Can Frugal Be Taken Too Far?

I was perusing the Netflix selection on my computer one afternoon and I found a show called “Extreme Cheapskates.” I was curious as I would def. consider myself more of a cheapskate than a spendthrift. I thought I would get some cool tips on how to save money on food or energy costs or something like that. I was totally surprised when I actually watched to show. Take a look:

Thats right. That guy is actually “shopping” for his wife in a dumpster. Now I realize we all must learn to stretch a buck these days but this I consider a little insane. Can you imagine being the wife of this guy? Can you imagine getting trash roses on your anniversary? Gross. I am all for getting flowers on sale or even getting them from a friend’s garden if they were okay with that but dumpster diving? I think I would have to draw the line.

If you watch this particular show, then you know that this guy goes further by by washing paper towels several times and drying them out in the kitchen and taking several packets of ketchup from restaurants so he doesn’t have to buy them. He also likes to buy bottles of water for his wife as special gifts. Other people in the show have even more extreme habits but some border on unsafe or cruel. For instance, one mother feeds her kids expired foods in order to save cash. Another man makes his family live without furniture and in a dingy house in need of repairs in order to save thousands. The things is the family has no idea of the stockpile of cash he has saved from making them live like this.

Shows like these make me feel a little uncomfortable. Although I think its great that people are saving money, its kind of disheartening to see people go to such crazy lengths to save money even if it means potentially hurting their families. I don’t want to judge but its kind of hard not to when these people willingly put their lives out there on a television show for all the world to see.

I will always be frugal. In fact, my boyfriend lately remarked that he sees me being a little too cheap lately. For instance, even going to the regular store for clothes is getting too much for me. This weekend, we went to Goodwill and I got 3 pairs of pants for under $10. Oh yes, major thrift stop score! Despite this, I can’t imagine making my kids eat expired cheese or calling a bottle of water an extravagant gift for my partner. I feel it would not be too long before I would soon be without a partner.

Being frugal is great but is there line that needs to be drawn somewhere? Is it fair to put your family through it as well even if they don’t have a choice? There are some definite advantages for being frugal but where does it all end? People usually save their money in order to reach a bigger goal but for these people, it seems like a game. I have to say that I was fascinated by the show, but it wasn’t long before I switched to something else. Even I have my limits. :)


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