By Melissa Camacho,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Pokes fun at folks who take cost-cutting to a new level.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show feels like it's making fun of people who use unorthodox and over-the-top methods to save money. A few of the habits aren't technically legal.
Positive Role Models
Some of the people featured here are willing to barter work and services in exchange for things, but others are willing to take risks by buying expired foods and/or diving through dumpsters in order to save a few bucks.
Products & Purchases
Food labels and other logos are blurred, but signs for local restaurants and other establishments are visible. Some of cast have already been featured on shows like Extreme Couponing.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Wine and beer drinking is visible over meals.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Extreme Cheapskates pokes gentle fun at folks who use unusual or extreme methods to save money on products and services. The show's content is pretty mild, but it sends some mixed messages about the difference between saving money and engaging in some unhealthy (and a few unethical) tactics to save a buck. Product logos aren't featured, but the names of local businesses can sometimes be seen. Drinking (wine, beer) is visible during meals and social gatherings.
Where to Watch
Based on 4 parent reviews
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What's the Story?
EXTREME CHEAPSKATES is a reality series that features people from around the country who have found non-traditional or extreme ways to not spend money. From asking strangers for their half-eaten food when eating in restaurants to picking up rice thrown at weddings to cook for dinner and going around town shaking pay phones for coins, the people featured on the series are proud of their cost-saving efforts, even if it means embarrassing themselves and others in the process. Some folks have even perfected the art of bartering and have found ways to exchange goods and services for things like wedding venues and haircuts. Their behavior may seem a little odd or over-the-top, but for these folks, it's all about pinching pennies any way they can.
Is It Any Good?
Most of these folks characterize their efforts as "saving money," but what they are really doing is finding ways not to pay for things with their own cash in order to afford hobbies or save for retirement. Others are fearful of going into debt. Their reasons are understandable, but the fact that they often rely on other people's donations, garbage, and sometimes resort to pushing the envelope of what is legal to maintain their personal level of frugality is a little problematic.
Viewers may find a few creative ideas here, especially when it comes to finding different ways to barter a few hours of work or unique services in exchange for things that they want. But many will also be disturbed by the folks who would rather give loved ones dead flowers from a dumpster and feed guests expired food rather than spend any extra money on them. These types of behaviors seem more selfish and/or compulsive than penny-wise, and send confusing messages about what saving and smart money management is all about.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the difference between being frugal and being "cheap." Why is being cheap often characterized as a bad thing? What are some healthy and/or creative ways to cut costs? Does your family have any money-saving habits that seem to work?
What is the purpose behind producing reality shows featuring people engaged in extreme and/or excessive behaviors? To teach audiences something? To get viewers to react to different people and their habits? Or is it just voyeuristic entertainment?
- Premiere date: October 16, 2012
- Network: TLC
- Genre: Reality TV
- TV rating: TV-PG
- Last updated: February 18, 2023
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