Living Large for the Long Haul, the latest foray into publishing from the radio host, consumer advocate, and former mayoral hopeful (?!), provides vignettes from fifty different types of savings success stories. Since Clark Howard lives in Atlanta, many of his examples come from the metro area. A few of our favorites:
Arthur Blank used a sale on fireplace screens to jumpstart Home Depot. Though he would go on to become a billionaire philanthropist, his home-improvement chain had a tough time getting off the ground. When it opened in 1978, Blank and his team couldn't even get customers to come into the store by handing out $1 bills in the parking lot. But word-of-mouth finally took hold after a little stunt. Blank tells Howard:
"Pat Farrah [a cofounder] had an opportunity to buy a truckload of fireplace screens at a greatly reduced price. Rather than applying a normal markup, Pat marked them up just two dollars and placed an ad in the newspaper. A fireplace screen that normally sold for $139 was advertised for $35, and people came in droves to buy them. We sold out in four days."
The King of Pops shaved his head as a kid. For money. Long before setting up shop at the corner of North and Highland and introducing Atlantans to some of the best handcrafted ice pops, Steven Carse was a kid who knew how to budget. Carse tells Howard:
"I think my mom has always been great at budgeting. I can remember when I was eleven or twelve, my mom had us write a proposal for our monthly allowance. We had to take everything into consideration, school lunch, haircuts, and fun stuff too, like movies, baseball cards, etcetera. I remember after that day I shaved my head because I used my money to buy a pair of shears and kept collecting my $11.99 per month that I had budgeted for haircuts."
Laura Turner Seydel gets her eggs from the four chickens she keeps at her home. EcoManor has garnered many awards for being an eco-friendly residence, and we wouldn't expect anything less from the daughter of eco-obsessed Ted Turner. However, we're most smitten by Seydel's apparent pension for free-range poultry. Because we love farm animals. Rutherford, Laura's husband, tells Howard:
"I give them away to neighbors because we produce more eggs than we eat. It's fantastic . . . Then the chickens walk around the yard and help fertilize so we don't need chemical additives."
BONUS FACTOID: Mark Meltzer, executive editor of the Atlanta Business Chronicle, co-wrote Living Large, and a number of other "Clark Howard" brand books. His side gig penning these must be a good way for him to work on his savings.
If you want to start saving now, the cheapest place to buy this tome is, per a cursory Google search, Overstock.com.*
*Update: A member of Clark Howard's team just informed us that the book is currently on sale at Amazon for $12.