Money stinks. But that’s usually because we never have enough of it.scoundrel

Rather than running out to hold up the nearest liquor store, we can take some creative – albeit sick and twisted – money saving tips from Tucsonan Phil Villarreal.

Although Villarreal does rake in a regular paycheck with his gig with the Arizona Daily Star, that doesn’t stop him from amassing miserly ways to pinch pennies.

His book Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel: 100 Dirty Little Money-Grubbing Secrets, outlines ways to save cash on everything from movies to pet care.

A full day of flicks can be yours, he reminds us, with that joyful journey of theater hopping. Just pay for a single ticket for a matinee and spend the rest of the afternoon and evening enjoying everything that’s showing.

You can also bulk up your at home DVD collection – or make instant profit – by joining one of those Columbia-like DVD clubs, then sell all the 10 for a penny ones on eBay.

To even better the venture, he says, have the DVDs delivered to a vacant house, steal the delivery when it arrives, then call the club to say you never got them. Often you’ll get an extra batch at no charge, just itching to be sold.

“Exposure to such frauds is the price these companies pay when they’re too cheap to spring for delivery confirmation service,” Villarreal writes.

Vet care can be a massive expense, but good ole Phil tells us how to get the major work done for free. Say your pet is injured and needs surgery. Instead of running to the vet, run to the pound, he says. Drop off Fido, let the pound doctor fix him up, then re-adopt the doggie when he’s good and healed.

Make sure you pick a no-kill shelter, of course.

We can also save on our own health care. Just pretend not to speak English, Villarreal says.

“Leaning to say the words ‘No aspeaka’ in particular situations is the key to hacking hundreds off your yearly expenses and possibly thousands if you’re unfortunate enough to suffer a major medical emergency.”

Villarreal also offers way to save on our food bills. “Just as it makes no sense to buy Evian or get a satellite radio subscription, it’s nonsensical to buy things attainable in perfectly good, mini plastic squeeze packs at fast-food joints.”

This, of course, includes ketchup, mustard, mayo, relish, salsa and Arby’s sauce.

Save on milk by reusing it. Rather than slurping up what’s left after you finish a bowl of cereal, pour the cereal milk back into the container, a practice Villarreal discovered in college.

“By the time I was tapping the final drops out of the carton, the liquid was approximately 90 percent sugar-based and oh-so-tasty.”

Another money-saving food tip he learned in college was the weight-loss power meal. “Take a can of tuna, add a few squirts of steak sauce, slap the result in between two slices of bread and you’ve got a culinary masterwork that will satisfy your hunger and cause the flab to slip off your belly.”

Even Villarreal said he was hesitant about this one at first, but he soon learned it was a fitting dinner to compliment his breakfast of cereal and recycled milk.

Now we just need coffee and dessert – which we can also obtain through Villarreal’s stingy tricks.

“Coffee shops are like pudgy single women in their late twenties and thirties, or guys of any age or any weight for that matter – they are so desperate for attention that they are willing to give a lot of stuff away for free.”

Free cake samples, free Wi-Fi, free newspapers and magazines for reading or ripping off, free cushy chairs and maybe even a free coffee or two if you become a regular – like when you set up your home office there.

Pick a small, local shop, Villarreal advises, and don’t worry about getting kicked out as the “owners are paranoid that you’ll stop hanging out at their place at the first sign of discomfort and make for the nearest Starbucks.”

These creative money saving tips make robbing a liquor store seem so, well, pedestrian. Just make sure to pile up a stash of cash you can use for bail if the need arises.

To learn more about Stingy Scoundrel: 100 Dirty Little Money-Grubbing Secrets click HERE.

To get more traditional New Year’s budgeting advice, check out the commentary from Senior Vice President of M&I Bank Lisa George by clicking HERE.


Ryn Gargulinski is a poet, artist, performer and Ryngmaster who has never robbed a liquor store or recycled milk. She is, however, very cheap with paper towels. Her column appears every Friday on Rynski’s Blogski. Her art, writing and more is at E-mail

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Have you tried any of these money saving tricks?

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