Graduated Learning: Life after College

I got my degree, I got a job…now what?

Reviewing “Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel” February 25, 2010

Filed under: Books,Personal Finance — Stephanie @ 10:34 pm

I’ve seen quite a few reviews for this book.  It’s been out since last year, and I read a lot of personal finance blogs, so I guess I would see a lot of reviews.  But I never imagined I’d be asked to write a review!
Let’s go back a bit.  It all began when I was looking at the Money Crashers giveaway.  They had a huge list of sponsors, authors, and others related to the giveaways.  I decided to follow the new ones that I wasn’t already following, just to see what else was out there.

I started following Phil Villarreal.  (He’s the author of Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel).  Soon after, he followed me, added me to his “Money Mavens” twitter list, and then messaged me, asking if I’d like to review his book.  I was flattered!  Where do I sign up?! Well, he said if I sent him my address, his agent could send a copy for me to review.  Call me old-fashioned, but when a man I meet on the internet asks me for my home address, I might get a little weirded out.  I debated if I should just send him my address, seeing as he’s a legitimate person.  He also suggested I could buy the book if I was uncomfortable giving him my address.

Well, in true stingy fashion, I put it on reserve at the library.  Hooray free!  So, when I finally got to pick it up from the library, I was excited.  Here’s my first book that I’ve been actually ASKED to review!

You have to start reading this book with a certain mindset:  This is meant to be humorous.  If you’re reading the book with the hope that there will be nothing offensive in it, you’re going to be disappointed.  Don’t get me wrong, there actually are decent bits of advice in there.  The word on the street was that every suggestion was at least minutely morally wrong.  But he does have very good advice, like:

5.  “Don’t Smoke”:  pretty much self-explanatory
33.  “It’s in the Cars”:  don’t be afraid to haggle on a new car
39.  “Keep on Walking”:  don’t ever pay ATM fees!
41.  “Juice Doesn’t Taste So Good”:  Eliminate debt ASAP, take advantage of your 401(k).
42.  “Bank off”:  call your bank when they charge you fees and demand they remove the fees.

See?  It’s your typical personal finance advice!  Nothing to be afraid of!

Of course, some of the suggestions could make you feel a little icky.  You may question the ethics behind the different tactics.  Most of the tips encourage you to take advantage of the “big corporations”…since they’re the ones that are usually out to screw the little people anyway!   But, towards the end, he actually has a section devoted to the truly slimy actions that he hopes you don’t actually do.

Overall, it was a humorous look at the traditional personal finance books.  It also got me thinking about advice you read in other places.  Sometimes the time you put into something negates its value.  Spending hours and hours to save a small amount of money, or to get something you don’t even need at a major discount is not really your best plan.

I think it’s a good book.  It’s not too long (it only took me a couple days to read…and I’m a slow reader!), it’s funny, and it has plenty of advice!

So read it!  And let me know what you think!


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