At work today, I got caught dumpster diving.  Yes, I was diving through the nice, clean, unstained, blue paper recycling bin, looking for old scripts so I could log my story.  See, once I go out and shoot a story, I have to write down every single thing every single person I interviewed said.  That’s “logging.”  Hint to you… if I interview you, the less you say the happier I am!  So after being caught dumpster diving from my chief photographer, Jeff… Jeff emailed me this article from the New York Post.  Wow!!!  I’ve got nothing on Kate Hashimoto. 

dumpster diving

Caught dumpster diving at work

She loves ‘Ew!’ York

Trash diver reveals tricks of living almost free

  • Last Updated: 4:14 AM, October 16, 2012
  • Posted: 2:37 AM, October 16, 2012

Kate Hashimoto was picking up a few groceries at the Upper West Side Food Emporium when she ran into a friend.

“Hey Kate, you like wraps? Here’s a chicken wrap,’’ her pal said. “But be careful, it’s kind of wet.”

They weren’t in the grocery aisle. They were in front of the store, digging through three overflowing trash bins.

Hashimoto Dumpster-dives for all her food, doesn’t use toilet paper or do laundry, and hasn’t bought toiletries in 10 years.

She doesn’t have to live this way — she’s an employed CPA.

“I’ve always been frugal, but it was when I was laid off in the dot-com crash that I became extreme,” Hashimoto explained.

GOODIES: Kate Hashimoto shows off her finds yesterday.

Astrid Stawiarz
GOODIES: Kate Hashimoto shows off her finds yesterday.

“No job is guaranteed, so I live as if I could be fired at any time.”

Manhattan, she said, is a gold mine for Dumpster divers.

“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.”

Hashimoto let The Post spend a day with her learning how to live way below your means.

She lives in Harlem, where she bought a studio in 2010 and paid it off in nine months, but treks down to the Upper West Side three times a week for good, free food.

Her other money-saving methods include using soap to wash herself after using the toilet, taking surveys online to earn gift cards, participating in medical trials (she got free birth control for 5 years and took part in a herpes vaccine trial for cash), testing products for free samples, cutting her own hair, washing her clothes while she showers, and running to work to avoid using a MetroCard.

“I was extremely angry about the latest round of subway fare hikes,” she said.

Hashimoto does have her limits. Her furniture is a collection of found freebies — but she won’t take an old mattress for fear of bedbugs, and sleeps instead on used yoga mats.

And she won’t stay in a relationship for free meals.

“I’ve been in a relationship where I stayed because I was getting freebies and gifts, but I got out of it,” she says. “It’s better to be single and Dumpster-diving than to be with someone you can’t stand.”

Hashimoto shares her secrets on tonight’s 10 p.m. premiere of TLC’s “Extreme Cheapskates.”

What Kate Spends Per Month:

On food: $15

On clothing: $0

On toiletries: $0.17 a month on toothpaste

On her $200,000

condo: $237

She puts into savings: $4,000

Into 401(k): $1,000

Goal: $250,000 in savings by next year or so


About Wendy D

I was born in San Francisco and ended up marrying a rancher in Reno, Nevada. I have a big city job anchoring the 5 o’clock news but come home to the country where my husband’s family has ranched for 5 generations.

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