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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Author’s money-saving ‘Secrets’ not recommended to adults

    Lisa Earle / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Phil Villarreal, a University of Arizona graduate, reads his new book Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel. The book promises 100 Dirty Little Money-Grubbing Secrets including how to dine out on a budget and avoid bank charges.
    Lisa Earle / Arizona Daily Wildcat Phil Villarreal, a University of Arizona graduate, reads his new book “Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel”. The book promises “100 Dirty Little Money-Grubbing Secrets” including how to dine out on a budget and avoid bank charges.

    Phil Villarreal’s new book “”Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel: 100 Dirty Little Money-Grubbing Secrets”” is an amusing guide to saving a few dollars, inspired by college life and the not-always-life-sustaining paychecks that come with it.

    “”It really stems from my time in college when I was a freshman living in Kaibab (Residence Hall), and I was absolutely, completely dirt-poor,”” said Villarreal, a reporter for the Arizona Daily Star.

    “”A lot of college students go through that: you’re poor, but you’re in the exuberance of not living with your parents anymore, so you’re still having a good time,”” Villarreal said. “”But you’re thinking of creative ways to get around things and save as much as you can and stretch whatever money you have as far as you can.””

    This book is not Villarreal’s first published work.

    “”I actually self-published a book last year ‘cause I had this obsession of getting something in print before I turned 30,”” he said. “”That book was called ‘Stormin’ Mormon,’ but that wasn’t fulfilling to me, because anybody could self-publish a book.””

    On the eve of his milestone birthday, Villarreal found a literary agent to pitch “”Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel”” to publishers. In February, a publisher decided to pick up the book, and it was in stores by late August.

    “”That was the thrill of a lifetime there. That was what made my dream come true,”” Villarreal said. “”It’s been a really fast whirlwind and it’s been amazing.””

    Villarreal believes that the state of the economy helped convince the publisher to choose his book.

    “”By then, we were deep into the recession, and I think that’s why the publisher was willing to take a chance on the book,”” he said, “”even though there’s some controversial things in there, but people are looking to save money, people are losing their jobs, let’s take a chance on this.””

    “”Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel”” is full of tips that would be best implemented by college students.

    “”They were funny but they wouldn’t go very far,”” Villarreal said. “”They’re things you can’t really do as an upstanding adult that maybe you can do when you’re in college or when you don’t have responsibilities and you’re not an ‘official real world grown-up.'””

    While the book does contain some money-saving ideas that could be put to use, such as seeking out free promotional t-shirts or taking extra ketchup packets from fast food restaurants, others probably shouldn’t be tried.

    “”There’s a lot of dirty type things that are more fun to laugh at than actually do. I’m probably a horrible person for thinking of them, and then if you do any of them you’re a borderline criminal,”” Villarreal said with a laugh.

    Some of those tips include passing a cubic zirconium ring from Wal-Mart off as a family heirloom and reusing leftover milk after eating cereal.

    “”I remember being in college and living in Kaibab, and the only place that was easy to get milk was this vending machine that was in the lobby and it was like a dollar for like a half pint of milk,”” Villarreal said.

    “”So I would go down there, and I would get that milk because I liked to eat cereal every day. I would pour that into whatever generic cereal we were eating that day, Marshmallow Mateys probably, and then I was finished, and you’d have that little bit of milk left at the end, and I would actually pour that back into the carton to save myself from having to buy more.””

    Villarreal is not recommending that people follow every single one of his “”secrets,”” but hopes that they themselves will brainstorm other horrifying ways to save money.

    “”What I’d like it to do is start a conversation about really awful things that you can do to save money,”” he said. “”I think things like this occur to people in their daily lives, like ‘what if I did this, but no, that’d be horrible.’ I took all of those ideas that came to me and put them on paper.””

    An upcoming book signing at the UofA Bookstore gave Villarreal a chance to remember his years as a student, and to measure his successes.

    “”You graduate from U of A but it really doesn’t graduate from you; even though I’ve been out of college for almost 10 years, it feels like I just graduated and I’ve only been out a few years,”” he said.

    “”It’ll be a sense of triumph to see that maybe I’ve made something of myself. I’ve got a book out, I’m talking about it here at the UofA Bookstore and I’m signing them. I think that will be something that will really go down in my memory.””

    Phil Villarreal will be signing copies of “”Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel”” at Barnes and Noble, 5130 E. Broadway Blvd., at 7 p.m. Friday. He will also be appearing at the UofA Bookstore Sept. 29 at 4:30 p.m.



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