Broke-Ass Stuart’s “Young Broke & Beautiful” full of great, cheap advice

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a lot of disposable income to spend on, well, anything. Actually, I basically have none. So, “Young Broke & Beautiful: Broke-Ass Stuart’s Guide to Living Cheaply” is great for people, especially college students, with a wallet as empty as mine.

Stuart Schuffman, known best by his pseudonym Broke-Ass Stuart, gives advice to readers on everything from where to score cheap food to date ideas that won’t cost an entire paycheck. The best part is that it’s written with so much humor that I had to stifle myself from laughing too loudly when I was reading in public.

Take his cheap date suggestion of a “fast food orgy,” for example. The description says, “Drive around to a few different fast food places and get stuff off the $1 menu, then attack your heart attack picnic. This is probably why people in couples get fat.” Witty, right?

Broke-Ass Stuart also has sections of his book by other writers who are just as clever and funny as he is.

One such contributor, Ashley Friedman, wrote a section called “How to Be Broke — The Upside of Being Unemployed.” Friedman writes about enjoying your time of unemployment with napping as one of the suggestions. How many times do you want to take a break from life and just nap it all away? I know I think about naps on a daily basis. One line said, “Remember: Every hour you spend asleep is an hour you’re not spending money.” Preach, Friedman, preach!

You might be wondering why you should consider taking advice from Stuart, which is a reasonable thought. After all, if one is broke, how are they even supposed to buy his book and start saving money? Doesn’t that sound like a contradiction?

It does, but it’s worth it.

Stuart began his “cheap-ass” career as a travel writer when he wrote the guide, “Broke-Ass Stuart’s Guide to Living Cheaply in San Francisco.” He first printed 50 copies of the original 33-page zine and quickly sold out of them. He went on to sell even more, won the “Best Local Zine” award in the San Francisco Bay Guardian’s “Best of the Bay” issue. From there, he went on television, had “Broke-Ass Stuart’s Guide to Living Cheaply in San Francisco” published as an actual book, wrote “Broke-Ass Stuart’s Guide to Living Cheaply in New York City” and now even has his own show on IFC.

So, in a nutshell, he’s kind of a big deal — and his book is brilliant and entertaining.

Some people might not be able to get over his plethora of curse words, but if you don’t mind it, it can actually enhance the humor. The reader soon finds out that he is not scared to write exactly what is on his mind, and it can still be surprising and funny to read descriptions like, “You probably already know this, but farmer’s markets are badass … you can often find stands selling everything from cheese to free-range meat to delectable samosas (like the dude in Santa Cruz, Calif. F---, those are good!)” in the section on food. You’ll either respect his blunt writing style or completely loathe it, but one thing is certain — Stuart has some splendid money-saving suggestions.

I particularly enjoyed the section about food. The section was full of neat ideas, recipes, websites and even a guide about how to behave in a restaurant — you know, in case you never learned how to stop acting like a toddler in public. However, you might find that another section benefits you better. Whatever you’re looking for, if you want to save money, this is a book for you.

Reach the reporter at mmattox@asu.edu

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