Book review: The Cheapskate Next Door
Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book or other book of interest.
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6 | Clean Your Plate … and Save $,500 a Year
This almost expands on the previous chapter, as the point is clearly made that throwing away food is like throwing away money. Yeager discusses various methods for reusing food, from using basic ingredients in homecooked meals so that if you have some left over, you can just roll them into the next meal, or freezing remnants that you don’t use. Even food waste can have some valuable turning leftover vegetable scraps into vegetable stock or putting it in the composter instead of just tossing stems and leaves into the trash.
The Simple Dollar is a blog for those of us who need both cents and sense: people fighting debt and bad spending habits while building a financially secure future and still affording a latte or two. Our busy lives are crazy enough without having to compare five hundred mutual funds – we just want simple ways to manage our finances and save a little money.
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7 | Come on and Take a Free Ride
I’m not a big fan of freebies – most of the time, they’re not worth the hassle or the drawbacks to them. Yet many people swear by the value they find with them and Yeager is no exception. This chapter lists quite a few different resources for finding free things, both online and offline. I myself prefer to swap things, where I’m keeping the number of possessions I have in reasonable check while also getting things that I’d like to have.
8 | We Can’t Retire. We Went out to Dinner Instead
Dining out might seem like a normal routine for some, but if you add up the costs of it over a long period, it adds up to a lot of money. If you eat out twice a week for $30 when you could eat at home for $5, guess how much that adds up to over ten years? $26,000. If you can trim those meals eaten out down to once a week, there’s $13,000 you didn’t have before. Figure out ways to eat out for less or cut back even more on dining out and you put even more money in your pocket.
9 | The Joys of Horse Trading
Bartering and swapping can be a very wonderful thing. It allows you to connect with someone else, give them something that they’ll value more than you do, and receive something you value in return. It’s pretty much a triple win. I barter quite frequently, using services like PaperBackSwap or simply going to farmer’s markets or swap meets locally (I really miss some of the swap meets I used to go to near the end of my college days).
10 | Break the Mortgage Chains that Bind Thee
Cheapskates tend to buy smaller homes (averaging around the size that was the national average home size circa 1970) and buy below their means (meaning they don’t take out every dime they possibly can in mortgages). On our home purchase, we certainly checked off both of these boxes, though we may someday build soemthing different and slightly larger when we can afford it and pay cash for most of it.
11 | Bon Appe-Cheap!
The fine art of cooking food for yourself at home isn’t lost on Yeager – he spends this chapter discussing home food preparation, particularly ways to do it for less. There seems to be some difference of opinion in this chapter among different frugal folks about how to maximize your dollar, but Yeager ends the chapter with a summary of many of the points people do agree on, such as shopping for food only once a week and “laddering” your produce (eating stuff that goes bad quickly early in the week and saving the hardier stuff – like apples – until later in the week).
12 | Don’t Laugh. It Gets Me There … and It’s Paid For.
You should always pay cash for a car. If you can’t pay cash for that car, you shouldn’t be buying that car and should be looking for a less expensive model. Ideally, you’re buying a used car with a good track record for reliability and then driving it until it’s nearly worn out. Doing much beyond this plan will ensure that your car becomes much, much more of a money eater than it already is.