A List 

The Tennessean’s Ms. Cheap, Mary Hance, wrote a fascinating Sunday profile of local environmental activist John van der Harst, whose frugality and opposition to shameless consumerism are legendary. (He even reuses tissues to dust his apartment.) Here are some other ways John minimizes cost:

♦ If he can’t afford to buy something at Target, he just takes it.

♦ Gets investing tips from Lamar!

♦ Always returns DVDs from Blockbuster on time.

♦ Bought his latest, fully loaded Chevy Suburban with cash.

♦ Uses Tennessee’s state education budget as a model for his own personal finances.

♦ Has bet against Vanderbilt football for the last 27 years.

♦ Eats at Sunset Grill after midnight to take advantage of the eatery’s special low-price menu.

♦ Keeps a diverse portfolio consisting of blue-chip and small-cap stocks, municipal bonds and real estate to minimize major losses in the event of a double-dip recession.

♦ Uses toenail clippings as tooth picks.

♦ Flies Southwest.

♦ Fertilizes houseplants with, well, you know. (That also cuts down on the sewer bill.)

♦ Makes it a point to shack up with dates so as to take advantage of their shower, air conditioning and refrigerated food.

♦ Yep, he’s the guy that buys Pabst Blue Ribbon.

♦ Buys his blazers and khakis from the same store where Metro Council members shop.

♦ Buys gourmet coffee, imported cheese and Belgian chocolate directly from the wholesaler.

♦ Reads The Wall Street Journal online.


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