Survival As a Happy Cheapskate?

When you’re prepping, you’re declaring your independence from “the system” in many ways. One way to do that is to live within your means–or below your means–financially. Is it possible to enjoy survival as a happy cheapskate?

Jeff Yeager, the author of The Cheapskate Next Door thinks so.

The full title is The Cheapskate Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of Americans Living Happily Below Their Means. This is a follow up to his first book, The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Road Map to True Riches.

In putting this second book together, he visited with a number of so-called cheapskates who answered questionnaires for him. He found people were more than willing to show off their lifestyle as one that’s happy and free of the things that weigh many of us down.

It’s not about being miserly or stingy. It’s about living below your means. Cheapskates know what it means to use things up, wear them out, and creatively recycle. They live “green” without intentionally being environmentalists.

Near the beginning of the book Yeager discusses the mindset of cheapskates. It’s an attitude of personal security, self reliance and confidence. I’ll summarize several key points.

  • Cheapskates don’t careabout keeping up with the Joneses.
  • Money is time. How long would it take you to work for that new pair of boots?
  • Value of purchases is held in high esteem.
  • Shopping isn’t a recreational activity or therapy. It’s done with deliberation.
  • Cheapskates almost never buy anything that later causes buyer’s remorse.
  • They know the difference between wants and needs. They understand delayed gratification.
  • The best things in life aren’t things. Happy experiences are cherished.
  • Most cheapskates are doing what they love.
  • Brand names don’t matter. Advertising doesn’t have much influence.
  • Cheapskates know change and progress aren’t the same.
  • They live debt free or are at least resist going into debt.
  • Many cheapskates feel responsible to a higher authority or a system of values and beliefs.
The Cheapskate Next Door isn’t a preachy, how-to book. Instead, it’s a showcase of examples and ideas. There are all kinds of cheapskates with all kinds of different ways of living their lives. Much depends on developing sensible habits.

Would you believe most cheapskates don’t have a budget? That doesn’t mean they don’t periodically track their spending. They make adjustments as they’re needed. And would you believe many cheapskates don’t have an emergency fund set aside? Oh, yes, they save money. But they do so purposefully in such a way as not to miss it.

Cheapskates also teach their children how to live with less. They know about not wasting food. That includes using leftovers, freezing and dehydrating. And they seldom eat out.

Cheapskates know how to negotiate prices down as well as swap and barter.

Living in smaller homes is often the mark of the cheapskate next door. That’s because they buy less house than they can afford. And they pay down their mortgage early.

You also won’t see a cheapskate driving a new car.

If you want to discover how others manage their money and lives, The Cheapskate Next Door is worth your time. You may already be living the cheapskate lifestyle as a prepper, but you’ll glean new insights from this book.

I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’d have to say I qualify as a cheapskate who comes from a family of cheapskates.

On the other hand, if I’d been better at it in past years, we wouldn’t have gone through the financial troubles we’ve had. Live and learn.

The Cheapskate Next Door is an easy, entertaining read. That makes the serious subjects covered easier to digest.

To buy your own copy of The Cheapskate Next Door, click on the book’s title wherever you see it linked in this post. You’ll be taken to the page where it’s featured. Add it to your cart to start the order process.

Of course, the author knows–and I know–that cheapskates will borrow the book from the local library. But if your library doesn’t have it, why not buy a copy and donate it? That way other library patrons can discover how to survive as happy cheapskates.


Additional Resources

Here are a few resources mentioned in The Cheapskate Next Door.

Rather than buy new toys for your children, discover possibilities offered through the USA Toy Library Association.

Be sure your charitable contributions are going to reputable, effective organizations with the Charity Navigator.

Here are a couple sites geared to reusing and recycling

Barter and swap goods and services.


Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.