletic shorts she's owned for 13 years.  These are now proudly held on by a binder clip that she probably took from work.

Kate picking out some appetizers for her dinner party.

Cheap O Meter: 10 - Sad and lonely, but cheap as hell.

Terence is a school teacher with some fat bank accounts.  You wouldn't guess it from outward appearances though.  His Cinder block home is furnished with sparse folding chairs, and card tables.  He's proud of his half functional desk in his office. Sorry, allow me to clarify.  It's not 'half functional', it's literally half of a desk. Terrence splurged on what appears to be about a 30'' flat panel TV.  The TV sits lonely on the floor in the corner of the living room. Once a year Terrence treats his family to a nice meal out.  I'm skeptical of how the events at this dinner unfold.  Terrence's wife just happens to invite his Aunt and Uncle along for the dinner, un-announced.  Terrence rebuttals by treating the family to a fine dining experience at a Chinese buffet.  He tries to save some coin by attempting to only buy 3 plates for 7 or so people.  He is then brash enough to pay for the entire meal in small change!   While Terrence's home has all the signs of a cheapskate the family's reaction to his shenanigans tell the true story, this one reeks of reality TV script writing.

Terrence gleefully presenting his family with three plates of Chinese food. They are less than impressed. 

Cheap O Meter: 6 - Started out strong, but this stinks of reality TV scripting.

Greg is a young guy who knows the value of a dollar... Or maybe not... I'm not sure Greg has ever had to spend a dollar of his own his entire life!  Greg lives for free in his Grandma's house, yet has two roommates who he charges rent.  Greg saves money on laundry by showering with his clothes on.  Greg grabs condiments from every restaurant he enters.  Greg drinks water out of old yogurt cups for no apparent reason.  I guess grandma took all her cups with her to Florida.  Greg flushes the toilet once a week.  Greg is the kind of guy who waits for you to order first at a restaurant, then will just eat half your shit.  Bottom line, Greg is not a cheapskate, he's just a freeloading asshole!

Greg, multitasking.

Cheap O Meter: 3 - Cheap is too kind of a label for Greg. Greg is just a freeloading asshole!

Victoria is the Queen of Cheap. If you're in her kingdom, you best be pinching pennies as well.  You better know exactly how much electricity it takes to heat up that dinner in the microwave, or you'll have hell to pay.  Victoria and Kate must have gone to culinary school together, because they both know where to find the finest ingredients, the dumpster!   Victoria's dirtiest cheapskate secret is her water saving tactics.  Why waste water like Greg and flush once a week when you can flush NEVER!  Yes folks, that ain't jars of lemonade next to the toilet.  Now that Victoria's boyfriend has moved in, she's upgraded to a his and hers jar set!

Victoria, probably pouring jars of pee onto her compost pile.

Cheap O Meter: 8 - Victoria's a seasoned cheapskate for sure, but there's always room for improvement.

Abdul - (Hot Dog guy)
Abdul is a Hot Dog Vendor.  The ladies love his wieners!  Abdul puts his cheapness to the test by throwing his wife an anniversary party... for $25 dollars.  While his haggling skills are to be admired, his wife's reaction leads me to believe that most of this cheapness was put on for show.

Cheap O Meter: 6  -  Hire this guy to throw you a party on your dime, literally, just a dime.

Jeff (The real deal!)
Jeff.  Oh Jeff, where do I start with this guy.  If you read Mr. Money Mustache's blog, then you will admire Jeff despite his quirks.  This guy is the definition of cheap.  He enjoys cushion diving: the act of entering a local restaurant and non-nonchalantly sitting in every booth to search for dropped change.  Whilst making the rounds, he shoves his hands into every booth crevasse, violating any dignity the seat cushion may have had.  Jeff could be the third member of The Sticky Bandits (Jeff does bear a striking resemblance to Marv).   On top of that ridiculousness, you won't believe what he did with the $7 he found.   Jeff was able to haggle down the butcher into selling him two lamb skulls for only $7, what a deal!  Boil these bad boys up, and baby, you got yourself a stew!

Jeff searching for change by an air pump.
Jeff preparing some lamb heads. Yummy!

Cheap O Meter: 10 -  This guy is the real deal, just don't attend any of his dinner parties.

Wow, who would have thought that personal finance could be so entertaining?  Watch the first season of Extreme Cheapskates, and let me know if I'm accurate in my ratings.   Until season 2, stay cheap my friends.