On this edition of THE INTERVUE, have you ever wondered of the thrifty life? Well, the people at TLC has a new show that explore the life called So Freakin’ Cheap that every on Mondays at 10pm EST. I recently sat down with the Clayton Family, Angela and Tony. Tony and Angela Clayton are at odds over Tony’s extreme cheapskate ways. A stay-at-home dad, Tony prides himself on spending next to nothing for cleaning products and household utilities, using such innovative techniques as making his own cleaning solution out of urine, making a DIY bidet to save on toilet paper and running an extension cord to the neighbor’s house to save on electricity bills. While 17-year-old daughter Cierra is stuck in the middle and too embarrassed by her father’s frugal ways to invite her friends over to their home, Angela works hard as the sole breadwinner and would like to spend money on nice and even necessary things, like a new car. But, having put his wife and daughter on a coin allowance after their spending got out of control by his standards, the cost of such a huge expense for Tony creates friction in their relationship and household.
Let’s start with Tony, how your family was selected to appear on the show So Freaking Cheap?
This opportunity came to Angela & I by submitting our information to a production company. Later on, we were contacted to be a part of So Freakin Cheap
Angela, what was your initial reaction?
At first, when I received the call, I didn’t recognize the number that showed up on the Caller ID, so I wasn’t gonna answer. Then my husband asked, “Are you gonna answer the phone because it could be an important call?” After the fourth ring I picked up & surprisingly enough it was the production company giving us the invitation to be a part of So Freakin Cheap. I was so excited & nervous at the same time that I actually dropped the phone.
Angela, how was Tony like when you first met him?
When I first met Tony in person, he was dressed very neat, smelling good, looking good, & sounded very intelligent which are all good character traits that every single woman is clearly drawn to at first sight. Tony asked me if I would like to have a breakfast date at a nearby restaurant & I of course accepted. Tony ordered us, or should I say me, a hash browns, two pancakes, two eggs scrambled light. I asked Tony if he was gonna order something for himself, & he said “No, I’m not really hungry,” but then he started to eat off my plate. I was thinking to myself that maybe he didn’t have enough money for the both of us to eat at the time. However, I knew that wasn’t the case, because I then saw him pay the $3.68 tab with a $50 bill. But I really never gave it much thought after that.
Tony, when did you start with these saving methods?
I have always been a very careful spender of my money. I was taught at an early age by my mother to have the discipline to spend some now and save some for later. I remember when I was 11-years-old, some friends & I were walking to the neighborhood corner store, Mr. Blackmon’s Corner Mart, & one of my friends asked me to split a dollar with him because he didn’t have money to buy anything. I told him my momma said “I can only spend thirty cents out of this dollar & that I have to bring her change back… which obviously was a lie. I just wanted to save money to spend the next day. Back then you got an allowance once a week & you had to make it last.
Angela, how does this affect his daughter Cierra? Does she support her dad?
Simply put, Cierra does not agree with Tony’s cheap ways of doing ninety percent of things on a daily basis. But, she understands he is who he is & it would be a miracle if & when he changes his frugal ways.
Tony, explain some of the saving methods you do, such as the DIY ones?
I save money by knowing how to conveniently multi-task. I save $30 a month on my water bill by not using the handle to flush the toilet five to six times a day. Instead, the dishes are done in a bucket of water for washing & rinsing. That’s the same water that we use to pour directly into the toilet after use. It goes right down the toilet with no problem. Because every time you flush, the water drains from the tank, then it has to refill with water which is connected to the water bill, thus making for a larger water bill monthly. However, when we do have to flush by using the handle periodically, I came up with the method of putting a brick inside the back of the toilet tank to keep the water pressure low & not allowing it to fill all the way up to the top because the longer it takes for the tank to fill, that’s more water being used which increases your bill!
Tony, why do you think it is important to be thrifty?
With today’s economy being where/what it is, I have to make sure that we will have the important things that we need on a day to day basis such as food, clothing, heat, electricity, a roof over our heads without being hungry, or homeless, because of Angela’s & Cierra’s overly obsessive senseless spending habits. I am just a husband & father who is watching out for the welfare of my family.
Angela, do you think he will change his thrifty ways as soon as he gets a job and is not at home?
Well, I don’t think Tony will ever change his thrifty ways because it’s just a part of his DNA! Tony wants to make sure that we as a family have the supply to meet the demand. I get it, I just want a little compromise & him to have more willingness to enjoy the fruits of our labor. We work to make money to afford to pay for the necessities of life, but, also enjoy splurging now & again. Tony is a work in progress..so we’ll just have to see, only time will tell, right? Stay tuned!
Check out the Claytons on So Freakin’ Cheap, Monday nights at 10:oopm EST on TLC!