Money Saving Ideas From The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Road Map To Riches

by Millie Kay G. on 2008-12-2211

We share some money saving ideas from the book, The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Road Map To True Riches.

money saving ideas, ultimate cheapskate's road map

Years ago, when I passed the personal finance section at the bookstore, I envisioned heavy tomes with plenty of intimidating graphs, worksheets galore, and enough lectures to scare me off from spending money. Jeff Yeager’s book The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Road Map to True Riches: A Practical (and Fun) Guide to Enjoying Life More by Spending Less upends that stereotype entirely.

Throughout the book, Yeager, who used to be an executive for a non-profit company, tells humorous anecdotes about his struggles to understand his behavior when it comes to money. For instance, he casts his wife Denise as a long-suffering heroine who puts up with his cheapskate tendencies. By showing us his personal money issues, he’s demonstrating that he’s not a money expert expounding his ideals behind a desk — he’s a guy who’s confronted the same sort of obstacles we might be facing.

Money Saving Ideas From The Ultimate Cheapskate

1. How much is enough?

One key concept that comes up early in the book is the Enoughasaurus. In other words, how much money is enough for you as an individual, and how do you handle the desire for more? Rather than spend the rest of his life on a career track to keep pace with the mythical Joneses of the world, Yeager calculated his expenses, set a monetary goalpost for himself, then worked toward an early retirement.

2. Spend less. Don’t spend for a week!

When it comes to managing money, a lot of advice boils down to “earn more income”, but Yeager advocates spending less as a better solution. To that end, he proposes that we go on a one week fiscal fast in which we don’t spend any money at all. Such an exercise may quickly teach us to use what we have on hand, to plan our future purchases instead of filling our bags to the brim at the mall, and may even keep our cash in our wallets longer. Of course, that doesn’t mean this exercise will be easier than the Boston Marathon.

During the fiscal fast, he suggests that everyone in the family should try to participate, and that members track their experiences in a household journal. I enjoyed the story of how his family endured their first involuntary money fast during his childhood, when bad weather marooned them in their home, and they achieved a closeness in that time that many of us would envy today. The fiscal fast idea is a lot easier to handle than the tedium of tracking every penny I spend every single day. Also, spending an entire week away from recreational shopping both at the mall and online would help my finances.

3. Control big household expenditures.

For more specific examples on how to cut back, the book’s other chapters address several big household expenditures and dealing with big ticket items. The chapter on housing suggests that we don’t need the biggest house ever to have a happy home. When he and his wife found their dream home, it may not have been the fanciest house on the block, but it came with an additional apartment that they rented out to help pay the mortgage. He also discusses transportation costs, attempts to engage the Amish on the topic of technology, and rounds out the book with some investing tips and advice.

4. Spend on wants when you have something left over.

Despite the reduction in expenses, Yeager emphasizes that frugality shouldn’t be considered deprivation. For instance, he and his wife are able to use their savings to travel and pursue their interests. At one point, he says that taking stock is better than buying stock; he seems to be stating that mindfulness of what our needs are as opposed to our desires can save us thousands over a period of time.

A Few Missing Points

Although I enjoyed the book a lot, I felt it needed more coverage on how families with children could cope with expenses like child care, college, and all those after school programs that want extra slices of our incomes. Also, the humor tends to be a bit crude sometimes and the profanity might be a turnoff for some readers. Actually, this is the first personal finance book I’ve read that I’d give a PG-13 rating.

But if you’re looking for advice on reducing your expenses in a way that isn’t cut and dried, give this book a try. Like me, you might end up laughing and saving at the same time!

Copyright © 2008 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one } December 23, 2008 at 8:40 am

I think two points hit home for me:

1. Set financial goals: you can’t leverage what money can do for you without working towards a specific money goal (whether it be retiring early or getting out of debt).

2. Extra income from a rental unit: this tip is basically what my immigrant family has done over the last 30 years to “make it” in the US. From my father to Uncle Joe, all of my family member own 2 or 3 family homes that subsidize their monthly housing and living expenses.

Vince from – a practical living blog

Jeff Yeager December 23, 2008 at 9:30 am

Millie –

Thanks for reviewing my little book. I’m glad you liked it. It’s my first book, and I’m really proud of it.

BTW, I’m working on a second book, “The Cheapskate Next Door – Secrets for Happily Living Below Your Means” (Spring 2010, also from Broadway Books), which will delve into some of the issues (e.g. raising a family, financing a college education, etc.) that you rightfully point out are not addressed in Road Map.

Thanks again, keep up the good work with your blog, and, of course, ….

Stay Cheap!
-Jeff Yeager
Author, The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Road Map to True Riches

Millie Kay G December 23, 2008 at 10:40 am

Jeff, I look forward to your next book. I just saw your book at the library again last night–it looks worn out now!

Thanks for stopping by.

Taylor December 24, 2008 at 8:53 am

There are many ways you can cut corners to save money here and there, and they will quickly add up to big savings.

Louis December 25, 2008 at 10:12 pm

I cant wait for the next book. Thanks

Dustin Klein March 2, 2009 at 11:22 am

Just by reading your summary on this book gives me great ideas to help save even more money. I can only imagine what the entire book has in store and can’t wait to get to reading it. As you mentioned above the 1 week fast, I think this is a wonderful idea and it would definitely bring to light all of the possibilities to avoid spending money.


Dustin Klein

TheyLookAlike December 23, 2009 at 4:49 pm

This is definitely a book that me and my wife could use. We are extremely cheap. We barely even have furniture in house house because we don’t want to spend the money!

MoneySavingIdeas August 19, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Thanks for the informative review. I think I could learn a few things from this book. Putting it on my reading list.

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