Review of Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel

by Kevin on October 12, 2009

Several authors have contacted me in the past year or so and asked if I would be interested in reviewing their personal finance books. I’ve never done a book review while blogging, and I don’t have a template to go off of. But I love to read just about anything on personal finance so I threw caution to the wind and said yes.

This is the first of many reviews to come.

The first book I am sharing with you is Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel, 100 Dirty Little Money-Grubbing Secrets by Phil Villarreal. Phil is a syndicated film critic for the Arizona Daily Star and writes for Consumerist.com.

An Interesting Mix

When I first picked up the book I was caught off guard. I’m used to your standard, usually dry, straight forward advice when I read a personal finance book.

Not the case with Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel. Phil really took the word stingy to heart! What results is something of a mix of entertainment and decent advice. Again, this isn’t your normal personal finance book so don’t expect normal advice.

It caught me so off guard that I didn’t really enjoy the book when I first started it.

For example, one chapter gives the advice of keeping used cups from when you go to fast food restaurants. Why? So you can walk in nonchalantly, not order any food, and get a refill for free.

That type of advice doesn’t sit well with me. It’s essentially stealing from the restaurant. Definitely not something I would ever promote to my readers to attempt.

Is this advice tongue-in-cheek? I’m not entirely positive, but I certainly hope so.

Diamonds in the Rough

Amidst all of the off the wall advice are some solid tips that I found true value in. This is just a handful of what I really enjoyed:

  • Don’t own a watch
  • Don’t smoke
  • Why taking your date to a WNBA is a great personal and financial move (or shall we say… slam dunk)
  • Getting rid of your landline
  • Making money using credit cards

Why This Book?

You are at your favorite book retailer… sipping on your overpriced latte and  walking down the personal finance aisle. Hundreds of books available with advice to shore up your financial situation and challenge your thinking.

Why would you take Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel home with you over all others?

1. Phil writes in a entertaining style. Personal finance can be a very dry topic. You will not have that problem here. The book will make you laugh on one page, then hammer home a solid principle on the next. The writing style makes me think of Phil as Dave Ramsey’s second cousin — he would come to the reunion to brag about how everything he owns he got for free.

2. That entertaining writing style will keep you engaged while truly sharing some money saving tips with you. Again let me reiterate there were several tips in the book that I really disagreed with. I couldn’t tell if he was playing a joke on the reader or not! Yet the tips you do follow will indeed save you some serious cash.

3. Seriously. It’s $8.70 on Amazon. What’s the best way to start your stingy scoundreling than to purchase your scoundreling guide for less than $10? (Tip 101: Stealing it from the author’s home.)

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