Clark HowardBe still, our cheapskate hearts: Clark Howard, the HLN TV host and founder who parlayed his frugality into millions, has come out with a new book called Living Large in Lean Times (Avery Penguin, $18).

Simply put, Howard believes you can get rich off the money you don't spend. How deep does Howard's thriftiness go? Well, Howard would probably rather feed a rabid squirrel than a parking meter.

The lengths he has gone to avoid parking fees constitute the "dumbest thing" he has ever done in his skin-flint life, he tells DailyFinance. In one year alone, he had his car broken into five times because he insisted on parking in sketchy neighborhoods where parking was free.

Recently, in Manhattan, the Atlanta native and resident left his car on a block in the East 80s, where the parking was gratis. That time, a thief didn't get him. Horrible luck did. A window fell from a condo 40 stories up and smashed into his car. "If that's not karma telling me my cheapness is too extreme, what could it be?" he says.

Howard came by his penny-wise ways as a young adult. He had been growing up on "the silver spoon plan" until his father was fired and told him he would have to earn his own way through college. He re-registered as a night student and got a full-time job.

Older, but Miser

After building wealth in the travel business, Howard began spreading the gospel of economy. He says he hopes readers of his book will immediately apply his advice to put $200 to $300 a month back into their family coffers. He lives what he preaches, too, rigging his Prius to get 110 miles a gallon. (His wife owns two Mercedes.)

Some of the bigger Living Large budget tips revolve around auto ownership, one of the great cash-suckers out there if you're not careful, Howard warns. As a general rule, he urges consumers to hold on to their new cars for 10 years -- and used cars for four years -- to earn early retirement. He isn't kidding. You'll save so much money, he says, "You'll have five more years of watching your neighbor go off to work while you goof off."

Here are five other suggestions from the book, which includes includes more than 250 tips on saving money:

1. Shake the ink cartridge: Your printer's ink cartridges often indicate they're empty when they're really as much as 60% full. Give 'em a good jiggle for a few weeks' more use.

2. Go to community college:
By all means, get your four-year degree from a hoity-toity institution, but spend your first two years at a community college, where you'll save tens of thousands of dollars. The sheepskin will still say Harvard or whatever. (Another option: Graduate in three years instead of four.)

3. Get free home-phone service for life.
Ooma, a gizmo into which you plug your Internet cable and your phone, is a gateway to free phoning forever. You can get it at Costco Wholesale for $179, according to the book.

4. Dry your razor blades. It's not the shaving that's wearing out your blades, it's the moisture, Howard discovered. He used one 17-cent disposable for a year, every day. Try it. Blow-dry the blades or wipe them carefully with a towel. Just what Schick (SCHK) and Gillette (G) want to hear, right?

5. Cut pills in half and ignore expiration dates, when you can. Many drugs are potent up to five years past their expiration dates, although you should definitely consult with your doctor to check on your specific expired drug before taking it, the book cautioned. And if a prescription is cheaper in higher-milligram doses, ask the doctor for the economy-size pills and cut them in half to fit your needs.

"I'm trying to get people to rethink how they can live their lives," says Howard, a 56-year-old father of three who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2009.

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I was listening to Clark discussing calling to Europe---I call Japan using the "call phone" on gmail ( we both have it) and also we both have webcams so we use this method too when we are on gmail. This is free as long as both have gmail. So using gmail calling Europe would go the same way. I was going to use the magicJack but realized we could use gmail and even see each other.

October 11 2011 at 9:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Credit cards are one of the wisest financial instruments when used as a CHARGE card. In other words, as long as one pays the card off monthly, many differing benefits are available depending upon what is desired are operable. Discounts on gasoline purchases, cash back, airline miles, cruise line credit are but a few of the extras from which to choose. Also, rather than draining one's bank account concurrent with a transaction, often the payment for a particular transaction may not be due for over fifty days. The key is self discipline. It is incredible how many Americans lack it, but for those of us who don't the use of credit cards is one of the few financial blessing left!

October 01 2011 at 5:00 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Dr. Jason Cabler

Great tips, especially on cars. We only pay cash for our cars now because we drove our previous ones for years after we paid them off and began sending the car payment to our bank account instead of to GMAC. We haven't had a car payment in 6 years and never will again.

Another way to be able to retire earlier or to get out of debt faster is to find ways to increase your income (it can be easier than you think) and put that money away instead of increasing your lifestyle.

I teach these concepts in my Celebrating Financial Freedom home study course. Anybody can do it, it just takes a little effort and dedication. You have to take action and make your own recovery, because the government surely is not going to do it for you.

September 08 2011 at 11:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The key is to learn to separate "needs" from "wants" and learning to prioritize. Be aware of the little, but recurrent, things that add up over the course of a year. For example, one of my coworkers has a large frothy coffee drink every after noon. Seems innocuous, but at the end of a year she's spent over 1000 dollars on coffee. Lunch out everyday workday on the average will set you back 2500 dollars or more. Pack a day smokers on the average spend 2800 dollars on the habit.

Pack a lunch and treat yourself to one lunch out a week. Skip the daily cappos, (and the calories) and make it a once a week treat. Smoking is an expensive hobby and brings with it myriad health issues. Find a way to quit.

I agree with giraffekeeper, going back to basics frees up money for the luxuries that make life fun.

August 09 2011 at 12:15 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

When I was a child, my mother made us change out of our school clothes as soon as we got home and put on our "glad rags". To this day, I still change my "outside clothes" once I return home and get into comfy, clean raggy clothing. People can't understand how I keep my clothes in such good condition and for so many years -

It is not unusual for me to have clothing for 10 years that look new and are always in style. I wash all my tops in nylon bags in cold water on delicate and then hang to dry. Keeps them from fading from rubbing in the washer and no fading from the dryer. Sure, I may need an occasional touch-up with an iron, but well worth the money I save.

Going back to basics or staying with basic gives me money for other "luxuries" or fun money.

August 09 2011 at 11:27 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

So, I have to wonder how much electricity I am using with my hair dryer over a year's time to save a .17 razor. And, better yet, if I used the razor to totally shave my head, I would not need the dryer and would not have to pay a barber 4 times a year for a haircut. I like to think I am wise with a dollar, but I am not going to some of the extremes offered here. I will wait a year and try to find his book at the local Salvation Army, second hand bookstore or better yet find it at the library. I am sure many of his ideas are good, but some sound as if you are spending a dollar to save a quarter. I think after the first 2 car break-ins I would pay the quarter for the meter rather than the $500 deductable to repair the car. That does not sound frugal to me. It sounds idiotic.

August 09 2011 at 11:20 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply


August 09 2011 at 9:42 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

he gets rich by saving you pennies what a scam

August 09 2011 at 8:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I REALLY disagree about the medicine. You cannot cut a perscribed medicine in half and expect to get the same value. AND medicines have an expiration for a reason. Or better yet, go ahead and follow his advise. You can take advantage of your insurance paying for a hosppital visit, unless you have opted out of insurance to save money.

August 09 2011 at 7:17 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to vicmee's comment

That is not what he is saying, he says get yhour doctor to prescribe your medication at higher dosage and cut the pill in half. the smaller dosage cost a lot more and a higher disage cost about the same or a little higher, thus it is cheaper in the lohg run

August 09 2011 at 2:01 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Spending more for something doesn't mean you are getting the best. For example if you buy the more expensive 93/7 ground beef for a hamburger, it will be dry when compared to a burger made with less expensive 75/25 ground beef.
I'm a four star chef and I'll tell you that caviar is fish guts. I serve it when requested, but I don't eat it and it's up to $1,004.00 a pound or more . It's amazing how many people hire someone to mow their lawn, do chores, etc. then sign-up at a gym to get exercise . One of the problems with having everything done for you and the easy life is there is no contrast and it's boring. For example, I purposely prepare a yummy beverage but set it aside for when I finish mowing the lawn and I'm thirsty and sweaty. It tastes better than any other way I drink it. I get more out of life than any billionaire....Alfred-

August 08 2011 at 8:35 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to alfredschrader's comment

I dont think you understood what C. Howard was trying to say. Ground beef wasnt one of the things he meant. Annika below me has it correct! I have now had my car for 13yrs and it is in great shape. I have had dealerships offer me over $5,000 for it. As far as medications go, you can ask a Dr for the higher dose if it comes in tablet form and cut it in half to save money. If you remember in the older days NOTHING came w/expiration dates and we didnt get sick from things. As far as wanting the finer things in life! You can have them if you can pay for them w/o using a credit card. If you need to use a card then you really cant afford it. You need to earn what you want in life and not put off paying for it til later.

August 09 2011 at 8:05 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ReneeR's comment

I use a credit card and pay the total amount each month. If I get robbed, I can stop the credit card. If I lose cash, I am out of luck. My friend lost her entire month's income because she was robbed. If you think it won't happen to you, you are mistaken.

August 09 2011 at 12:57 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down

Caviar is fish EGGS, not fish guts. Some 4-star chef you are.

August 09 2011 at 8:41 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rperin's comment

Well, where do you get them from? If you cut out my ovaries wouldn't you call them guts?

August 09 2011 at 9:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down