Local Author Unveils "The Cheapskate's Handbook"

Todays News


It began in the 1980s with a simple lunch—the humorist Mifflin Lowe and an advertising guy. “He bought everything on the menu,” says Lowe, “and left like a dollar and two cents as a tip.” The encounter weighed on his mind the whole drive back, when it hit him—The Cheapskate’s Handbook, a humorous guide to being the best cheapskate one could be. Lowe debuted the first edition in 1986, garnering two printings, hundreds of thousands of copies sold and translations into languages like Italian and Norwegian. Radio appearances, TV interviews and interest from the National Enquirer followed. Now a Bird Key-based children’s author, Lowe unveils the newest edition of The Cheapskate’s Handbook this Thursday, Nov. 16, with a pair of book signings at Bookstore1Sarasota.

Originally chock-full of thrifty advice for the conscientious cheapskate, lessons include how to avoid generous impulses, how to date (cheaply), how to dress (even cheaper) and how to tip (don’t), Lowe has more than doubled the original text for this second edition, expanding the read from a breezy 104 pages to a hefty 270. Revisiting and revising the text for 2017 audiences, Lowe updates for modern times (more computers, fewer payphones), but also tackles some new topics. Favorites such as “How to Get Invited to a Friend’s Summer House” and “How to Go On a Ski Weekend With Friends” remain, enhanced by new chapters on “Codger Dodging” (how to avoid elderly parents moving in) and the companion piece “Growing Old Disgracefully.” (“You’re not getting older,” advises Lowe, “you’re getting cheaper.”) Learn how to dissuade trick-or-treaters with candy corn instead of kicking them down the stairs (“You can’t, because they might steal your hubcaps.”), and why to avoid a second marriage (“You weren’t paying attention the first time?”).

It’s all tongue-in-cheek and meant in good humor, but the basis of all humor is honesty, Lowe reminds, and it wasn’t difficult to get back into the cheapskate mindset. “All you have to be is honest,” he says. Everyone has an inner cheapskate somewhere, it seems, but few are afraid to let it out. “People go on Jerry Springer and blandly assert they’re shoe-sniffers and dog-stranglers, but no one would say they’re cheap,” he says. By receiving this book, someone else can say it for them.

Book signings for The Cheapskate’s Handbook and meet-and-greets with Mifflin Lowe will be at Bookstore1Sarasota on Thursday, Nov. 16, at 11am–1pm and again at 5:30pm. 

Pictured: Mifflin Lowe in an original photo for the first edition of "The Cheapskate's Handbook." Photo by Gene Dwiggins.

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