Victoria Hunt, 'Extreme Cheapskates' Star,
Urinates In Bottle
And Eats From Dumpster To Save Money
Victoria Hunt urinates in a bottle and empties it in her garden
to save money on her water bill.
You think you know cheap? Meet Victoria Hunt, 51, of Columbus,
Ohio. She is so cheap that she urinates in a bottle and
then empties it in her garden, a move she estimates
shaves a couple dollars off her monthly water bill.
"I am also an avid gardner and I read that urine is a component
[for a compost]," said Hunt, who is featured in the upcoming
TLC series "Extreme Cheapskates."
But Hunt isn't cheap because she's poor. In fact, Hunt is self-made
millionaire who owns several houses and has stock and
other investments. She retired from her career as an accountant
at age 48, and now her primary income comes from her rental properties.
Still, she lives on just $12,000 per year, including bills, groceries
and even health insurance.
It wasn't always this way; 25 years ago Hunt was a single mother
living in a trailer park and receiving government assistance.
"I wanted to be sure I would never be poor again," she recalled
about starting her life as a cheapskate around the age of 28.
"Some people like pedicures, I enjoy ways to be frugal and save money."
Hunt's cheapness doesn't stop at her bottle toilet routine,
and to stay on budget, she meticulously tracks every penny spent
in a giant spreadsheet. (For the record, the bottle stays at home,
she flushes for number two and when out in public:
"I am not concerned with other peoples' water bill!")
Her other cheap tricks include putting her freezer on a timer
so it only runs 12 hours a day and taking showers at her gym
to save electricity and water. She also dumpster dives
and forages for food, sometimes even in her front yard.
"My house had landscaping [when I bought it],
and I explored if my yard was edible," Hunt told The Huffington Post.
"Most flowers are edible, it turns out. Everything on your lawn
that is a weed, like clover and purslane, are all edible."
In fact, she now picks her own dandelion roots for herbal tea,
instead of paying $8 per box.
While living a life of extreme thrift has allowed Hunt
to save money and retire before 50, it hasn't always been easy.
"During my career, I was a cheapskate. My peers were buying
bigger houses and there I was with 16-year-old Corolla with
broken windows," she said. "A lot of people made fun of me
and ... I felt like a black sheep."
But her unorthodox lifestyle hasn't stopped her from finding love.
Her boyfriend Steve Barker was "hit really hard" in the recession,
she said. In the year-and-a-half they have been dating,
they have joined forces to create a life based on modern-day hunting
and gathering. They often feast on the fresh -- and free -- venison
he has killed while hunting. Meanwhile, Hunt spends her days
gathering, both in dumpsters and in the forest.
"It's exciting. When we find nickels and dimes that's a little joy,
" Hunt said of her dumpster finds, which often include boxes of
fresh pastries and cakes. "It's really my hobby,
so when I find something, the joy is perfect."
"Extreme Cheapskates" premiers on TLC on Oct. 16.