TLC’s Extreme Cheapskates Inspiration to Help Us Save in 2012

We randomly stumbled upon the new television show on TLC called “Extreme Cheapskates.” While the show has its own set of characters and their means and methods that I would not consider, the series also opened our minds to tricks we can incorporate into our lives to help make a difference. What I am not going to do is go dumpster diving for some dead flowers for my wife on our anniversary, or consider using reusable cloth toilet paper in lieu of traditional double ply. There were some valid concepts that we took away from the show that are more meaningful.

The segment that struck us first was a couple that incorporated frugal living into all walks of their lives. They agreed early on in their marriage to live the same life they did when they were first married, meaning no cell phones, new furniture, etc. Several times per year, the couple goes on a week long fiscal fast. Their goal is to spend no money over the course of the week and use up what they already have on hand. My wife and I looked at each other and said maybe we should try it.

So starting today (Wednesday) and every Wednesday in 2012, we strive to spend no money. The only day we can think of in 2012 that specifically might be a problem with this plan is our wedding anniversary, the 4th of July, which happens to fall on a Wednesday in 2012. We may make exceptions to the Wednesday rule when on vacations, but we will see how we fare until then.

Ideally, Fiscal Wednesday will involve filling up for gas or picking up a carton of milk on Tuesday to make sure we do not spend money actually on Wednesdays. While I do not anticipate some extreme difference in our budget, I think the exercise will get us in a mindset of spending responsibly.

If you ask us out to dinner on a Wednesday, be prepared to pay for us! Thanks in advance!

Over the course of the next year, we also plan to incorporate week long fiscal fasts into our lives like the couple in “Extreme Cheapskates”. Our first scheduled week is January 22-29, 2012. We plan on not eating out, grocery shopping, or having any discretionary spending over the course of the week. We will still need to drive to and from work, but plan on filling the cars with gas the week prior. Luckily we live fairly close to our jobs, so we only fill up about every other week currently. Bills will also be paid as normal, as will babysitting expenses. The discretionary spending is what we plan to eliminate over our Fiscal Fasts, as well as use up stuff we already spent money on previously. The goal is to really see the impacts to our budget when we spend no money.

At first thought, it sounds simple enough. When you really think about it though, that means no eating out for lunch. No grabbing a $0.35 can of Coke from the vending machine. And properly planning our groceries ahead of time so we do not run out of milk and baby food.

All I know is if we do stick to the plan on our anniversary, InACents readers better remind me that my wife will not appreciate the dead roses I found behind the dumpster (but I heard she really likes wild flowers from the neighbors garden)!

© 2012, All rights reserved.

One thought on “TLC’s Extreme Cheapskates Inspiration to Help Us Save in 2012

  1. Mental Note: Visit Justin on a Thursday.
    I have to say I’m somewhat skeptical of simply moving expenditures to before or after the designated “spend free” period, but I do look forward to hearing what kind of influence the practice has on you. After all, I’ve been known to be (really, really) wrong before. Good luck!

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