Meet the ‘Extreme Cheapskate,’ A Woman Who Lives in NYC With A $200 Budget

New York City is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in, but a memorable subject on TLC’s Extreme Cheapskates, Kate HashimotoWhen she revealed that she lives on a $200 per-month budget,, stunned viewers. While it may seem gross, she swears by her methods which include dumpster diving to find food and furniture as she does not bother to buy toilet paper.

Accountant Dumpster Dives For Furniture

Kate Hashimoto, an accountant featured on the show in 2012. But clips from her episode Recently, they have been viral. “I have lived in New York for three years, although it’s the most expensive city to live in,”Hashimoto stated. “I have found ways to get around it. If I have to spend money, I try and avoid it, I will try and pay as little as possible.”

Hashimoto said that furniture has never been paid for. Instead, Hashimoto searches dumpsters and sidewalks to find furniture to decorate her apartment. “I furnished my place by picking up discarded furniture on the street before the trash picks it up. I have saved a couple of thousand dollars on furniture,”She elaborated. 

She can’t find everything she needs on the streets, though. Hashimoto doesn’t sleep on a mattress; instead of paying “hundreds of dollars for a real bed,”A stack of yoga mats she found at the curb is her bed. Similarly, her dining table isn’t a table at all, but a stack of old magazines. The accountant also doesn’t have a couch, but a small bed frame covered by a thin padded sheet. 

Furniture isn’t the only thing she saves money on. Hashimoto said she hasn’t purchased new clothes in over eight years, hasn’t bought new underwear since 1998, and refuses to pay for toiletries. 

How Hashimoto saves money on toiletries and laundries

​​“I don’t believe in paying for toiletries,”Hashimoto stated. “I’m subscribed to many different mailing lists and I also keep my eyes on freebie sites.”She has amassed tons of free items through these sites, including toothpaste, deodorant, razors, and so on. “I’m a big fan of free samples,”She continued. “Maybe I’m an extreme sampler.”

Hashimoto refuses to pay for her laundry. Instead, she washes her clothes in the tub with her while she bathes. She doesn’t dry them, but wrings the wet clothing out by hand. Hashimoto estimates that she can save $6 per month by washing her clothes in the bathtub. 

Hashimoto goes through the trash for food

The accountant also tries to cut food costs. “After graduating from college, I found I was spending around $20 to $25 on food each week. That ends up being like $100 a month,”She elaborated. “I was like, ‘How can I spend that much money on food?’”

Instead, Hashimoto disguises herself “as a bum”Outside of grocery stores and restaurants, it goes through garbage bags. “These stores often throw away a lot of high-quality foods, including organic foods and really nice prepared food,”She clarified, saying that she takes only pictures “sanitary” food, i.e. food that’s in sealed packages. 

Hashimoto’s cost-cutting measures means she spends just $200 on living expenses each month. For comparison, the typical New Yorker spends $1,341 each month — without factoring in rent. Maybe there’s something we can learn from her.

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