How to be a happy cheapskate: Q&A with Jeff Yeager, author of The Cheapskate Next Door

Author Jeff Yeager
Author Jeff Yeager

In his latest book, The Cheapskate Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of Americans Living Happily Below Their Means (Broadway, 2010), the "Ultimate Cheapskate" Jeff Yeager (right) shares insights he gleaned from hundreds of self-described cheapskates. We sat down recently with Jeff and asked him to share some of what he learned with WalletPop readers.

Q: Many people cringe when they hear the term cheapskate, because they imagine that cheapskates are penny-pinching, gnarled up misers with 50 loaves of bread in the freezer who can't enjoy life because they spend so much of their time clipping coupons and arguing for discounts on the dented cans of food. (Or actually denting the cans so they can argue for a discount.)

But the picture you paint of the cheapskates you talked to is very different than that. You go so far as to say they are happier and think about money less than non-cheapskates! How is that possible, and who are these "Cheapskates" you interviewed for the book?