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Extreme Cheapskates: How to Lower Your Living Expenses

Extreme Cheapskates TLCWe love when television shows feature people who know how to save, even when they take it to extreme levels. There are always lessons to be learned from others who have figured out how to reduce credit card debt and save money. Greg, profiled on TLC’s Extreme Cheapskates, was lucky enough to find a free place to live, in exchange for doing a few chores around the house.

Greg certainly takes his cheapskate ways to a level that’s almost detrimental. For example, we don’t ever recommend using a squeegee at the gas station to wash your entire car – the chemicals in windshield wiper fluid aren’t designed to go on paint and could actually damage your car.

However, his ability to land free rent is nothing to be scoffed at – it almost makes me want to take a Zumba class! He’s definitely doing a few things right to score a living arrangement like that. Props to him for:

  • Using a push mower to mow the lawn. I’m a huge proponent of these and have had one for three years. They’re much cheaper than electric or gas powered mowers, and require zero upkeep or maintenance. You don’t have to buy gas or use electricity to power it, plus you get a great arm workout. I wouldn’t recommend it for a huge plot of land, but for smaller yards, it’s cost-efficient and excellent exercise.
  • Having roommates. It’s not clear if he’s charging rent to them, or just splitting utilities, but either way, he’s saving money. I’ll bet they’ve also learned a thing or two from him about saving money.
  • Using the furniture that was provided. Bedroom sets and living room sets are not cheap, and he’s saved himself a few thousand bucks by using the furniture that was left behind when the previous owner passed away.

That being said, most of us aren’t going to get a random offer of free rent in exchange for chores. Here are a few ways to keep your cost of living down:

  • Downsize your living space. Do you really need all of the space that you have? Moving to a smaller place gets you more bang for your buck.
  • Downsize your belongings. Anything you don’t need can be sold, or you can donate and write off on your taxes.
  • If you live in a trendy city, try moving to a less desirable neighborhood. This doesn’t mean you have to live in the slums, but there are always areas of the city that are cheaper than others.
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