The Penny Pinchers Club

Book Review.  The Penny Pinchers Club by Sarah Strohmeyer, 2009

My frugal self borrowed this from the new selections at the library.  Glad I did.  This is a funny author, who does her research on contemporary topics.  Having lurked in several “frugal” discussion boards in my time, and having participated zealously in some, as well, I can say she developed her characters’ attitudes spot on.

The Penny Pinchers Club helps the main character get her spending and saving under control in anticipation of an upcoming divorce.  Unfortunately, the divorce storyline takes front seat to the Penny Pinchers.  But this group of financial misfits is hysterically accurate in their approach to ultimate frugality.  From clipping coupons to Dumpster diving, they run the gamut of the people you’ll find on the Internet (or maybe in your very own hometown!) who proudly boast of their cheapskate endeavors. 

I’ve met online some very strict freegans, gals who actually made money grocery shopping — legally — and folks who could live for months without spending a dime, except for water and electricity.  Serious people, these.  And the characters in this book are based on some of them, I’m sure.  A few personality quirks from the author make them even more enjoyable.

This would probably not happen in Omaha, but I have heard many times of this in other cities, mostly out East.  In the book, the frugalistas get into an argument with a store manager who doesn’t want them “ripping him off” with sales/coupons/rebate combinations.  The fight gets loud, and the women get tossed out of the drugstore.  Over feminine hygiene products.  My observation of Omaha (having lived “out East”) is that the managers, for the most part, are happy to have customers patronizing the store, and if we get wonderful deals, then that’s just great.  I have run into a few uninformed clerks and cashiers here, though.  Minor frustrations in the long run.  And I must admit I don’t do rebates anymore, but in the day, it really was a rush.  I still don’t go to Walgreen’s regularly, but that’s another story.

Strohmeyer acknowledges her online research, and cites several sites and blogs she has used.   I admire that, because many authors would like to leave you with the impression that they’ve done “real research,” gumshoe style.  Internet research for this subject matter is probably the most revealing, anyway.

Get the book from OPL; I’m returning it tomorrow for  you.  You’ll see a little of yourself in there, I promise.


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