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Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel Book Review – 100 Dirty Little Money-Grubbing Secrets by Phil Villarreal

Book Giveaway: Read this review of Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel, then leave a comment with the most low-down or annoying thing you’ve done to earn or save money. Best story wins a copy of the book! Deadline for submission is this Friday – February 11, 2011.

secrets of a stingy scoundrelDo you ever feel like there’s more you could do to be frugal and save money? Perhaps you’ve taken to rinsing and reusing sandwich baggies, or cutting up old clothes for cleaning rags.

But unless at least 20% of your daily calories come from stolen condiments, according to Phil Villarreal in his book, Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel: 100 Dirty Little Money-Grubbing Secrets, you aren’t doing nearly enough.

Published in 2009, this 244-page book contains 100 mini-chapters. Each focuses on a money-saving or money-making tip for those who are truly determined to get every penny’s worth out of their day. The book contains nine sections and covers such topics as food, relationships, the workplace, and entertainment.

100 Questionable Ways To Save

The author of this tome clearly takes pride in his ability to spend as little as possible on any occasion. From the aforementioned stolen condiments, which are included in a half dozen of the tips, to free potlucks and ways to get out of paying your share with friends, he’s clearly had some experience being “that guy” in multiple situations.

This book does offer some tips that are worth taking, such as building your Tupperware collection by volunteering to take home the least appetizing leftovers from a party, or the best way to maximize your profit when being bumped by an airline and getting free flight vouchers.

Many of the tips will in fact help you save money, but you may end up spending time instead of money, so your per-hour “savings” might not be great.

Cheapskates In The Wild

This book is listed as a humor book – and rightfully so. The author seems to take advantage of this classification especially in the last third of the book, which consists of some hilarious frugal tips that are “gross, mean, and oh so wrong.” I would not lend power tools to anyone who actually puts any of these into practice. This is particularly true for the suggestions that you drop off an injured pet at a no-kill shelter so they’ll treat it, and then readopt it, or soak a credit card slip with water so the signature runs, and you can claim it isn’t yours.

To those interested in employing such base money-saving concepts, just keep in mind that one of the best ways to save money is to live with another person. There’s a good chance that you’ll alienate your roommate, partner, or spouse, and spend more on your own place (after you get kicked out) as a result. Some would make awesome bar stories, but even the author freely states that he has not attempted many of the tips in the last section. This is probably why he’s still married.

I do have something to say about the multiple tips that involve how to get drinks on the cheap, get into clubs for free, and snag a pre-liquored girl at a bar: Drinking is about the most expensive hobby you can have. One could probably have replaced most of the drinking-related tips by saying, “Be the designated driver: You’ll get in everywhere for free, and pretty bartenders will comp your soda.”

Final Word

Reading this book is like watching a particularly gory show on the History Channel. You know it’s already happened, and you know you never want it to happen to you. Despite that, you keep watching to see what other disgusting things happen, and you know that there’s some other dude watching it going, “Hey, that looks like fun.”

If you’re that dude, this is the book for you.

Book Giveaway: Read this review of Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel, then leave a comment with the most low-down or annoying thing you’ve done to earn or save money. Best story wins a copy of the book! Deadline for submission is this Friday – February 11, 2011.
Kira Botkin
Kira is a longtime blogger and serial entrepreneur who enjoys gardening, garage sales, and finding stray animals. She lives in Columbus, Ohio, where football is a distinct season, and by day runs a research study for people with multiple sclerosis. She hopes that the MoneyCrashers team can help you achieve your goals and live a great life.

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