Daily Archives: November 27, 2013

Extreme Cheapskates? Better to live smart, green, and happily

I have been watching Extreme Cheapskates….Yes…I have. These people are over the top, annoyingly so in many cases. Asking neighbors for leftovers, using rags for toilet “paper”, mowing lawn at night, using one light bulb for entire house, eating roadkill…so many ewwwwws

These people are not poor. The show picked out “guests” who have homes, jobs, cars, etc. but who are really really “frugile”, to the point of grossness in many cases.
I would never recommend some of the practices displayed, such as not having guests because they might use extra electricity, or the pregnant lady dumpster diving. Saving money is one thing, being miserly is quite another. Often these people were selfish, their way or the highway in most cases. That is NOT living lithely. You don’t want to do things that mortify your family and loved ones. Living Lithely is about respect of yourself and others, and you can live “lighter” without living miserly or unhealthfully.

However, there are some lessons and ideas that can be gleaned from the show, such as recycling, reusing, and refurbishing. Some of the ideas are very “green”, and here are some of the ideas that WOULD work for the rest of us (while helping the planet)

Use the water from cooking pasta or boiling eggs, let cool and water plants with it
Use less shampoo, better for hair
Wash clothes in the delicate cycle, its shorter, does the job and saves water and power
Use candles at night, it actually can help getting to sleep as the light is more natural
Shop at thrift and vintage stores
Sell your old books on Amazon
Walk and bike more
Split dinners out (be sure and tip fairly) – with portions so big now, this is just better all around
Finding other uses for house hold items, such as clothes pins to hang pictures in a teens room
Give up cable, Roku rocks
Add more veggies or legumes to meat dishes, lentils are amazing for that
Save the cuts from veggies in a freezer bag for soup, this is for the body as well as the wallet

These are just a few. What one needs to remember about Living Lithely is that our time is very valuable, and if it takes longer to do something, if you are saving a few cents, it may just not be worth it. If getting take-out makes you happy, then get take out, but maybe get the lunch special or a couple of slices of pizza instead of a big pizza or more dinner than you can eat. Once a week, my husband and I get two big slices of pizza (that way we get the toppings we want,) and a giant salad. It costs about ten or eleven bucks. We are happy, it’s the right portion size, and that day I do more art!! Sometimes cooking at home doesn’t actually save money. Reheating Thai food saves time and money, and its just tastes so good.

My living room furniture, two lovely leather green sofas, are from the Salvation Army. They were new, only used for staging at open houses. That’s not being a cheapskate, that being smart. The cheapskates in the show often sat on lawn furniture.

Living Lithe means living smart, living well, not being wasteful, and enjoying life to its fullest. Find ways to save money, sure, that’s smart. But don’t do it at the expense of relationships, health, friends, children. Save is some areas of your life, but splurge a bit in others. A good perfume is worth it, but do you need the most expensive wine? Do you love good chocolate, but can wash your own car? Do you enjoy going out to the movies but can use the library? Are lattes what you really enjoy on a Sunday afternoon with friends,? Then have that latte.

Set your priorities, organize yourself and your life, and value your time. Treat yourself once in a while, and you will find you enjoy that treat even more.

Living Lithe is not about depriving yourself, its about taking pleasure in what you have, in the simple things, in lovely things, in being comfortable but not in “needing” things to be happy.

Take care

Triston