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How to be a better cheapskate

Jeff Yeager is a cheapskate of the highest order. In fact, as he has dubbed himself, he is the Ultimate Cheapskate.

He’s the author of such gems as “Don’t Throw That Away! 1,001 ways to reuse your stuff,” “The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Road Map to True Riches” and “How to Retire the Cheapskate Way.”

This guy knows how to pinch a penny until it screams. In his book “The Cheapskate Next Door,” he points out that the bottled water brand Evian is actually the word “naive” spelled backward.

How can you not love this guy?

His research for “The Cheapskate Next Door” shows that cheapskates “are everywhere, and they’re loving life.” The book is filled with little tips on how to live well while living below your means. Here are some of my favorites.

• Bring groceries to work. It takes a lot of time and discipline to pack your lunch every day, so Yeager suggests packing it just once a week.

Buy all of your lunch fixings and keep them at work. Spend the first few minutes of your lunch break slapping together a sandwich or opening a can of ravioli. Grab a handful of chips, snap a yogurt off your six pack and you’re in business. It will be quicker than going through the drive-thru, and you’ll save money on gas.

• Skip extended warranties. In previous years, Best Buy has made more money on the sale of extended warranties than it has on the products it sells. Extended warranties rarely pay off as well for the people who buy them.

Most products come with a year-long manufacturer warranty and don’t tend to break within the first few years you own them. If they do, the cost of the repair usually costs less than what you paid for the warranty.

• Look for unclaimed funds. One out of eight people has unclaimed assets sitting somewhere, totalling an average of $1,000 per person, whether it’s an old security deposit or a few bucks sitting in a forgotten PayPal account, according to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.

Finding it and claiming it is easy. Go to and search your name. It will show any unclaimed funds, then give you steps to follow.

• Live closer to where you work. Taking into consideration the cost of gas, depreciation, insurance and maintenance; and based on a 16-mile commute, it costs the average American $4,000 a year just to get to work and back.

• Coupons, coupons, coupons. If you use coupons right, you can save a lot of money. If you stack your coupons and use them at the right time, you can even get things free.

Let the experts do the dirty work for you (coupon bloggers like, and figure out the best deals), then just clip the coupons and follow their instructions.

• Choose clothes wisely. Forget labels. Buy clothing that is durable, classic (not trendy) and doesn’t need to be dry cleaned.

Buy staples in just a few colors that go together so that everything can be mixed and matched. Take good care of what you buy and learn how to make simple repairs, such as sewing on buttons or stitching a fallen hem.

• Hang your clothes to dry. Not only will you save electricity, you will double the life of your clothing. If you do use a dryer, don’t over-dry them – leave them in just long enough to get them dry.