Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems

Jeff Yeager may have been recently crowned the world’s Ultimate Cheapskate, but he didn’t earn the title overnight. “I grew up in the mid-west, in a middle-class family, and being frugal was the way people lived,” Yeager explains. “… Although I do come from a long line of cheapskates.” Yeager, now 50 and retired from a career in nonprofit work, recently published his first novel, The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Road Map to True Riches. Part self-reflective humor, part how-to guide, and part manifesto, the book describes how to “enjoy life more by spending less.” In it, Yeager explains how to cut costs; not just on the small indulgences but by answering the question, “How much do I need in order to be happy?”

But the book isn’t about sacrifice. Yeager explains that today we have more money than ever before, but more ways to spend it that don’t make us any happier. Add to the equation that America’s consumption practices are unsustainable, and it becomes obvious that it’s time for a change. Yeager recommends starting small, “I like the idea of taking a week out of any year where you and your family don’t spend any money,” he says. “It’s called a fiscal fast. Doing it for just one week will help those habits stick.”

Yeager also takes his own advice. To promote his book, he’s set out on the Tour de Cheapskates: He flies into a regional city, then bikes to his appearances and stays with people who’ve volunteered a bed along the way – and he’ll donate every penny saved to local libraries. Yeager will make a 500-mile round-trip in Florida, stopping over at Barnes & Nobles (1400 Glades Rd., Boca Raton) Tuesday at 7 p.m. for a signing. Visit www.ultimatecheapskate.com.
Tue., Feb. 19, 7:30 p.m., 2008

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John Linn