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 Hashimoto, shocked viewers when she revealed she survives on a $200-a-month budget. The way she did so might seem undeniably gross to some, but she swears by her practices, which include dumpster diving for food and furniture as well as not bothering to buy toilet paper.
Accountant Dumpster Dives For Furniture
Kate Hashimoto, an accountant, starred on the show in 2012, but clips from her episode have gone viral recently. “I have lived in New York for three years, although it’s the most expensive city to live in,” Hashimoto said. “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 revealed that she has never paid for furniture. Instead, she searches sidewalks and dumpster dives to find things to decorate her apartment with. “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 explained.
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,” she sleeps on a stack of old yoga mats she found on the sidewalk. 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 Laundry And Toiletries
“I don’t believe in paying for toiletries,” Hashimoto said. “I’m subscribed to many different mailing lists and I also keep my eyes on freebie sites.” Through those sites, she has stockpiled tons of free items, like toothpaste, deodorant, and razors. “I’m a big fan of free samples,” she continued. “Maybe I’m an extreme sampler.”
Hashimoto also refuses to pay to do her laundry. Instead, she washes her clothes in the bathtub with her as she bathes. She doesn’t dry them, but wrings the wet clothing out by hand. By washing her clothes in the shower, Hashimoto estimates she saves about $6 a month.
Hashimoto Goes Through Trash For Food
The accountant does her best to save on food costs as well. “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 explained. “I was like, ‘How can I spend that much money on food?’”
Instead, Hashimoto disguises herself “as a bum” and goes through trash bags outside of restaurants and grocery stores. “These stores often throw away a lot of high-quality foods, including organic foods and really nice prepared food,” she said, clarifying that she only takes “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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