Jeff Yeager’s wife, Denise, knows better than anyone how frugal her husband can be. This is a man who soft-boils his eggs in the dishwasher (with the dirty dishes), funnels box wine into premium-label bottles and serves it to dinner guests, and has even attempted to make a sweater out of dryer lint. For most of the couple’s 24 years of marriageâ€”or “three-and-a-half good years,” as Denise jokesâ€”her hubby’s miserly ways were familiar only to family and friends. Then Today show host Matt Lauer referred to Yeager, 50, as the “ultimate cheapskate,” and he became known to millions as the cheapest man in America.
Now our “Commander in Cheap” has written a bookâ€””The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Road Map to True Riches: A Practical (and Fun) Guide to Enjoying Life by Spending Less” (Broadway)â€”in which he unabashedly reveals many of his quirky, money-saving tips. While the book’s tone is lighthearted, Yeager’s underlying messageâ€”that Americans would enjoy life a lot more if they learned to spend and consume lessâ€”is decidedly serious.
Failure spoke to Yeager at his Accokeek, Maryland, home to gain further insight into his less-is-more approach to personal finance. Among other things, we discussed his concept of “fiscal fasting,” why he chose to do his book tour by bicycle, and whether he’ll change his lifestyle if he becomes a wealthy, successful author.