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The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches: A Practical (and Fun) Guide to Enjoying Life More by Spending Less Paperback – December 26, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Departing from the get rich mantra of many personal finance books, Yeager, once dubbed the Ultimate Cheapskate by NBC's Today Show, instead advises readers to shift their priorities and live well on less in this sensible guide to frugal living. Yeager himself retired from a career as a nonprofit executive at age 46 by saving on expenses large (he and his wife renovated their home themselves and exercise and eat well to cut down on medical costs) and small (he soft-boils his eggs in the dishwasher during the wash cycle). Embedded in the sometimes juvenile humor and aw-shucks prose are some original ideas for conserving cash, such as trying a fiscal fast—going a full week or more without spending any money. Most of all, he urges readers to free themselves from the Money Step, the endless dance of having to earn more in order to spend more. By emphasizing the virtues and satisfactions of living cheaply, Yeager convincingly makes the case that frugality can free more time and cash for life's true pleasures—a passion-filled career, hobbies and giving back to one's loved ones and community. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"A compelling—and highly entertaining—look at improving both the quality of our lives and the health of our planet by consuming wisely and laughing out loud."

—Carl Pope, Executive Director, Sierra Club

"People today think frugality is no fun. Jeff puts the lie to it. I recognize in him my own delight at concocting high joy, low cost solutions to life's challenges. Less doesn't mean deprivation--it means less stress, commuting, illness, loneliness and the other ills of our 'more is better' and 'it's never enough' culture. Enjoy!"
--Vicki Robin, co-author of the classic betseller,Your Money or Your Life

"Jeff Yeager's Ultimate Cheapskate book will not only save you a bunch of money, it'll put a smile on your face while you're doing it. Finally, there's no need to be afraid to face your finances. Jeff explains things in clear, easy-to-understand language all the while showing you how to get the last laugh on your money."

--Gary Foreman, Publisher, The Dollar Stretcher,

"What do we all want out of life? To enjoy it to the fullest! Jeff Yeager does a great job showing the way to enjoyment is to be free from debt and clutter, and to have a great time while getting there!"

--Janet Luhrs, author of The Simple Living Guide and the Simple Living newsletter,

"I've read and reviewed dozens of personal finance books. This is the first one that is truly funny throughout. And Yeager's advice is solid, too!"

--J.D. Roth, GetRichSlowly,

“Slay your Enoughasaurus and learn to skip the Money Step with help from The Ultimate Cheapskate. Jeff Yeager's edgy humor and surprising insights make this book a very different read than the usual financial tomes. This guy takes thinking outside the box to a new level.”

-Gregory Karp, “Spending Smart” newspaper columnist and author of Living Rich by Spending Smart

"The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches, by Jeff Yeager, has landed a vaunted place next to my economic bibles, Your Money or Your Life and the Tightwad Gazette trilogy. Yeager -- between jokes -- advises readers to find financial security the old-fashioned way, by spending less than they make."
-Liz Soares, The Morning Sentinel

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business (December 26, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767926951
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767926959
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (182 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #222,909 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

98 of 101 people found the following review helpful By Aaauger on February 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
I thought I was a miser. This book revealed that I wasn't. I've never been extravagant. But I learned that I bought unnecessarily on emotion, bought to compensate for time, bought to rationalize a high paying, unfulfilling job. So I tried Jeff's fast this month. I'm on Day 28 - no problem. Just as buying brings some enjoyment, I learned that not having credit card debt brought huge relief (close kin to enjoyment). In fact, not spending hours shopping and buying brought peace. What was amazing was the number of times I thought I needed something at the store - only to realize I had plenty of it at home. I am thinking about the supermarket fast for next month but am kind of afraid of what I'll find in the freezer.

More than savings tips like Tightwad Gazette, this book put money in perspective relative to my life and loosened its claws. The money and time that I'm saving are being put to much better use these days. Will I stick with it? Yes - I've gained far more than I've sacrificed and with less effort and resistance than I ever expected.

PS Read anything Clark Howard to complement this book.
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70 of 75 people found the following review helpful By A. Kirst on January 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
I don't usually buy personal finance books since most are unpractical, preachy, or unoriginal. Jeff Yeager's The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches, I'm happy to say is none of those things. Unlike most financial experts, he lives by his advice. And, although I pride myself on my frugality, his book gave me a ton of ideas to implement, including:

- to live within my means using the salary I make at 30 years of age, and to continue to live by that standard of living even after my salary increases. So, if I make 40,000 when I'm 30 and 45,000 when I'm 35, I should live as I did when I was 30 and save the rest.

- to establish a mandatory waiting period when using my discretionary spending, of a week or so, to determine if I truly want what I think I want.

- to skip the gym and get outside more...also, to do chores (like washing the car) that burn calories.

- to eat according to the food pyramid (more pastas and rice, less sugars). It's actually cheaper to buy healthier foods like pasta than it is to buy processed foods.

If you're interested in not only saving money, but by being satisfied with what you have, this book is for you.
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285 of 325 people found the following review helpful By Charismatic Creature on April 10, 2008
Format: Paperback
This isn't the first such book, and it won't be the last given the coming recession. The last recession in the 80s gave us stuff like "The Tightwad Gazette", which was clearly an influence on Jeff Yeager, as well as "The Millionaire Next Door".

I wanted this book to be better than it is, because I think there is a lot of potential wisdom in living more simply and avoiding materialism, and a lot of practical stuff that people could learn in terms of saving money and avoiding the credit card trap. Unfortunately, if Mr. Yeager has some good tips, he is keeping them to himself. The most "Ultimate Cheapskate" has to tell you is either really simple ("buy a less expensive/house/tv, etc.") or flatout wrong ("the least expensive stuff is at big box stores like Sam's Club" -- WRONG!).

One big problem is that Yeager and his wife of 22 years are unusual, in that they don't have children. Don't get me wrong, it's a personal choice and I respect it. But he never really owns up to it (I had to read sections over twice, until I figured it out), and he never admits that many of his "savings" schemes would not work, or would work differently, if he had young children, or kids in college. Yeager brags, rather shamelessly, about things like living on just one income (his, while his wife's earnings are saved or invested) -- but you can't do that if one spouse stays home with toddlers, or if you have to pay most of one spouse's salary for day care. He also brags about paying his house off early, but again he has not had to support small children or pay their expenses, but could save/invest half the income of a DINK (dual income, no kids) couple.

Finally, he tells us that he's managed to acquire a net worth of $900,000, at age 48 (his wife is 54).
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Julie Neal VINE VOICE on January 11, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is funny, but to buy it for that reason alone misses the point. Hiding behind the humor is the wise advice of a personal finance expert who knows there's more to life than just how much debt you can pile up on a credit card. Jeff Yeager's breezy writing is full of great -- and serious -- ideas, yet you never feel that he is preaching at you. As you read you feel inspired, even empowered.

One of his thoughts is to put yourself on a money fast for one week a year. You spend nothing for seven days, which gets you thinking about all the terrific things to do that are free, and makes you realize that you can easily do without many of the items you buy just out of habit.

The book's eye-opening premise is that, contrary to just about every commercial you see, your quality of life increases as your spending decreases. What awful news for MasterCard! And what a refreshing thought!
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Berni on August 18, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Maybe some will find new ideas in here but I didn't. As I am quite frugal already i expect that can happen and I read frugal books anyhow because even if a new idea doesn't pop up, I still like the connection I feel by meeting others who live similar. But no connection is here. I would not like to meet Jeff at all. He constantly compares things to sex & orgasms and repeatedly jokes that we should send him our nude or sexual pictures or ideas. I don't see how some find this humor. I find it extremely immature.
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