October 18, 2012

Thoughts ~ TLC's 'Extreme Cheapskates'

I believe it was Tuesday night that I was flipping through the channels during  HGTV commercial breaks and stumbled upon the season premier of  TLC's 'Extreme Cheapskates' (Season 1). As with most (OK all) TLC shows these days it left me just shaking my head. But the difference with this particular show was that it was still bothering me the next day.

Now what I am saying is purely my opinion and others may definitely have different thoughts and feelings regarding the topic. Also there are always two sides of every story and folks that choose to become extreme cheapskates I'm sure all have different reasons and mindsets.

The thing that bothered me from watching parts of this show was that for some reason I felt personally offended by it.

It wasn't that Kate ate dumpster food or that she washed her clothes in the shower. It wasn't even that she never bought toilet paper or used her dishwasher as a storage unit. Some of the things she did to save money I totally agree with. Such as signing up for free samples and jogging to work. I'm all for spending as little money as possible and saving the planet at the same time!

The one thing that really bothered me was the way she chose to live in her apartment and the portrayal of that living on an extreme budget equals not having nice things.

The apartment was a complete mess and it seemed it wasn't important to Kate to have a decent kitchen table or even a proper bed. Which could be a very true statement in Kate's case.

Now hear me out....it could also quite possibly be that she isn't aware that good quality furniture is available for free if you know where to look and have a creative eye. I must say the wooden slotted chair she pulled out of the dumpster was a great score. But that was after she turned down the other chair because it was 'dirty'. A bit of soap and elbow grease could have done wonders to that piece of patio furniture.

This is where I start harping on about Craigslist and other sites that are out there with FREE sections.  I am always blown away by some things I find that others are getting rid. I have scored many great pieces of free furniture either from friends, family or online (mostly vintage) and I'm damn proud of it.  The reason they are free is usually simply the owners don't have the time, resources or energy to hold a garage sale, take items to the thrift store or have a large enough mode of transport. During this last move we put our entertainment unit up on Craigslist for free because it was large, heavy and we didn't want to break our backs moving from one place to the other.

Now that being said, Kate does live in New York and doesn't have a car but if she put her mind to it she could definitely furnish her apartment for free or close to it with quality items. To add a little decor she could use waste paper from the office to make paper mobiles to hang from the ceiling or pick some greenery from a local park to put in an empty glass jar.

Nature is actually a wonderful resource for those that don't want spend a lot of money on their home furnishings. An old tree stump can be made into a side table, dead branches can be used wall art, even stray rocks and bricks can be put to use.

In the second episode that aired right after the first we take a tour through Terence's house who lives with his wife and two teenage kids. This one bothered me even more than Kate's apartment because Terence didn't even bother to acquire furniture for his family. The house was practically bare with a single TV placed in the living room on the floor. The only other items in the room were a small table and single chair. There is absolutely no reason why this family couldn't have found or even made a TV stand using scrap lumber if need be. The kids and wife joke in the episode about how Terence won't allow them to get anymore furniture but I'm sure it's not an enjoyable environment to live in.

All said and done, I would rather see a show produced where folks' homes are furnished using only recycled and/or free items. Because I love a good design challenge show, such as HGTV's Design Star, you could have two designer's spar off to decorate two homes of families in need with an extremely minimal or zero budget!

OK rant over ;) And because a post isn't fun without pictures.....here are a few wonderful FREE items I spyed on Craigslist today.

Sofa (Tsawwassen)

Desk (Main St )

Free furniture (White Rock)

Ikea wall unit and television (Richmond) 

What are your thoughts and feelings towards Extreme Cheapskates?
Do you have any creative ways of saving money without sacrificing style and comfort?

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