The Cheapskate Next Door
by Jeff Yeager
Do you know how to budget your finances? Do you take pride in staying within your means, or even living below them? Do you have tricks to save money that others might not think of? You might be a cheapskate. But don’t worry. Cheapskate doesn’t have to be a dirty word. Jeff Yeager is using the pejorative as a rallying cry for people across the world. Yeager wants everyone to know that living without debt should be the norm and not the exception.
In The Cheapskate Next Door, a follow up to Jeff Yeager’s popular book The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Road Map to True Riches, he outlines methods for saving money while sharing anecdotes of champion cheapskates. Wanting to walk the talk, or in this case put his bike where his mouth is, Yeager advertised his first book by biking from store to store and library to library. After all, he figured, biking and camping were cheaper than the hotels and airplanes the publishing house had planned to spend on advertising. He stretched his budget until it snapped, but it paid off in many ways. Yeager was able to advertise his book to far more locations than initially planned, and this helped a word of mouth campaign for his book. Along the way, he met “Miser Advisers” — people who taught him a thing or two about the fine art of penny-pinching. Their stories form the bulk of this book.
Like any cheapskate worthy of the name, I borrowed The Cheapskate Next Door from my library. There was a hold list on it, but multiple copies, so it didn’t take too long before I was able to get it.
I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, it’s well written and has a conversational tone that makes it very easy to read. However, I’m left unsatisfied by it. I think I’m dissatisfied because I don’t know what the book’s intent was. Was it supposed to be a light-hearted collection of anecdotes or a how to manual on being thrifty? In the end, I think the book didn’t know what its intent was either, and it floundered. Part of the confusion may have been mine, because I have not read the first book written by this author. If any nonfiction book can read like a sequel, The Cheapkate Next Door felt like one. Although the author explained how he met his “Miser Advisors” as well as their advice, I felt as though I kept missing the real content — maybe it had been mentioned in that first book. I began reading this book expecting to see charts or lists, and instead found tips mixed in with a grab bag of other things.
Nonetheless, it was an intriguing book. It did point me in the direction of some new websites that may come in handy for economizing on my favorite indulgence: traveling.
I appreciated the author’s experiences, and enjoyed the pat on my back when I recognized some of my habits, and that of my family, in the traits of Yeager’s described “cheapskates.” Luckily, my family has usually lived within or below our means. I hope to continue that tradition with careful planning and reading.
I would recommend this book to other readers that enjoy financial advice, especially that delivered in a down to earth tone. In particular, I would lend this book to my high school math teacher, Mr. Sachs, who taught us all about the accumulating dangers of high interest on credit cards.