The Ultimate Cheapskate's secret to happiness

June 1, 2011 9:52:17 PM PDT
Jeff Yeager is proud to call himself a Cheapskate.

"Cheapskates like me, frankly, we're too self confident and too smart to spend money on things don't need and probably don't even want," said Jeff Yeager.

For his book, "The Cheapskate Next Door" he interviewed hundreds of fellow cheapskates and he says, recession or not, cheapskates tend to be happier than spendthrifts.

"Most Americans would actually be happier and the quality of their life would increase if they would spend less and consume less," says Jeff.

Jeff says studies show that consumers regret about 80% of their discretionary purchases within a year of having purchased them.

Because cheapskates tend not to buy on impulse, they have fewer regrets and less debt.

And he says there are some "cheapskate strategies" that everyone can start using.

First, wait to buy.

"They try to wait a week between the time they see an item in the store and when they go back to buy it," said Jeff.

Next, save twice what you need to make a big purchase, not only will that force you wait, but you won't feel broke once you buy.

Third, avoid plastic.

"If you spend cash, pay with cash, you are less likely to buy something and much less likely to spend as much on it," says Jeff.

And finally, think about depreciation. Even small items like toys and clothes are worth less once you buy them. If you shop re-sale, you're letting someone else pay for that.

Jeff says one of the silver lining of the recession may be that people do learn that spending money isn't the key to happiness.