Coming Out of the Closet

So last June I received an email from Jef (owner of Jester’Z Improv) saying that he had a casting call for me and if I was interested to let him know.  I wasn’t sure where he was going with this or if it was a joke.
His email said, “Are you a person that knows how to stretch a dollar? Are you so cheap that sometimes people get embarrassed by your actions, or ask you to help them with saving money? Are you so clever and savvy that you don’t coupon and shop at thrift stores to save money? Are you the type that likes to go to the EXTREME, when it comes to saving money? If so, TLC WANTS YOU!!!! TLC’s Extreme Cheapskates is casting their second season and looking for the most frugal/CHEAPEST people in America! If this sounds like you, or someone you know, we want to hear from you! Please send us the following: Name/s, Age, Email & Phone Tell us a little about your lifestyle and why you think you/they made the decision to live this way. Please give specific examples and please include photos of yourselves/them.”
I died laughing at this. I, back then, thought he was actually just joking and making fun of me. After all, his job is to make people laugh. Anyhow, it wasn’t until several months later, that I realized he was actually serious. ha ha   I don’t pay for TV service, so I don’t have access to watch cable. I seriously had no idea there was such a show called Extreme Cheapskates…. Until I saw it on Netflix. Yes, I actually pay for Netflix. It’s A LOT cheaper than cable. And… when you split the $7.99 per month cost, it’s not too expensive.
Anyhow, Jessica & I started watching the show Extreme Cheapskate. While watching the show Jessica says in all seriousness. “What’s wrong with what he’s doing? We do that!”  That’s when it hit me like a sack of potatoes. HOLY CRAP! I could possibly be a cheapskate & not just frugal.  Although I justify what I do by seeing it more as making ends meet.

So I am now coming out of the closet…. I am a closet cheapskate.  There are some things I do that not many people know about.  But I will say, that I am NOT an Extreme Cheapskate. I guess you could say I am a Part-time cheapskate. ha. ha.  Well at least in my opinion. ha.  Who knows.. some of y’all may just think I’m cheap and other will think I’m gross. ha ha

Here are some of the many things that I do or have done (mostly when people aren’t watching, because after all, I am a closet cheapskate)  …..

  1. Separating the 2 ply toilet paper so that we can make 2 rolls out of 1. I once got a package of toilet paper that was 3 ply… Imagine my excitement!!!! Weeeeeeee!
  2. When the toothpaste is all gone, I cut the tube and scrape what’s left.
  3. Re-wash my plastic disposable silverware/cups. (Relax people… I don’t let guest use the plastic-ware that I have re-used)
  4. Paper plates… if it just has crumbs on it, I wipe it with a paper towel & reuse it.
  5. Reuse certain paper towels
  6. I tear my paper towels in half so I have twice as much.
  7. This one may sound gross…. and for the record is only done when we have no visitors. Oh gosh! I can’t believe I’m about to admit this. I won’t flush the toilet unless there’s poop in it. (which in my case is very often. ha ha) Gross… but it saves on water. (I tell Jessica this is why she needs to drink lots of water, so her pee is clear and doesn’t stink. ha)
  8. I use M-Power for my electric, so I check it daily and make sure I am not using more electricity than necessary.  Last month my electric was only $53.78. Yay for being frugal. Although this means that my lights are usually off and we live in the dark often.
  9. I’ve been known to cut the stems off fruits/veggies since it’s sold by weight.
  10. I love drinking herbal tea… I reuse the tea bags several times. (Company get new bags.. CURSE you company! ha ha.. just kidding… or am I???)
  11. I find hand me downs for Jessica & I because it’s obviously better than spending $5 at a thrift store for a pair of pants. I won’t go into detail… but standing outside of the Goodwill, people will just give you what they were going to donate 😉
  12. When I go to movies with friends I will do everything in my power to convince them to go to an AMC theater. The reason is because they have a Stubs card program. (It’s kind of like a Fry’s card ) I have strangers use my card so I get the credit for their purchase of tickets or at the snack bar. With every $100 spent at AMC I get $10 free. So when strangers use my Stubs card, I am then able to get into the movies for FREE!!! YAY!  The card itself cost $12 per year. But I obviously won’t pay that… When it’s time to renew, they always have a promo, so I wait for that. Just last week I was able to renew my $12 membership for free because I had strangers use my card and quickly made $20 of FREE money on it. By renewing it, I got a free large popcorn and was able to use the Stubs credit to renew it. I got a $12 membership, The promo for renewing was a  $5.75 Large Popcorn bag , $10 entrance for only $2 out-of-pocket. Woot Woot!   This may be gross to some, but I think it’s frugal … I go into theaters where the movie is ending to get the bags of popcorn and cups of soda that people left so I don’t have to pay for my own.  Free refills are wonderful  (I do dump out any popcorn that the original owner had and I do wash the soda cups and get a new straw and lid. Sounds gross, but I haven’t gotten cooties from it yet and I’ve been doing it for over 15 years).
  13. I hide clearance items at Target and get them when they are 75% – 90% off.
  14. When I shower I plug the drain… Then I have Jessica take a bath in the water.
  15. This one hasn’t been done in a long time, but I have bought an outfit and then returned it.
  16. Using the dish washer  for storing dishes has saved a lot of money.
  17. I’ve been known to order water at a restaurant and ask for lemons & sugar packets. I make free lemonade.
  18. I don’t know if this is illegal or wrong, but when students have lunch detention, most of them will not drink their milk. I am supposed to throw it away, but come on.. why in the world am I going to throw away perfectly good milk that hasn’t been opend. So I put it in my mini fridge at school and take it home and freeze it. It’s been about 2 years since I have purchased milk
  19. I always get a few extra napkins & condiments when I go out to eat, this way I don’t have to purchase any often.
  20. When buying online, only purchase things with Free to minimal shipping…. and of course with a promo code.

There is SO much more but I would rather not mention it because I don’t want to incriminate or gross you out more than you probably already are.  ha ha.

Even though I am not getting married, I did buy a wedding veil for 11 cents (AFTER shipping) on eBay. Some say I am wasting money, but you never know who may need to buy a veil and I could sell it making a profit. Or a kid may be having a b-day party and a veil would be a great gift for dress-up clothing.   So there you have it. I am now out of the closet.

In my defense… I am not a complete cheapskate. I do spend money when I shouldn’t. I love to buy things for people, but have a difficult time spending money on myself.   But in all seriousness, I save where I can. Being a single parent, I have to do whatever I can to make sure my daughter is taken care of. If it means not flushing to save money on the water bill or living in a dark home to save on electricity so that I have more to provide for her then I am all for it.

My question to you… What do you do that would be considered abnormally frugal?