Book Review And Giveaway: “Secrets Of A Stingy Scoundrel”

Author: Phil Villarreal was a syndicated film critic (one of the best jobs on earth) and is a general reporter for the Arizona Daily Star.  Phil contributes to OK! Magazine and blogs at

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.  244 pages in soft cover.  $12.95.

Summary: “Secrets of A Stingy Scoundrel” is a hilarious book that has been reviewed by many personal finance sites already.  Hence, I'll take a slightly different approach.

First of all, Phil is one proud cheapo who is potentially helping millions of Americans (if they buy his book) save thousands of dollars a year.  Second of all, the breadth of stinginess is impressive, with nine chapters: Personal, Eating, Relationships, Household, Finance, Leisure & Entertainment, At The Workplace, Corporate Cataclysm, and Gross, Mean and Just Plain Wrong.

My favorite chapters are Relationships and Gross, Mean, and Just Plain Wrong.  Interestingly, the Relationship portion only has 3 tips vs. 30 tips in Gross.  Why is this Phil?  I think the main reason for the brevity is because Phil doesn't want to totally ostracize the female reader and get the feminist movement on him!  Phil is also married, and I can see his wife shaking her head in disapproval with every tip he writes.

Come on Phil, you and I know there are at least 10 ways to really save money in a relationship!  You know, like forgetting your credit card, making a b-line to the restroom due to food poisoning, and asking the parents to pay for the wedding.  But wait, I think you touched on some of those already!  Can I be your guest contributor in your next book?  The titles of the three relationship tips are: Yay WNBA, The Dutch Are A Wise And Just People, Art Of The Well-Timed Fight/Breakup.

The Gross and Mean chapter is simply vicious. We're talking “stealing” the bartenders tips, pretending you're a clairvoyant on Craigslist, and never getting married (which should be in the relationships chapter!).  The chapter is full of ethical dilemmas which can be argued either way.  Maybe that's the secret of saving a ton of money?  If you can consciously never tip the pizza man or your waiter, you'll save 15-20% of your annual eating out expense.  In my case, that's around $6,000 X 17% = $1,020 a year in savings!


Secrets Of A Stingy Scoundrel is a finance and humor book wrapped up into one.  I'm pretty sure we've done many of the things in his book already.  I remember when I was a kid, I'd go to 7-11 and fill my entire Big Gulp Slurpee cup with candy and then add in the slush!  I was poor, so don't hate.  The book is a fantastic gift to friends, offering 100 “practical” ways to save money.  If I got this gift for my birthday or Christmas, I'd be pumped!

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To Buy Click: Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel: 100 Dirty Little Money-Grubbing Secrets


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24 thoughts on “Book Review And Giveaway: “Secrets Of A Stingy Scoundrel””

  1. I’ve flipped through that book in the store – it’s pretty hilarious. Some tips are too over the top for my taste, but there are some good ones in there. And plenty of things to make you chuckle. :)

  2. @thriftygal
    You’re right! BBB expects all customers to use the 20% off coupon, so they’ve just built it in their business model and jacked up prices. That said, there are some reasonable things they still sell that coupons could be worth it. The $299 Roomba I bought wasn’t one of them!

    You’re right mate. Sorry for tricking you. I don’t think the publishers will send to the UK. But not to worry though, I hear bonuses are coming in now at all the major investment banks, and since you’re gov’t is implementing a 50% bonus tax on anything over 40K, the people of england must be having a jolly ol time!

    Actually, do you know if the 50% bonus is tax is on top of a normal tax they are paying? Or, did the gov’t just raise the tax from the normal 30% tax they would have paid to 50%, so the marginal tax is simply 20% X whatever?

    @Phil Villarreal
    Sounds good man. Next time, write the relationship chapter book in secret from the wife, and go nuts!

  3. Oops, I didn’t think I’d qualify, given the post distance!

    My ethically dubious tip is avoid paying for a Financial Times subscription by instead deleting cookies on your machine, which means you can keep reading for free without paying the megabucks monthly bill! (Normally you can only read 2 free articles a month).

    Okay, you have to be nerdy enough to want to read the Financial Times first… ;)

  4. Phil Villarreal

    Really there should be an entire book written about how to save money on relationships. Of course, so much of the economy is driven by unneeded boyfriend-girlfriend spending that it would probably collapse if that book were written and widely read. Which means things would pretty much be the way they are right now.
    .-= Phil Villarreal´s last blog ..In The Land Of Spooning =-.

  5. @admin: No I really am a scoundrel because if you give your expired coupons to the checkout guy at my bulk store, he won’t accept it! And bed bath and beyond is notorious for their 20% off coupons. I don’t even collect them anymore. My guess is that they mark up everthing by 20%.

    @Little House: Another reason besides the year round sun to move to the Golden State! :)

    @David: I remember reading somewhere that for lunch some cheapo takes his kids to the stores where they give out samples on weekends!
    .-= thriftygal´s last blog ..How to extend the life of your clothes =-.

  6. @Little House
    Wait, really, coupons don’t expire?? Why does my Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupon have expiration dates? Is what they are doing illegal?

    @david @ MBA briefs
    HAHAHA, nice. Another benefit of having kids. Actually, NOW I know why the Airport Security frisks kids… cuz of parents like you!

    I agree. Good thing Jeff is busy doing his own thing and hasn’t read this post yet. Jeff, no tip fo u! j/k.

  7. david @ MBA briefs

    Right, who would lie about working for Disney On Ice? Apparently my buddy’s friends.

    Another ethically challenged money saving tip: Load the kids up with snacks and drinks before you go to the discount movies. Cheap SOB’s like me are probably the reason very few of these are in business anymore. I would smuggle snacks into the theater on each kid because I figured what are they going to do? Frisk a 2 year old? Pat down an 8 year old for contraband M&M’s? Always worked and saved me an additional $15-20 every time I took them to the movies.
    .-= david @ MBA briefs´s last blog ..Do positions of power corrupt people or attract people who are already corrupt? =-.

  8. @Ernest S.
    Nice gravatar! No harm no foul in using free wifi!

    Your “friend” is a scoundrel! I don’t think I could pull off returning dirty pants.

    Bed Bath and Beyond is famous for their coupons! The registers don’t care and have accepted my 1 year old expired coupons before! lol.

    Good idea to look for scuffed books! Library is rough for book sellers. Sometimes you just want to call it your own. Just like the DVD buying addicts!

    Hmm, good tip on a pharmacist not being allowed to deny someone with medical needs! Did not know that.

    @David @ MBA briefs
    Brilliant tip! Disney On Ice. Why not just say they work for “Feed The Children” or something? Good thing I don’t have a fon bill, b/c it is a company expense.

    Dang, your friend is one cheap B! I have a friend who does EXACTLY that! Group dinners and all, and he always goes to the bathroom! We make sure we wait until he gets back though. haha.

    Typical.. where’s your contribution?! haha.

  9. @Geek: notice how almost everyone is listing their friend’s ethically challenged money saving tip?

    Time to fess up guys! The challenged from FS was to list your tip!
    .-= thriftygal´s last blog ..How to extend the life of your clothes =-.

  10. I like how everyone tries to justify their actions, this is a really interesting slice of how low we can go :)

  11. A friend got a pair of pants and once they got dirty returned or exchanged them. Rarely do people look carefully through returned purchases for smal scuffs or stains. I’m sure you could get away with this months after buying them if the store continues to sell the same type of clothing. Imagine a free exchange every three months. Unlimited warranty anyone?
    .-= Daniel´s last blog ..Introducing The Samurai Alexa Ranking Challenge =-.

  12. @Phil Villarreal
    Wow, that’s really low Phil. Sketchy! Why keep the relationships section to only 3 tips? Here’s your chance to clear the air! I figure the Relationships chapter would be the absolutely most combustable and debateable section! Man vs. Woman, Woman vs. Man!

  13. I use expired coupons at my bulk store! What? You’ve never done that? Alright, I’ll admit it’s not entirely ethical…But in my defense, I live in a teeny tiny aparment with little to no storage space. So I cannot store multiple bulk-size boxes of diapers which is what I buy from them. Besides the coupons are already printed and sometimes I forget that they have weird expiration dates like the 13th or 17th of the month. So I use the expired coupons at the selfcheckout when I need new diapers and it works like a charm! Go ahead – hate me!
    .-= thriftygal´s last blog ..How to extend the life of your clothes =-.

  14. Phil Villarreal

    Here’s mine: Write a book, have an awesome blog do a giveaway contest in which people submit all sorts of great ideas, then steal all of those to write a sequel!

  15. Being a stingy scoundrel seems to make people more like the govt – steal from anyone (bonus if they’re rich) and give to… yourself!

    Mine is pretty tame – I look for scuffed books with damaged covers or slightly damaged stuff no one really sees (wastebaskets) and then go get a reduced price. Books that are damaged enough are 10% off at most places. Bonus: make a lot of noise if they won’t give you a discount and accuse them of restocking/selling to someone else who won’t notice.

    I don’t have the guts to ruin stuff myself like in the movies, sadly. So I’m all legal and maybe that’s not stingy enough.

    A second one – never buy personal finance books. Win them or get them from the library!
    Err.. maybe that’s just common sense.

  16. I have a relative who works in a pharmacy. I visited her at work about a year ago and a young man came in almost frantic about his need for his medicine. He had no prescription and said his physician was on vacation for another two days. He begged for just enough pills to get him through until his physician returned. Eventually the pharmacist gave him three pills at no charge. I was told that the law prohibits selling drugs without a prescription, but also requires that no one be turned away in a medical emergency, so the pharmacy policy was to give the pills away free in such cases. The pharmacist then told me about the “regular” who came every few weeks to get a couple of days worth of free pills. He was probably the richest man in the town, but he would still try to scam a few dollars worth of free medicine. What a stingy scoundrel!

  17. David @ MBA briefs

    I don’t expect to win two books in a row but this is too fun to pass up.

    Ethically challenged tip: When signing up for cellular service ask for a company discount even if your company doesn’t participate with the provider – some friends-of-friends have had luck claiming to work for Disney On Ice :-) Apparently they don’t do a rigorous background check, so if you strike out the first time just call back with another company.
    .-= David @ MBA briefs´s last blog ..The definition of FAILURE =-.

  18. Never heard of this one… might have to check it out. Thanks for the review.
    .-= 20smoney´s last blog ..Buying Low: Purchasing Items That Are Out-Of-Season Or Out-Of-Style =-.

  19. This may be an old one. My friend would sit in a bar with a group of people and share from their pitcher O’ beer. When it was his turn to buy, he would excuse himself to go to the bathroom. By the second or third round of pitchers, everyone was too sh#!-faced to keep tabs.
    Since I’m sober, I watched the strategy first-hand.
    He probably saved 20 bucks a night.
    For a binge drinker, it’s like having a part-time job as a drunk.
    .-= Matt´s last blog ..6 Ways to Become a Wealth Creator =-.

  20. Several years ago, I lived in an apartment right above a local coffee shop. I found that my computer detected an internet connection, so I started using it (and subsequently, canceled my internet service).

    I did feel like it was an unethical thing to do. However, I justified it in my mind since I primarily used it later in the evening when the coffee shop was already closed.

    Long story short — I saved about 2 years worth of internet service charges!

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