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 becauseitoldyouso.com.
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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