Superscrimpers: Waste Not Want Not

She made the hat out of some old forks and a discarded crisp packet

By Gina

What with the impending economic meltdown and stuff, it’s hardly surprising that SuperScrimpers, the money-saving tips show from Channel 4, has been recommissioned. Soon everyone will be so skint they’ll have to construct shoes from empty yoghurt pots and use rusty old hubcaps as plates whether they like it or not.

Picking up on what seems to be the trend for a retro ‘make do and mend’ aesthetic, SuperScrimpers lurches between decent, sensible financial advice and the altogether weirder world of ‘top tips’ normally purveyed by gauche women’s magazines and parodied relentlessly by Viz.

The problem with a lot of these tips is that they either assume a ready supply of things that normal people just don’t have, or worse, they have their sense of monetary worth completely askew. Disappointingly, SuperScrimpers kicks off with examples of both of these.

First, there’s Claire, who offers a tip for unblocking a sink without splashing out on a chemical cleaner – you just ‘pinch the dog’s tennis ball’, she says. Note that this requires a dog and/or a supply of tennis balls, both of which are more expensive to own than a bottle of sink unblocker. It isn’t worth going into the tip itself, but let’s just say it is unlikely to put Dyno-Rod out of business any time soon.

After that comes Leo, a smug bloke in a green t-shirt who offers an ingenious solution to the frankly uncommon problem of what to do if you like your gin with fresh lime every so often, but don’t want to keep throwing bits of lime away. Leo’s tip for this is to – gasp! – put the unused lime in the freezer. Presumably he was actually paid money for this glaringly obvious idea. But surely, if you’re so hard up you worry about wasting lime slices, you could always cut back on the gin habit. Just a thought.

Interspersed with all of this madness is the plight of The Earles, a family who can’t seem to do a week’s shop without throwing half of it away, usually because the carrots are slightly wilted, or possibly because they fancy some TV exposure on a programme about how to save money.

The simple solution to this would be to shop more frequently and buy less stuff, or take a leaf out of Smug Leo’s book and freeze the lot. But that wouldn’t make very good telly, so instead they’re challenged to spend just £50 on a weekly shop.

A survivor of rationing is wheeled in to remind them that the austerity era was really about clever recycling of leftovers rather than dubious uses for powdered egg. She helps Mrs Earles concoct something called ‘Scrimpers Sausage Surprise’ – which sounds filthy, frankly, but goes down a treat.

Gem, (who later says that her mother is ‘surgically attached to charity shops’ – sounds awkward) has a segment which shows girls how to do wacky nails on a budget. This uses about four different colours of Barry M and, unusually, a felt tip eyeliner. It’s got to be (slightly) cheaper than going to a salon, but ultimately it’s still eyeliner – it’s designed to come off again. If felt tips are kosher, perhaps going goth and simply doing your nails with a permanent black marker is a better option.

But it’s not all total rubbish – the formidable Mrs Moneypenny has some tips that are actually helpful, such as advice on extended warranty for appliances and a breakdown of car insurance types. Useful but pretty boring, huh? So let’s cut to the money shot: a return to the Earles to see whether they’ve changed their ways.

They proudly open up their kitchen bin for the camera. ‘This would normally be full’o food!’, Mrs Earles beams triumphantly. There are no leftovers, but astonishingly, it contains a load of stuff which could normally be recycled! Yep, there’s a bog roll inside, and a cereal packet! No mention of this glaring hypocrisy is made.

Perhaps their recycling bin has been a victim of one of the other tips and is currently being used as a coffee table, or something.


Superscrimpers is on Channel 4, Mondays, 8pm

You can follow Gina on Twitter, where she goes by the name of @brokenbiros


About Hilary Wardle
Hilary is a freelance journalist and copywriter who writes for a wide range of websites, magazines and newspapers, including Buzzfeed, MSN, The Poke, Chortle, the Guardian and the Independent. She specialises in arts and entertainment, comedy, video games and viral content. Contact her at

One Response to Superscrimpers: Waste Not Want Not

  1. Katie Earles says:

    Just a tip if you ever want to actually make articles that people will want to read and that aren’t complete trash – start actually critiquing the show not the people. Everything that’s shown on TV is fake and made up for peoples entertainment, the people aren’t fake though, they are real. So before you mock peoples accent or what they like to eat just remember they are REAL unlike the show. It really does just make you look bitter and jealous:)

    Yours sincerely
    The girl desperate for TV exposure
    Katie Earles

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