JEFF YEAGER spent 24 years working as a CEO and senior executive with national nonprofit organizations in Washington, DC before launching his career as a freelance writer, public speaker, and broadcast journalist in 2004.
Specializing in an offbeat blend of original humor and practical advice for living a better life with less, Yeager was dubbed "The Ultimate Cheapskate" by the NBC TODAY Show, where he periodically appears as a guest correspondent.
His work is featured on his website, www.UltimateCheapskate.com, and regularly appears in The Dollar Stretcher publications. His first book, The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches, will be published by Random House / Broadway Books in January 2008. Yeager is a popular guest on the nationwide talk radio circuit, and he appears regularly on WARW's Stevens & Medley Morning Show in the DC market.
During his career in the nonprofit sector, Yeager served as the CEO of the American Canoe Association, the oldest recreation-based waterway conservation in the U.S. (founded in 1880) and a National Governing Body of the U.S. Olympic Committee. Previously he served as director of the American Youth Hostels, the U.S. affiliate of the International Youth Hostel Federation. He also served as the director of fundraising for the Partnership for Public Service, a think-tank based in Washington.
In 2004, at the age of 46, Yeager realized something startling. Because of the experience he gained as the self-proclaimed "Titan of Tightwads" in the nonprofit sector and the positive impact those same management techniques had on his personal finances, Yeager realized that he had reduced his dependency on money to the point where he could retire. Or rather, as he likes to say, become "selfishly employed," free to pursue whatever interests he chooses, without inordinate worry over a paycheck.
Since leaving the work-a-day world, Yeager has done just that. As an active volunteer, Yeager serves on the boards of four nonprofit organizations involved in education and the environment. But most of all, Yeager has used his newfound financial freedom to pursue his passion for writing and multi-media journalism.
Jeff currently lives just outside of Washington, DC with Denise, his poooor wife of 24 years, and Gomer, his compost pile, the steaming envy of gardeners throughout southern Maryland. He grew up in rural Ohio, and is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Bowling Green State University. He was a Rhodes Scholar nominee and was voted funniest student in his fourth grade class.
Media Credits - During his career in the nonprofit sector and as a freelance writer, media credits for Jeffrey Yeager include the following: New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Detroit News & Free Press, Houston Chronicle, Budget Living, Modern Maturity, USA Today, NBC Today Show, ABC Evening News, Wall Street Journal, and Writer's Digest.
Award winning shorts stories by Yeager currently appear in the following books: 2008 Writer's Market (F+W Publications, 2007); Amazing Cat Tales (Linden Hill Publishing, 2006).
Professional inquiries regarding Jeffrey A. Yeager should be directed to: Stacey Glick, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management, One Union Square West, New York, NY 10003. Ph. 212-627-9100
The Ultimate Cheapskate Super Hero
- by Steve Morrison (Click on image to enlarge)
Born to Be Cheap
Matt Lauer recently said on the NBC TODAY Show that I've "turned pinching pennies into an art form." I have never felt so proud, and my wife has never felt so vindicated, as when the TODAY Show host spoke those words of praise and branded me the "Ultimate Cheapskate." Break out the box wine.
Being relatively new to the world of freelance journalism - but a born dollar milker - you can imagine my surprise when a producer from TODAY called me and asked if I'd be interested in working with them on a week long series about frugal living. I'd entered a contest in the Washington Post some months earlier (they were looking for the "Penny Pincher of the Year" and offering a top prize of $50, so I was psyched), and I didn't win.
But, through a bizarre series of events, my loosing entry form came to the attention of the TODAY Show. Although I've yet to receive the promised fifty bucks, I am now, in fact, the Ultimate Cheapskate. Just ask my wife, or Matt Lauer.
Now, the thing is, I really believe in this stuff, even though it can sometimes be as funny as heck. For example, as a general rule, I only buy my clothes at stores where I can also buy pork chops, in bulk. I also "recant" (as opposed to "decant") the liquor I serve my guests, pouring cheap brands into empty premium brand bottles that I keep on hand, a practice that has never, ever been questioned by my fawning guests. I use my salad spinner to quick dry paper towels and plastic bags for reuse, and I even inject leftover jelly into day-old donuts, if the plain ones are the only kind the bakery has on sale. And, the list goes on and on and on. Again, just ask my wife.
But the truth is, I am 47 years old and have spent my entire career working at relatively modest paying jobs in the nonprofit sector. Yet today I am essentially retired (or at least I have that option), having amassed a small but sufficient nest egg to support a simple but highly enjoyable lifestyle.
I do what I like, when I like. And, most importantly, I grant myself one of the greatest luxuries in life, which ironically is free, but only if you can afford it: I no longer associate with anyone I don't like. And how's your life?
I've read all the books about how to secure financial freedom and build wealth through savvy investing schemes, but, like most people, I've never been able to generate any significant, lasting wealth by following their magic formulas. In fact, for a long time my criteria for picking winning stocks was that if I could understand the broker's explanation of what the prospective company did for a living, it was definitely a bad investment. During that period, my best investments were in those companies engaged in businesses far beyond my level of comprehension. And then, well, you know what happened.
But my strategy in recent years - one that's available to almost everyone, regardless of financial means - deals entirely with the spending/consumption side of the equation. Simply put, I've learned to be happy, very happy, while spending less.
My perspective on personal finances is a natural outgrowth of my 25-year career in the nonprofit sector. As a program manager, fundraiser, and CEO of various nonprofit organizations based in Washington, DC, I spent each day of my professional life confronting the same financial challenges that face most American families. How are we going to pay for it all? And, even more important, what is the "all" we want and/or need?
During my years as a nonprofit manager, I learned a lot of tricks for getting the most out of limited financial resources. I became, in essence, a skilled, professional dollar stretcher. And, I've been able to successfully translate much of what I learned into similarly effective principles for managing my own personal finances.
I would estimate that 90% of everything that is written today about personal finances deals with the revenue side of the issue; that is, how to get more money in order to get more stuff (presumably to be happy). This is the fundamental point at which I, as a nonprofit manager and the Ultimate Cheapskate, part company with the majority.
What little is written about the spending side of the equation usually strikes me as either terribly naive or incredibly obvious, and in many cases both. An example of the former is the advice being preached by so many of the big name financial pundits these days. They advise that if you simply give up your daily $4 cup of Starbucks, all of your financial woes will be resolved. I think this is totally unrealistic, absurd advice, but it appeals to all of the same people who want to believe that they can lose weight and keep it off without making any substantive commitment or lifestyle change.*
Then, on the other end of the spectrum, are the poor souls who spend their entire lives clipping coupons and finding new ways to stretch a can of tuna. I'm not carping on these folks, because they're generally great people with good hearts.
But, I believe there's a third way, a way to lead a highly rewarding, enjoyable, satisfying life, without needing to generate and spend a lot of money. In fact, since the act of generating money is so often an unpleasant one, doesn't it stand to reason that the more time you spend doing it, the less happy you'll be? It has as much to do with defining what "all" is for you than it has to do with acquiring the skills and knowledge to pay for it.
That's why my mantra is "Spend Less AND Enjoy Life More." You don't need to choose.
So, that's who I am, what I believe, and why I believe it.
- Jeffrey Yeager, The Ultimate Cheapskate
(* For an article I wrote a while back on this subject, as well as a number of other articles I've written, please visit the excellent Dollar Stretcher website at www.stretcher.com)
Looking for a humorous speaker with an important message that's of interest to almost everyone? Jeffrey Yeager, the Ultimate Cheapskate, has more than 20 years of public speaking experience and is available to speak at conventions, conferences and other gatherings of all types and sizes.
Combining his original brand of humor with a meaningful and timely message about the virtues of living on less, Jeff's audiences are bent over in laughter one moment and reflecting thoughtfully about what they really want out of life the next. Having spent 25 years as a CEO and top executive in the nonprofit sector, Jeff has a unique and valuable perspective on spending less and enjoying life more. As a freelance writer and guest on the NBC TODAY Show, Jeff's role as the Ultimate Cheapskate is quickly earning him a national reputation as a humorist with something more than just humor to offer.
And, as the Ultimate Cheapskate, Jeff is the only national speaker around who doesn't charge clients extra for his travel expenses! "Because it's coming out of my fees, you can bet I'm going to travel on the cheap and save us both a ton of money!"
For more information about having the Ultimate Cheapskate speak at your next convention or other event, email him at UltCheapskate@aol.com.