By 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. 🙂