Monthly Archives: January 2012

Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel Book Review and Giveaway!

I had the opportunity to review Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel and boy, am I sure glad I did.  It is H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S!  I actually laughed out loud a number of times (and I must say, getting me to do that while reading something is pretty hard).

Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel is written by Phil Vallarreal.  If you don’t know who he is, I have to be honest with you, you’ve been living under some sort of rock because he’s one of the writers/ contributors to the Consumerist.  He’s also a syndicated film critic for the Arizona Daily Star and also contributes to OK! Magazine.

I had no idea he was this funny (sorry, Phil, I follow you on twitter, but I suppose it’s hard to capture that amazing sense of humor in 140 characters at one time).  Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel is funny.  At parts, it’s almost so funny that you feel guilty and sheepish to be laughing about it, and more importantly, you feel shocked that someone would actually say something like that out loud, let alone publish it in a book.

Basically, the book give 100 dirty little money-grubbing secrets that will help you save money.

Some of my favourites are:

  • Double your Pleasure, Double your Fries– in which the tip is to use ice cubes to make your fries soggy.  After you’ve eaten the fries before you dumped the ice cube on it to make it soggy, go to the restaurant employees and demand new fries because your fries are soggy.
  • Tupperware Thief- when you go to parties, look pathetic taking home something wrapped in saran wrap or aluminum foil.  More often than not the host will make sure you have some Tupperware to take it home in (and we all know how much Tupperware can cost).  The only thing Phil says you have to deal with is the passive aggressive parting shot “oh don’t worry about bringing that container home soon- I’ll hunt you down for it if need be”.  LOL love it!
  • The Legend of the Cubic Zirconium Heirloom- Now, I must warn you this tip was found in the last part of the book (which is, in my perspective, the funniest section labelled “Gross, Mean, and Just Plain Wrong…”).  He talks about giving your future fiance a cubic zirconium ring and calling it a heirloom ring passed down to you from your mother.  Adding some sort of sentimental story to it increases its luster even more.  The author denies having used this tactic himself though.
  • Double Movies-  Reading this excerpt made me think of my teenage days- going to an early film and then staying there until you see the next film in another theatre room.  Who hasn’t done that before?  It’s just a lot harder to do it as an adult lol, I would think.

There are some great tips in here that even I have tried (but I won’t tell you which ones) or that I think would absolutely work (the trick where he avoids going to concerts with his long term girlfriend by acting like a total jerk at the concert and embarrassing her… then apologizing profusely for a few days afterwards).  That one, he has tried and now he’s married to his long term girlfriend.

Some of the most useful ones involved negotiating, complaining (which I am obviously good at LOL), and “sticking it to the man” (aka big bad corporate America).

If you’re easily offended (especially with things that don’t sound ethical) then I would probably not read this, but if you like sarcasm, cynicism, and quick humor, this is a great read and will have you laughing (and learning) about some crazy ways to save money.

Secrets of  a Stingy Scoundrel Giveaway

This book is worth $15.95 and it will be worth even more because I’m going to be shipping it out to you.  Good luck and thanks for reading!  Contest ends February 7, 2012.

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Weekend Ramblings and PF Blog Love: Traffic Jam Edition

I had a realization this week, as I was trying to get home from the Lower Mainland area (which is for the record, against traffic).  Usually it takes me 45 minutes to get home but instead it took me an hour and 30 minutes because of an accident.  Earlier in the week, I was late 15 minutes because of an accident as well clogging up the highways.  This is despite leaving the house with 20 minutes to spare.  It’s so unpredictable and it really puts a dent in the day.  I realized that if I cannot commute for more than 20 to 30 minutes a day.  I just can’t.  It drains my energy, makes me irritable, it takes up my time, it wastes my gas, and it makes my car feel even older by racking on the mileage.

I know that in many circumstances, there is no choice but to commute, but I think if I had to commute such a long duration to and from work, I would rather take public transportation because the commute would be a productive commute (reading, writing, thinking about life, instead of driving).

Thankfully, reading these PF blog love blog posts really calmed me down and I hope they can help you destress this weekend too. :)

Readers, what is the maximum tolerable number of minutes or hours that you can commute for?

PF Blog Love

Ladies, Men are Not ALWAYS Trying to Get Into Your Pants

Sam over at Financial Samurai recently shared an experience he had at a club in San Francisco, titled “Beautiful, Rich, and Still Single.. I wonder Why”.  He met this seemingly nice and attractive girl named Cynthia.  She turned out to be highly educated (a doctor of dental medicine student) and appeared quite wealthy, judging by her Manolo shoes and Chanel purse.

Not only was she confident, Sam felt that she seemed over confident.  She told Sam that the reason she was still single was because she was too attractive and too successful.

This made me think about why there are so many people out there who are on the ‘prowl’ for a significant other, but who also have overly inflated self esteem?

Is it because we were all brought up to feel that we have done well (teachers giving us gold stars for simply completing the homework assignment, certificates for participation etc.)?  Are we all living in bubbles?  What ever happened to modesty?

One of my guy friends was at a club recently.  He is a successful, genuinely nice guy.  He is very open and friendly and when you meet him, you quickly realize that he doesn’t have any pretenses.

clubbing Pictures, Images and Photos

He was recently at a packed club and he accidentally spilled a girl’s drink (it was just so packed in there, everyone walking around with their drinks makes for a recipe for disaster).  Now, I don’t mean to be judgmental, but the girl was average looking (certainly did not look like Cynthia at Sam’s club).

The girl was with her female friend and her female friend instantly piped up and said “HEY! You spilled her drink!!”  He realized what he had done and felt awful.  He immediately offered to buy her another drink.

The three of them went up to the bar and as they were waiting for the bartender to serve them, he decided to strike up some polite conversation with the girl whose drink he spilled.  Her friend meanwhile was very nonchalant looking and not engaging with my friend.  She was looking at her cellphone the entire time and was texting someone.  I think I saw some eye rolls in there as my friend was talking to her friend.

As my friend was talking to the girl, I noticed that she was very abrupt with him.  She barely made eye contact with him and was simply rude to him.  She was very short with her answers to his polite questions. They were making sure that they got right up to the bar so that they could watch to see if he was putting Roofies or drugs into her drink.

Judging from her ambivalent behaviour, it really seemed like she thought he was hitting on her by “ACCIDENTALLY” spilling her drink and therefore creating an excuse to buy her a drink and talk to her.  The friend also was talking about how she needs to see the drink to make sure he wasn’t trying to drug her.


First of all, girls who are interested in trying to get picked up by guys should try not to be defensive 24/7.

Guys are not ALWAYS trying to get into your pants (lol, right??).  Sometimes some guys really are just nice and trying to be good people.

That being said, I’m sure there are a lot of guys who are good for nothing and are douche bags, but I think that if you have your back up 100% time, you close yourself to meeting genuinely nice guys.

I haven’t been inside a club in a long time before this (I think the last time I went was a year ago) and it ALWAYS intrigues me to watch the behaviour of females and males in a club.  It’s like watching the Discovery Channel.  Fascinating, really!

I recently read a great article in Vancouver Magazine titled “Do Vancouver Men Suck?” about how men are seemingly very casual, very passive in this city.  It could be because women here in Vancouver tend to be stuck up and think any guy who is “nice” to them and genuine is trying to get them into bed.

Readers, do you agree with me?  Do you think that there are a lot of Cynthia’s out there?  Guys, do you find that girls seem to be on the defense when you try to strike up conversation with them?


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