Jeff Yeager, nationally known author and self-proclaimed "Ultimate Cheapskate," combines a humorous approach with a serious subject that many Americans would rather not examine too closely—their spending habits. In his most recent book, How to Retire the Cheapskate Way (2013), he looks at spending smart and focusing on what you really want out of life. Yeager firmly believes that spending less and consuming less can lead to a happier outlook and, ultimately, a greener planet.
“The books I write are not about how to get rich; they’re about how to get happy, perhaps with what you already have,” says Yeager. “I write absolutely nothing about stocks or investing. I write only about the spending side, which if you stop and think about it, is at least as important as the earning side."
He explains, "We can’t dictate the return on our stock portfolio, but most people have at least some degree of control over what they spend. That’s really where I zero in and try to make the case that in almost any kind of lifestyle you lead, you can choose to spend more or choose to spend less. Oftentimes when we choose to spend less the results are at least as good if not superior to when you choose to spend more.”
Yeager, who is 57, and has retired from his “real” job, says he really started focusing on the idea of consuming less when he worked for nonprofit organizations. “And the culture there has always been: if you don’t have a lot of money to work with you have to find creative ways to solve your problems.” So Yeager got creative and began a career writing and speaking on the topic of making do with less.
“I call us Cheapskates to get people to listen to what’s ultimately a pretty important message, about happiness, and money, and stuff,” he explains. “It’s not about sacrifice or deprivation; it’s all about the choices we make in life.” His other books are: Don’t Throw That Away (filled with ideas for repurposing items), The Cheapskate Next Door, and The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Road Map to True Riches.
Yeager insists that the best things in life really aren’t things and they don’t come with a price tag.
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