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Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel Review

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Secrets of a Stingy ScoundrelBy his own admission, Phil Villarreal is a stingy scoundrel. I didn’t know much about him before I received his book, other than how he also wrote articles for The Consumerist from time to time, but his book – Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel is an awesome and educational read.

The book contains a hundred little tricks and hacks that will save, or earn, you some serious money. He admits that while his advice does contain “a few splashes of innovation,” much of it is common sense – and it is. However, if the Darwin Awards are any indication, common sense is in short supply and we could all use a little refresher.

Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel

I’m sorry to say but money saving tips type of books are a dime a dozen. Unless you pack it with hundreds of tips, as Trent did in 365 Ways to Live Cheap, Kerry did in 397 Ways To Save Money and the Wise Bread crew did in 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget (WB: “I see your 300-something tips and raise it to TEN THOUSAND… and one.”), you’re going to have a tough time competing.

However, this book is worth picking up because he has two things going for him in Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel:

  • These tips are meaty. They aren’t your “use dryer sheets to de-static your clothes (tip #1), use dryer sheets in luggage to prevent musty smells (tip #2), use dryer sheets…” type of tips. You can pack in a few thousand of those in no time. His are multiple pages long and designed to save you dollars more often than cents.
  • He’s hilarious. He’s self-deprecatingly funny as he teaches you the “black arts of scoundrel-ism.” None of the books I listed before are funny. They are straight-forward, a bit dry, useful, but not funny. Phil’s book is a hoot to read.

I was tempted to explain one of the 100 dirty little money-grubbing secrets but any summary would take away from the enjoyment of the book. His ability to turn his scoundrelism into humor is awe-inspiring. Some of his tips include his little hack for beating any of those fast food games, like the MacDonald’s Monopoly game or the Scrabble game. You have tips for getting into free movies, getting free swag (scamming banks no less), and all sorts of other little hacks. And all throughout the tips, his writing is funny and entertaining.

So, my recommendation is that you should buy the book, read it, and then return it. It would put a smile on Phil’s face. :)

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10 Responses to “Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel Review”

  1. Ben says:

    Buy it, read it, return it… funny :)

  2. Jesse says:

    I’m a little over half way through and I agree, I’ve never read anything related to anything useful that was quite as entertaining ;)

  3. John DeFlumeri Jr says:

    Thanks for your review. I will get the book!

  4. EsH says:

    As someone who works at a bookstore, I would recommend NOT being unethical and returning it after you read it. If you want a book to read and return, go to the library.

    • daemondust says:

      Good luck getting your library to purchase anything. Here the library is funded through property tax, which basically means they’re broke right now.

  5. Alan says:

    Thanks for the review…sounds like its worth the read!

  6. Daniel says:

    I can never say no to book that’s a “hoot” to read. And it’s useful too? That’s a rare combination.

    Dan
    Casual Kitchen

  7. Susan says:

    I requested this from our local library after reading your review. My request was fulfilled and I picked it up earlier this week. This is an easy, hillarious read! I haven’t finished it, but was laughing out loud multiple times. Much of what is suggested isn’t something I would dare to do (and I am a bargain hunter extreme), but it is entertaining.


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