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youngandthrifty reviews the book by Phil Villarreal, who works for Consumerist: Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel.

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



Article comments

Gerard says:

A real money-saver that works for me: When you know you have a major purchase coming up, find some old people. Hit them and take their purses or wallets. Use the money you find there to make your purchase. Sometimes they fight back and you have to hit them more than once, but over time you’ll get better at judging the strength of your blows.

young says:

@Gerard- Haha.. I take it you’re not interested in the book giveaway, eh?

Be'en says:

I can see how frugality can lead to cheapness! Have been guilty myself on several occasions.

young says:

@Be’en- ahh like today, my BF realized I was washing and reusing my ziplock bags and he promptly discarded all of my washed zip lock bags haha…. I think that that is an example of cheapness on my part!

Be'en says:

I would recycle ziplock bags or any other bags if in good condition… I guess, cheapness, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder!..

young says:

@Be’en- *cough cough* even for meat? 🙂

Be'en says:

LOL.. really!?.. yeah, your BF is right in this case!

young says:

@Be’en- LOL…can’t believe I admitted to the above in public lol!

SavingMentor says:

I guess I’m the only one who hasn’t done the double movie thing? I knew it was possible but I didn’t think it was quite right.

I actually think that most/all of these things are more morally wrong than what I posted here:

Good for a laugh though 🙂 Maybe I shouldn’t feel so bad about doing the old return with receipt swap trick to save a few bucks!

young says:

@SavingMentor- The only time I did the double movie thing was a teenager when I was spoiled, bratty, and rebellious. LOL I don’t think I could do it now though, I would feel too juvenile.

LOL I remember that article!! It was great 🙂

Shawanda @ You Have More Than You Think says:

I wonder if he has a tip on “borrowing” books, DVDs, and other forms of media. I consider myself to be a pretty ethical person, but loan me a book and there’s almost no chance you’ll ever see it again. Well, unless you spy it on my bookshelf when you’re visiting.

“Never lend books; no one ever returns them. The only books I have in my library are books other people have lent me.” – Antole France

young says:

@Shawanda- Ahh so that’s where my books are! You have them! 😉

I’m good at returning books, but I get peeved when I lend books out to people and I forget about them and they don’t come back to me.

Heh heh, that’s too stingy for me. The last time I double movie, I had a huge headache. That was years and years ago. I can’t handle 4+ hours of noise anymore.

young says:

@retirebyforty- Unless you’re watching a drama or a comedy movie with Mrs. RB40 😉

This sounds like a lot of fun. I had no idea it was going to be funny! Cheers!

young says:

@Roshawn- Yeah, it was a pretty entertaining read, that’s for sure. A bit shocking, but entertaining.

Haha I love it. I’d totally kick anyone’s butt that did that cubic zirconium thing, though.

young says:

@femmefrugality- And would we be able to tell…..? Hmmm that is the question….!

Aloysa says:

It is REALLY difficult to distinguish between a good quality of cubic zirconium and a diamond. One trick – cubic zirconium is easily breakable and diamonds are not! So just throw it REALLY hard on a flow, and you will know!

The books sounds like a lot of fun! I am in!

young says:

@Aloysa- haha that’ll show a lot of appreciation I’m sure 🙂 Okay good luck with the book giveaway!