Living Rich by Spending Smart

Financial Times
Gregory Karp  
Total pages
January 2008
Related Titles

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Living Rich by Spending Smart
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As The Millionaire Next Door revealed, and millions of Americans now realize, building wealth isn't just about working harder or what you choose to invest in: it's about spending smarter. Now, award-winning Tribune Company personal finance columnist Gregory Karp shows how to do just that. This book isn't about depriving yourself: you don't have to become a "financial anorexic," and you won't have to start dumpster diving! Instead, Gregory Karp shows how to build real, long-lasting wealth by plugging the money leaks you're barely even aware of, and making sure you spend with a purpose. Drawing on everything he's learned writing his prize-winning weekly column, Karp reveals surprisingly painless, little-known techniques for eliminating wasteful spending in every area of your financial life. Karp shows how to spend on what you really care about, not what you don't... understand the real value of comparison money in giving gifts without becoming a cheapskate. Karp shows how to slash your phone bill... spend less on food without changing what you like to eat... eliminate spending leaks in insurance, education, entertainment and beyond. From the clothes you wear to the cars you drive, Living Rich by Spending Smart will help you build a life that's truly rich, because it's truly financially secure.


Do what "The Millionaires Next Door" did: build real, lasting wealth by taking control of what you spend!  

  • It's not about depriving yourself! Spending Smart is the one sure way to build wealth... and it's a whole lot easier than you think!
  • Easy ways to plug all your wasteful spending leaks: from food to phone service, car buying to gift giving, college tuition to prescription drugs!
  • For everyone who wants to take control and become financially secure, without gimmicks!

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Spending Smart Philosophy xiv

Chapter 1 Financial FITness: Whacking the Worst Offenders 1

Stockpiling Food for Savings: Bodega in the Basement 3

Coupon Clipping Conundrum: Hassle or Goldmine? 6

Dining Out: Celebrations Versus Poor Meal Planning 9

Life Insurance: It's Your Money and Your Life 12

Home and Auto Insurance: Don't Pay Too Much 16

Phone at Home: Pay Less for Your Landline 19

Wireless Mobile Phone: Don't Let Them Cell You a Bad Plan 23

Chapter 2 Know Thine Enemy; It Is Us: The Problem Between Our Ears 27

Smart People, Dumb Spending: Fire the Accountant in Your Head 28

Evaluating Value: Psychological Income 32

Impulse Spending: Harness the Urge to Splurge 34

No Excuses: The Lies We Tell Ourselves 37

Money Personalities: What Type Are You? 39

Shopping Addiction: “Shop Till You Drop” Ain't Funny 43

Chapter 3 What a Waste!: Pet Peeves and Hot Buttons 45

Bottled Water: Tap into Savings 46

Junky Insurance: Extended Warranties and Other Insurance You Don't Need 49

Timeshare Vacations: The Worst Real Estate Deal Ever 52

Smoking: Your Money, Up in Smoke 54

Ink-Jet Cartridges: Refill Rage 57

Lottery: Winning the Jackpot Isn't a Financial Plan 59

Textbooks: Get Schooled in the Alternatives 60

Hybrid Vehicles: Have a Nonfinancial Reason for Buying One 62

Greeting Cards Discarded: Special-Occasion Cardboard Rethought 64

Chapter 4 The Big Picture: Strategies for Spending Smart 67

Comparison Shopping: What's a Good Price? 68

Tracking Spending: Forensics on Your Finances 71

Rules of Thumb: Benchmarks for Spending Smart 74

Buying Tactics: When the Price Isn't Really the Price 77

Curse of Automatic Payments: Monthly Commitments Will Haunt You 79

Buying Used: Secondhand Gives You a Leg Up 81

Spending Windfalls: Don't Blow It 84

Membership Has Its Privileges: Savings by Association 86

Shopping Online: Geek Your Way to Savings 89

Chapter 5 Around the House Everyday Spending 93

Running Hot and Cold: Keep Your Bought Air Indoors 94

Gasoline: Fuel Savings with Better Mileage 98

Television: Tune In to Savings 100

Pets: Don't Let Fido Sink Your Finances 104

Prescription Drugs: Just Say No to High Prices for Meds 106

Library: Free Stuff Galore 109

Compact Fluorescents: See the Light 111

Lawn and Garden: Grow Your Savings 114

Eyeglasses and Contact Lenses: See the Price Difference 117

Clothing: Better Duds for Less 120

Chapter 6 Financial Foolishness: Overspending for Financial Services 123

Bank Accounts: Don't Pay Anyone to Hold Your Money 124

Credit Cards: Play the Game Right 127

Credit Cards II: Advanced Tactics 130

Debt Reduction: Finish Paying for Your Purchases 131

Index Mutual Funds: You Can't Beat 'em, So Join 'em 134

Identity Theft: What Protections are Worthwhile? 137

Chapter 7 That Time of Year: Seasonal Strategies for Spending Smart 143

Back to School Spending: School Daze 144

Holiday Spending: Ho, Ho, Ho. Where'd My Money Go? 146

Valentine's Day on the Cheap…Without Ending Up in the Doghouse 148

Tax Preparation: Frugal Ways to Pay Uncle Sam 151

Wedding Gifts: An Invitation Is Not an Invoice 154

Kid Birthday Parties: Rein in the Ridiculous 155

Amusement Parks: Costs Shouldn't Take You for a Ride 157

Vacation Accommodations: Hotel Versus Home Rental 159

Chapter 8 Life Happens: Big-Ticket Infrequent Spending 163

How Much Car Can I Afford?-Less Than You Think 164

Why Buy Used? You're Not Buying Someone Else's Problem 167

How Much House Can I Afford? Don't Be “House Poor” 170

Moving Costs: Getting Your Stuff from Here to There  172

Wedding Spending: Like Marriage, It's About Compromise 174

College Tuition: The Two-Year, Two-Year Plan 178

Divorce: Spending Less on Splitting Up 181

Hospital Bills: Rampant Mistakes Are Sickening 183

Funerals: Try to Bury the Pain and Guilt 185

A Final Thought: Buying Happiness 189

Index 195

Back Cover

“After 21 years of giving advice about your wallet on the radio, I thought I had heard it all and read it all. Then I read Living Rich by Spending Smart. Greg Karp has a clear roadmap to wealth that is yours for the taking. Follow his simple steps and you will take control of your financial future. Get FIT now!”

-Clark Howard, The Clark Howard radio show


“The book is full of practical information for trimming and redeploying spending, which is often given short shrift in other personal finance books. The author provides solid advice and solid writing on a topic that benefits from a fresh voice.”

-Liz Pulliam Weston, MSN Money columnist and author of Easy Money


“Greg Karp offers well-researched, practical strategies that can help anyone save big money on everyday expenses, and his entertaining writing style makes the book a fun read.”

-Stephanie Nelson, editor of and frequent guest on ABC-TV's Good Morning America


“Greg Karp gets it and you will too. His research and tips will help you keep more of the money you earn. Reading Living Rich by Spending Smart is the best way to give yourself a raise.”

-Steve & Annette Economides, New York Times Best-Selling Authors of America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right On The Money


“Wise people have always known it. Now Greg Karp lets everyone in on the secret. The surest way to living well is to manage your spending. Living Rich by Spending Smart is a simple roadmap that anyone can follow. And should!”

-Gary Foreman, editor of


“For every consumer who consistently fails to engage brain before operating pocketbook, this book provides simple, concrete steps to immediately take control of your spending.”

-Edgar Dworsky, founder of


As The Millionaire Next Door revealed, building wealth isn't just about working harder or what you choose to invest in: it's about spending smarter. Now, award-winning Tribune Company personal finance columnist Gregory Karp shows how to do just that.

This book isn't about depriving yourself. Instead, Gregory Karp shows how to build real, long-lasting wealth by plugging the money leaks you're barely aware of and making sure you spend with a purpose.

Karp's surprisingly painless techniques will help you eliminate wasteful spending in every area of your financial life. You'll discover how to focus spending on what you really care about...spend less on gifts without becoming a cheapskate...slash your phone less for food and still eat what you want...eliminate spending leaks in insurance, education, even entertainment.

From the clothes you wear to the cars you drive, this book will help you build a life that's truly rich because it's truly financially secure.


•Smart people, dumb spending
Why you need to fire the accountant in your head

What a waste
From inkjet cartridges to extended warranties

Achieving money victory: short-term tactics, long-term strategies
Win today's retail skirmishes (and your lifelong money wars)

How to pay less for the same entertainment
...without having less fun

Why comparison shopping is more profitable than you thought
Surprise: it's worth your time 


Gregory Karp is an award-winning, nationally published newspaper journalist. Greg's column, “Spending Smart,” is consistently among the popular personal finance columns in Tribune Co. newspapers each Sunday. In 2006 the column was named Best Column by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. Greg's writing regularly appears in such newspapers as the Chicago Tribune, Newsday, Baltimore Sun, Hartford Courant, Orlando Sentinel, and Allentown (PA) Morning Call. It also appears on the Web sites of such television stations as WPIX in New York, WGN in Chicago, and KTLA in Los Angeles. Greg often writes family money stories for Better Homes and Gardens magazine. He's a frequent guest on the morning show, Good Day Philadelphia, and appears weekly on RCN-TV in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. He maintains a blog at Greg lives near Yardley, Pennsylvania, with his wife and two sons.

Reader Review(s)

"Gregory Karp delivers the goods - by telling you exactly how to get those goods for less - in this supremely practical guide to smart spending.  From reducing your cable bill to the cost of your casket, this book is a gold mine of money saving advice." 

--Jeff Yeager, Author,The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches