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Skinflint mum saves £20k by washing dishes in pool, using a water bottle to shower & has a deckchair instead of a sofa
WE'LL admit it – there's nothing we find more satisfying than cutting back our monthly bills by reusing water where we can and always having a hot water bottle on hand instead of whacking the heating up.
But for American mum-of-two Melanie O'Brien, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Dubbed "America's cheapest mom", Melanie and her husband Shawn take their money-saving to all new extremes – and even use a plastic bottle as a shower head to cut costs.
Appearing on TLC's Extreme Cheapskates, Shawn said: "In the summertime when the kids are playing outside in the pool, we can utilise that [water] afterwards to clean our dishes.
"We save money on the water bill, we save money on the electricity bill. Are we going to become millionaires off it? Not per se but it helps us allocate that money towards a better purpose."
And while most people would simply replace a broken saucepan if the handle fell off, Melanie and Shawn now use a wrench to hold on to so they didn't have to splash out on anything new.
Melanie explained: "If we don't have to buy anything new, then we don't and we'll make use of what we have. That's our lifestyle."
What's more, the couple couldn't bear the thought of splashing out over £20,000 sofas, armchairs and a TV for their living room.
Instead, the O'Briens spent just £35 on a deck chair and a bean bag for the entire room – which proves problematic when trying to attract a buyer for their property.
And when their shower head broke, Shawn covered the pipe with a plastic bottle so he didn't have to buy a new one.
Melanie added: "For the price of a soda bottle, he wrigged it up to the shower head and just poked holes in there and now we have a brand new one."
Admitting that it's an "eyesore" in her otherwise pristine bathroom, the mum said: "It works and I appreciate it."
Describing how some people see them as "extreme" or "over-the-top", Melanie said: "It all depends on the person's perspective."
But while Melanie and Shawn are happy with their lifestyle, their minimalistic aesthetic causes issues while trying to sell their home – as they shy away from paying £1,300 to replace their garden fence.
After being told they can't sell their home with stained carpets, Shawn tries to fix the issue by replacing the worst areas with samples for £15.
And to avoid having to spend any more than that, the cheeky couple ask a neighbour to borrow her living room furniture rather than buying their own for the open house.
"You're so close by and you've got such great furniture," Melanie said. "We'd just really love to use yours if you don't mind."
Amazingly, the neighbour allows Melanie and Shawn to borrow her sofa and coffee table for the day.
Once they've set up the room, Shawn then sticks the £1.50 white carpet samples over the cream floor – which unsurprisingly, was immediately noticed by prospective buyers.
One asked: "If those are the things that are showing, what are we not seeing?!"
For parenting stories, this mum shared her hilarious homeschooling plan for ‘home economics’ & parents are instantly on board.
And this teacher urged parents to ditch homeschooling timetables and lessons and make dens, play with Lego and bake cakes instead.
Plus we looked inside the huge mansion the Nelson family-of-18 live in with three floors, a piano, home gym and an enormous dining table.
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