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Slaying the 'Enoughasaurus' And Embracing Frugality

Jeff Yeager of Accokeek is promoting his first book.
Jeff Yeager of Accokeek is promoting his first book. (James A. Parcell - Ftwp)
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By Michelle Singletary
Sunday, February 3, 2008

With so much bad economic news coming out almost daily, you may be feeling overwhelmed. You may feel there's nothing you can do to prevent your own household from crumbling financially.

But you can do something. You don't have to wait for the official word that we are in a recession to start shoring up your own financial house. And this is true whether you are in a time of plenty or of economic woe.

Now may be the time to embrace frugality. It might be a good time to say, "Enough is enough." That is one of my personal mantras. It's also one that Jeff Yeager has lived by for most of his life.

Yeager has conquered what he called "Enoughasaurus."

"Conditioning yourself to spend less and to be content doing so is the way to slay your Enoughasaurus," he writes. "It's the only financial advice that will work for almost anybody -- at least those of us fortunate enough to be above the point of abject poverty."

I thought a long time about which book to recommend for this month's Color of Money Book Club. I wondered what advice would be appropriate for the economic state we are in.

I decided what's right for now is a book that starts and ends with a simple message. And that is: You can enjoy life more by spending less. It's a message that Yeager has been preaching for quite some time. He's become the go-to-guy for NBC's "Today" show on cheapness.

So my selection for this month's book club entry is Yeager's "The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches." His book is published, appropriately enough, in paperback by Broadway Books and costs $12.95.

I must reveal that Yeager is one of my penny-pinching followers. We met -- electronically anyway -- after he entered my Penny Pincher of the Year Contest in 2005. He didn't win, but we began communicating about all things cheap.

Yeager honed his cheapness while working 25 years as a chief executive and fundraiser for nonprofit groups. He also created the Web site http://www.ultimatecheapskate.com.

This is a fun book, full of nuggets about Yeager's frugality that make you want to cry out, "No, he didn't really do that!" Yeager provides useful tips on reducing your spending in major expense categories -- food, health, housing, transportation, technology and entertainment.

I was particularly amused by his cheapskate glossary. For example, under the entry for "debtor dementia," he writes, "A semidelusional state commonly triggered by assuming a home mortgage or other large debt. Because of the size and scope of the transaction, the dollars involved seem like Monopoly money and the idea that you'll ever live to see the loan paid off seems like a fairy tale."


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