While the folks featured on TLC’s Extreme Cheapskates will leave you with your jaw touching the ground — there’s no denying that these real-life characters are energy-efficient. They’re ridiculous — but they really do maximize their energy efficiency.

Of course, they’re penny-pinching just to avoid a bill and they’re especially odd — but there are some, uh, creative ways they’ve come up with the conserve energy and water (which, at the end of the day, is a cost).

Sweet tips from professional cheapskate Jeff Yeager

Savings expert and author of “How to Retire the Cheapskate Way” was featured on the show and actually offered some interesting tips that would lead to energy efficiency. Jeff Yeager managed to retire early because of his frugal ways.

The water heater insulation blanket, made of fiberglass, can reduce energy loss from an older water heater by 25 to 45 per cent. Available at many home improvement stores, this little investment can result in energy savings.
Solar landscape lights help make the exterior of your building or house aesthetically pleasing, inviting and can provide a little extra security. By putting them in a position that will attract the sun’s rays, they’ll work just as you need them to. You also avoid the hassle of installing hard wires!
He reuses all kinds of things for new creative purposes — from pantyhose to aluminum foil.

He also has a Find Winter Savings Quiz you may want to check out.

They take advantage of off-peak times. This is when folks will opt to run appliances like the washing machine, dishwashers and vacuums. Cheapskates are apparently very conscious of the electricity they consume and will try to use it only when absolutely necessary.

For Water conservation, these folks do everything from sharing a shower to tallying how often they flush the toilet.

The lady who put a timer on her freezer — this way it would run for half a day and shut off for the other half. She also kept it full by adding buckets of water. Most energy retailers offer off-peak times, and food can last up to 72 hours in a freezer if its opened at a minimal — so we see what she was trying to do here. But the smarter thing to do here would to invest in an ENERGY STAR freezer that would result in savings.

On an online message forum, someone inspired by the show, suggested doing the timer thing for water heaters based on your own schedule. This might actually be something that would work.

It’s important to note that this shows purpose is not to inspire this type of lifestyle — in fact, the way its edited and casted, it’s definitely meant to discourage it. Let’s be clear: we think dumpster diving, sharing a casket, throwing birthday parties for 16-year-olds at strip clubs, raiding the leftovers in your work fridge, etc. is ridiculous and kind of gross.

Of course, if you’re a glass half-full type of person — it’s possible to take away some positivity (which we always encourage). It’s like when you watch My Strange Addiction and other bad television that let’s you leave the tube feeling normal.

You don’t have to be a cheapskate to love rebates and incentives though!


Image credit: TLC