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The Cheapskate Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of Americans Living Happily Below Their Means Paperback – June 8, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Yeager (The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches) is back with another energetic, likably eccentric lesson on living happily well below your means. Interviewing a variety of self-professed cheapskates, he finds—despite a diversity of lifestyles, backgrounds, and beliefs— common practices and philosophies when it came to money; their knowledge of how to live on less has insulated them from the economic crash. He presents their tips on frugal living in grocery shopping, entertainment, and sensible parenting, but the real value is in Yeager's persuasive argument that an onset of Spending Anxiety Disorder is good for our wallets, our communities, and the environment. If we change the way we think about want vs. need, we can focus our time and attention on the truly valuable things—family, charity, passions, the early retirement that will make enjoying them longer possible—and if we consume sparingly, thoughtfully, and fully, our possessions will not consume us. Yeager and his Miser Advisers are proof that living more frugally isn't about sacrifice—it's about making choices every day to live a better, happier, more thoughtful life with less. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Ah, yes, belt-tightening is the procedure of the day, from how giant businesses conduct themselves to managing one’s own personal finances. It is the latter aspect of conservative spending that the author of the popular Ultimate Cheapskate’s Road Map to True Riches (2007) and of the blog Green Cheapskate addresses in this delightful—yes, delightful—guide for me, you, and everyone else. Personal finance is a universal concern, particularly in these tight economic times. It is a topic that people need to know about but still shy away from. Yeager is here to draw you in and does so easily. He does not use the term “cheapskate” in a pejorative fashion; after all, he lists himself as one and wishes that all his readers would aspire to cheapskateness. A cheapskate to him is someone who lives below his or her means and does so happily. How to spend less than you are spending now is the program he details; the amazing fact about this book is that in addition to his instructions making perfect sense, like no other book of its kind, this one can be read simply for the humor of the author’s prose. --Brad Hooper

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 231 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press; First Edition edition (June 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767931327
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767931328
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #459,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Jeff Yeager (aka "The Ultimate Cheapskate")

JEFF YEAGER spent 24 years working as a CEO and senior executive with national nonprofit organizations in Washington, DC before launching his career in 2004 as an author, public speaker, and media personality.

Specializing in an offbeat blend of original humor and practical advice for living a better life by spending and consuming less, Yeager was dubbed "The Ultimate Cheapskate" by Matt Lauer on the NBC TODAY Show, where he occasionally appears as a guest correspondent. He also hosted a series of segments, $aving Green by Living Green, on G-Word, an environmental news show on Discovery's PLANET GREEN network. Yeager has appeared as a guest on CNN, ABC News, CNBC, FOX News, PBS, and dozens of local TV stations around the country. He is a popular guest on the nationwide talk radio circuit as well, having been interviewed on more than 150 radio stations, including shows broadcast on National Public Radio, Sirius Satellite Radio, and the Oprah & Friends network.

Yeager's first book, The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches: A Practical (and Fun) Guide to Enjoying Life More by Spending Less, was published by Random House/ Broadway Books in January 2008. Road Map is currently in its sixth reprint and was the #1 Personal Finance book on His second book, The Cheapskate Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of Americans Living Happily below Their Means, is scheduled to be released in the summer of 2010, also from Random House/Broadway Books. His work is also featured on his website, and his popular weekly blog, The Green Cheapskate, is syndicated by Hearst's Daily Green website ( to leading environmental and personal finance sites on the worldwide web.

During his career in the nonprofit sector, Yeager served as the CEO of the American Canoe Association, the oldest recreation-based waterway conservation in the U.S. (founded in 1880) and a National Governing Body of the U.S. Olympic Committee. Previously he served as director of the American Youth Hostels, the U.S. affiliate of the International Youth Hostel Federation. He also served as the director of fundraising for the Partnership for Public Service, a think-tank based in Washington.

In 2004, at the age of 46, Yeager realized something startling. Because of the experience he gained as the self-proclaimed "Titan of Tightwads" in the nonprofit sector and the positive impact those same management techniques had on his personal finances, Yeager realized that he had reduced his dependency on money to the point where he could retire. Or rather, as he likes to say, become "selfishly employed," free to pursue whatever interests he chooses, without inordinate worry over a paycheck.

Since leaving the work-a-day world, Yeager has done just that. As an active volunteer, Yeager serves on the boards of four nonprofit organizations involved in education and the environment. But most of all, Yeager has used his newfound financial freedom to pursue his passion for writing and multi-media journalism.

Jeff currently lives just outside of Washington, DC with Denise, his pooooor wife of 27 years, and his beloved compost pile, Gomer. He grew up in rural Ohio, and is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Bowling Green State University. He was a Rhodes Scholar nominee and was voted funniest student in his fourth grade class.


Media Credits - Jeff Yeager has been feature in and/or written for the following media outlets: NBC Today Show, CNN, FOX News, CNBC, PBS, ABC Evening News, FOX Business, National Public Radio, AARP The Magazine, AARP Bulletin, New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Miami Herald, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Detroit News & Free Press, Houston Chronicle, Reader's Digest, Budget Living, Quick & Simple, Writer's Digest, and Bottom Line Personal.

Award winning short stories by Yeager currently appear in the following books: 2008 Writer's Market (F+W Publications, 2007); Amazing Cat Tales (Linden Hill Publishing, 2006); 2010 Writer's Market (F+W Publications, 2009); Chicken Soup for the Soul (2009). Yeager is also a Contributing Editor for Writer's Digest magazine and a member of the Panel of Experts for Bottom Line Personal.

Jeff Yeager's recent speaking engagements have included the American Association of Retired People (AARP), the Environmental Division of the American Bar Association, the National Student Loan Program, the U.S. Navy (Personal Financial Management Program - Fleet and Family Support Center), and a wide range of other nonprofit, governmental, and corporate groups, as well as colleges and universities.
Contact information for Jeff Yeager: 1611 Bryan Point Road, Accokeek, MD 20607 Ph. 301-292-0811 Email

What I Really Believe:

Living on less is a good thing to do. It's the only financial advice that will work for almost everyone. It's about a quality of life you can not buy, a sense of satisfaction you can not fake, and an appreciation for others that gives life value. It's also about helping to save the planet and sharing with those in need. Living on less can be funny, but it's not a joke.

- Jeff Yeager
The Ultimate Cheapskate

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Dorraine Darden on June 18, 2010
Format: Paperback
Money, money, money- regardless if we share, save, horde or spend it, we must have some to live and therefore learn how to manage it wisely. The Cheapskate Next Door is a valuable guide on how to sweet talk those dollar bills into submission so they can work in our favor. This book is for young and old, rich and poor, cheapskates and spenders alike.

I especially relished Jeff Yeager's take on creating memories with our loved ones instead of stockpiling things. Cherished memories last, material stuff crumbles. He also questions how much our time is really worth and comes up with compelling answers.

The stories regarding fellow cheapskates were not only delightful, but helpful, and sometimes downright odd, which kept me highly entertained while gaining valuable insider tips on saving money. Lest you be disappointed, he adds his own colorful tales,too, uh hem...the tent, the teenagers and the rain, which really wasn't rain. You won't want to miss any of this.

And I was taken with the "Cheap Shots", clever snippets throughout the book on saving financially through various methods we might have overlooked. My favorite was the fiscal fasting, spending detox, which translates to going a whole week without whipping out our wallets. The theory behind this, Jeff says, is to use what resources we already possess and save money in the process, while also examining how and why we spend. I plan on trying this, even though my debit card is sometimes wedged in my hand like a nut in a shell.

What I've shared here is only a sampling of this financial savings buffet, laid out like the feast it is. Jeff Yeager has managed yet again to wrap a wad of dollar bills around common money sense in a humorous way, proving that saving money and consuming less of our natural resources can not only be painless, but entertaining.

Two thumbs up! A sure bet for giggling all the way to the bank.
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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Robert D. Watson VINE VOICE on April 29, 2011
Format: Paperback
I was not one of the one-in-eight who have lost treasury bonds or unclaimed assets, nor am I one of the individuals who is able to donate blood plasma thanks to my high blood pressure. As such, I got absolutely nothing out of Mr. Yeager's most recent guide.

I read his previous book, also on saving money, which he refers to constantly throughout this new book, and I though it was basic, but pretty good. His new guide adds very little to the discussion outside of the two points that I referenced above, and takes a whole lot of material from the previous volume, so much that I can't possibly recommending reading this guide unless you treat the previous edition like a bible.

At the end of the day, Mr. Yeager has two basic tips: spend less than you earn, and don't be wasteful. The first tip is very simple, and discussed in great detail in his previous work (which again, I actually liked). The second is more thoroughly explored in this book, but which is often told through some pretty sad and disgusting vignettes from the travels and research he completed in preparation for this book. And that's where I really have a problem with this book. One story told of a man who "table poaches" at restaurants, sampling food from off the plate of other guests after they've left the table. Another mentions in passing that dinner served at a cheapskate's home was found in the dumpster of a local restaurant the night before. You should also, apparently, be keeping a "drippin's jar" which contains leftover sauces, jams, and salad dressing to be used as a marinade for meats (yuck!). Saving your ear wax and using it to polish your car is a great tip according to one of the cheapskates.
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41 of 48 people found the following review helpful By A. Lebeau on June 11, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is proof that not everyone has to live the way advertisements and media say we should but still be very happy and live a full life within their means. The author's quick writing style and witty sense of humor keeps the flow of the book going. I like the "cheap shots" located through out the book. As a frugal person myself for many years, I took away a few new pointers in the shots. This will make an excellent addition to your home library, your public library and would be a great gift for the new graduates or anyone just starting out. Actually, this could be a great gift for anyone!
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Betsy Platkin Teutsch on August 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
Amidst the landslide of greening and sustainability books constantly being marketed and touted (get the irony?), two jumped out at me. Reading them as a pair made it clear that Plenitude, by economist Juliet B. Schor, and The Cheapskate Next Door by journalist Jeff Yeager are describing the same contemporary trends using very different language. People can earn fewer dollars without their quality of life being diminished, IF they also experience an increase in free time. This free time can be invested in social capital, healthy lifestyle, creative self-provisioning, and ingenious thrift, aided by everything from social networking to asking grandma to teach canning techniques. Schor's book is analytic; Yeager's is a how-to-do-it manual.
Reading over and over again how we aren't "over" this Great Recession because none of us are buying enough, hence the jobs producing all of it are lagging, has often made me wonder how that squares with the carrying load of the planet. The fact that personal savings have actually increased seems like good news, not bad. The fact that demand for fossil fuels has decreased - isn't that the goal here? Schor, an economist with an emphasis on ecological concerns and the author of two other terrific books, The Overworked American and The Overspent American, reviews the basic theoretical underpinnings of modern economics and concludes that they don't square. As developing world incomes rise, driving massive additional consumption, the world's growth limits will be tested. We can't just keep on extracting finite resources on the cheap and expect it will all end well. Likewise, she predicts there will never again be enough conventional jobs for all who seek work.
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