The Cheapskate Next Door by Jeff Yeager
The Surprising secrets of Americans Living below their Means
I just finished reading Jeff Yeager’s book “The Cheapskate Next Door”, and enjoyed his humorous take on being frugal. It is a fun quick read and I recommend it for those looking for ways to cut their expenses while getting out of debt and beyond. This book tells the story of the people he met doing the book tour for “The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Road Map to True Riches”, his first book in 2008. He did this nationwide tour in part while riding his bike and staying in fan’s and total stranger’s houses. Apparently there is a website, couchsurfing.com, which you can use to stay in other member’s houses while traveling, and at no cost to you. You will need to reciprocate and let someone stay with you in return. Not sure if I would do that travelling with the kiddoes, but it could be a great way to discover a new culture while saving big bucks on lodging when travelling to other parts of the country or world.
The author also touches on some of the more fringe members of the cheapskate nation, the Freegans. The Freegan’s believe in not participating in the consumer society in which we live, by salvaging items throw away by others, solar energy, conservation of water. This sounds all good, but the other tenant is to salvage non-spoiled food thrown away by stores and restaurants by “dumpster diving” and then eating the salvaged food. I think I’ll clip coupons, thanks away.
The book is filled with stories of frugal folks not quite as radical as our Freegan friends, but just everyday folks who enjoy life living under their means. Jeff gives many websites as resources to help you shop, invest, and live in a more frugal manner. The author suggests the only true way to enjoy the book is to get it from the library, or perhaps a used book sale. I think the main point is that if you live under your means, you’ll be happier and have less stress.
There were some things I would not do (see dumpster diving above) but there is a lot of other things that we don’t think of like; bartering services for other services or goods, taking advantage of free services by our local schools and museums to stretch the entertainment dollar, and finding free items on the internet. I recommend this 225 page guidebook as something you may find useful to stretch your budget and be gazelle intense to meet your financial goals.