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Broke-Ass Stuart’ breaks the mold, brings out beauty of being broke

Broke-Ass Stuart's Guide to Living Cheaply' is in stores now.

If you go to any bookstore or library, you will find hundreds of people smiling at you from the cover of their latest guide meant to transform your life from the dorm days of ramen noodles to high-class dishes that you can’t even pronounce.

But among the torrent of financial self-help books that are supposed to help you get rich, there is one that embraces the broke-ass person inside everyone.

“Young, Broke & Beautiful: Broke-Ass Stuart’s Guide to Living Cheaply” is Stuart Schuffman’s ode to all things cheap and functional for those who have to squeeze every penny until it screams. This manifesto of the miserly details how to save money in just about every facet of your life, from leisurely activities like dating and travel to the fundamentals for survival: food and sleep.

With suggestions like foraging or dumpster diving for food or sleeping in a park while praying the police won’t find and arrest you, some of these tips are not for the faint of heart.

But even if much of the book reads like a survival guide for vagrants (who are probably more likely to use the book to insulate their jackets than read it), Schuffman also supplies a great deal of specific tips and resources that are bound to stem the flow of a hemorrhaging bank account.

Including websites and organizations that offer textbook exchanges, free lodging for a few nights or severely reduced meals at restaurants, “Young, Broke & Beautiful” seems like a window into a secret underground world that caters to an anti-materialist philosophy, which is a driving force behind the book, Schuffman told The Lantern.

“More than anything, I’m just trying to let people know that it’s OK when the things that you own don’t own you,” Schuffman said. “What’s important is the experiences you have and cool s— you do with your life.”

Schuffman’s neo-bohemian point of view mixes well with his blunt language and low-brow humor to add a funky, vigorous voice to a genre that can often come off as paternal and self-righteous.

Unfortunately, along with Schuffman’s departure from the self-help herd in content and point of view, readers will also find a number of repeated anecdotes and typos that suggest Schuffman was unable to come up with a cheap way to copy edit. But for those who are not offended by a lack of professional polish (read: full of curse words, insults and stories you would not tell at Thanksgiving dinner), “Young, Broke & Beautiful” is a fantastic reference book that defines what it means to break the bonds of slavery to that almighty dollar.


Grade: B+

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