Extreme Cheapskates TV Poster Image

Extreme Cheapskates

Pokes fun at folks who take cost-cutting to a new level.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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.

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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.

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.

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.

Families can talk 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?

TV details

Premiere date:October 16, 2012
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:Streaming

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Parent Written byhellotoronto April 2, 2013


Eating from a dumpster? Doing your laundry in the shower with you? Trying to further barter a clearance balloon priced at $1.00? This goes way beyond being cheap or frugal. Most of these people are employed but refuse to pay. There are other ways of getting discounts that aren't nearly as dismaying as this. They could coupon or they could barter. I saw one episode when a guy wanted to buy a cake. He wouldn't pay full price and wouldn't take no for an answer. He asked if the bakery could use "leftover ingredients" to make his cake. He asked if he could supply his own ingredients. He asked for a large discount if the bakery didn't put icing on the cake. Do these people realize that business owners are in the business of making money? There is huge cost with running a business. Staff, rent or mortgage payments, insurance and taxes being a few of them. So no Mr. Cheapskate, you can't have that item for less than it will cost me. With every dollar my family earns, some is spent and some is saved. That's how the economy works. You go into a store and buy something. The owner profits and pays his staff. The owner and the staff then go out into the community and spend the money from your sale on items they need at other businesses. Then the owners and staff at those other businesses go out and spend in the community. If keeps people employed and it keeps businesses open. I have zero respect for these people that think just because they have no problem harrassing businesses to try and get an item below cost or for free, or are willing to dive into dumpsters to feed expired food to not only themselves but to family and friends. As for all the money you are saving what are you going to do with it? You can't take it with you. You are just drains on the economy.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Adult Written byabbacus November 23, 2013

Stupid show.

Don't bother.
Kid, 10 years old October 17, 2012

"Extreme" is right

The methods the "cheapskates" use in this show are plain ridiculous. One man went to a restaurant and asked people if they were finished with their food... disgusting!! The same guy also spent only a few bucks on his wife for their anniversary. He even looked in a dumpster to see if there was anything to give his wife! On the bright side, he and his wife rescue animals, but I still wouldn't call him a role model or anything. At least this show is better than Honey Boo Boo.