Kay Hashimoto dumpster-dives for food, doesn't use toilet paper, uses her shower water for laundry - and participates in human medical trials.
A New York City woman who dumpster-dives for all her food, doesn’t use toilet paper or do laundry, in an effort to have $250,000 in savings by next year has shared her secrets of frugality.
Kay Hashimoto, a Certified Public Accountant, hasn’t bought toiletries in ten years, but owns her own home in Harlem, which she bought in 2010 and paid off in nine months.
Her money-saving methods, featured in the new series Extreme Cheapskates which premieres tonight, includes using soap to wash herself off after using the toilet, participating in medical trials, cutting her own hair, washing her clothes while showering, and running to work instead of taking the subway.
Ms Hashimoto told the New York Post: 'I’ve always been frugal, but it was when I was laid off in the dot-com crash that I became extreme.
'No job is guaranteed, so I live as if I could be fired at any time.'
She added that Manhattan is a melting pot for quality dumpster-diving, admitting that she visits the Upper West Side three times a week to look for free food.
'Consumers in wealthy areas expect their products to be perfect, so upscale stores throw out a lot of items that are still good.
'New York can be the most expensive place to live, but it can also be the least expensive if you know how to work the system.'
Ms Hashimoto also takes surveys online to earn gift cards, tests products for free samples, and takes part in medical trials, which enabled her to have free birth control for five years, and she earned cash by participating in a herpes vaccine trial.
In the first episode of Extreme Cheapskates, which airs on TLC on October 16, she displays how she might use a small block of soap and a plastic water bottle to clean up after using the bathroom.
She explains: 'If I took a dump then I also grab soap, wipe myself down with the soap, then I take the water and rinse off the soap.
'I don’t believe in spending money on something that you’re just going to throw away such as toilet paper or paper towels.'
She then hangs items up in the bathroom and lets them dry naturally. She claims that the hand-washing technique saves her a total of $6 a month.
'Whenever I have dirty clothes I try to wash them while I’m showering. Today I’m using a free sample of detergent I got.
'Once I’m done showering then I lather up the clothes. I think the last time I did laundry was maybe three years ago,' she says.
Per month she spends $15 on food, $0.17 on toothpaste, $237 on her Harlem condo, $1,000 on her 401(k) and $0 on clothing. She saves $4,000 per month.
And while her furniture is a collection of second hand treasures she found on the street, she says she won’t pick up an old mattress for fear of bedbugs, and sleeps instead on used yoga mats.
She added that she won’t stay in a relationship for its cost effectiveness though.
She explained: 'I’ve been in a relationship where I stayed because I was getting freebies and gifts, but I got out of it.
'It’s better to be single and Dumpster-diving than to be with someone you can’t stand.'