A spendthrift interior designer, fearing that her economist husband plans to divorce and impoverish her, joins a support group of eccentric skinflints, in the latest from Strohmeyer (Sweet Love, 2008, etc.).
Without regrets, Kat jilted fiancé Liam, now a billionaire big-pharma exec, for her soul mate, Griff, a charismatic economics professor at a small New Jersey college. Twenty years later, daughter Laura is finishing high school, and Griff and Kat, always strapped for cash, are worrying about how to put her through NYU. A long-term factotum for Chloe, a social-climbing designer, Kat yearns to go independent, if only her paycheck weren’t already dedicated to paying off her ever-ballooning credit-card debt. She rationalizes her mall habit, Lexus SUV and daily venti lattes by arguing that interior designers have to ape their wealthy clients. When she discovers condom wrappers while laundering Griff’s pants, her busybody sister Viv goads her to investigate further. There’s a fancy restaurant bill, unusual for famously frugal Griff. Is he wining and dining his young, sexy assistant Bree? Griff has a secret MasterCard, and he has somehow diverted $10,000 to a separate bank account. Kat’s denial evaporates when she finds e-mail exchanges between Bree and Griff indicating that he is going to “break it to” Kat when Laura graduates high school. Kat has about seven months to amass a divorce contingency fund of $15,000. Enter the Penny Pinchers Club, endearingly fanatical misfits who introduce Kat to the secrets of samurai saving, e.g. swarm en masse in search of discounts and rebates, buy in bulk and freeze, etc. Kat is arrested while dumpster-diving with “freegan” former investment banker Wade. Griff and Bree are increasingly closeted, allegedly researching his book about a reclusive ex-Fed chairman. Liam resurfaces, seeking a designer to refurbish his new mansion. As Liam, still smitten, offers her a safe harbor, Kat is increasingly tempted to question the choice she made years before between financial security and the love of her life.
Thanks to Strohmeyer’s penchant for humor, Kat’s adventures entertain despite the transparently contrived plot.