Monday 28 September 2009

Tight Fist Tip #25: Don't Buy Nice Things

Seals In The Couchy Freshness, And Keeps Out The Grandma!

As much as we all hate it, sometimes you just need to buy stuff. Maybe there are better Tight Fisters than me out there who are willing to sit on their kitchen floor to eat dinner and jog seven miles each way to work, but you have to draw the line somewhere. So, when you have to buy some annoying material item (like say, a kitchen table or a bicycle), you have to a bunch of choices. But the central choice I'm going to talk about is this: do you buy the more expensive nice one or the cheap crappy one?

So, loyal Tight Fisters, what do you think the answer is? Well, if you said the expensive one take a deep breath then punch yourself in the face. Yes, you know you deserve it. But I can just hear you snickering "Oh wow, The Tight Fist told us to buy cheap stuff. Freaking revolutionary." But OK Mr. Snickerpuss, I hear you, but you haven't heard the rest of the argument.

See, buying cheap stuff isn't always obvious. For instance, sometimes you could make the argument that your expensive table will last longer and therefore justify its higher cost in the long run. Or you may say that your cheap bike will break so much that it won't really be of much use. These are decent arguments in certain circumstances, but in the end they are missing the central point. The point is not only that you save money by buying cheap stuff, but that you are also avoiding a life filled with stress and worry about stupid crap. Double score!

You see, when you buy some expensive odd or end, you immediately feel the need to protect your investment, resulting in ridiculous devotion to preserving your physical possessions at the cost of enjoying your life. Pretty soon, you ecome all emotionally attached to your stupid crap and it becomes a great excuse to do something that all big spenders love: STRESS OUT!!! 'Oh my god I can't park my car here! It might get keyed!' 'Holy Crap I Spilled Two Buck Chuck all Over My Versace Dress!" 'My Marge Simpson Hairdo Got Pissed On!' And so forth.

Ferris, he never drives it!
He just rubs it with a diaper!

As always, let's illustrate the point with a few examples:

1. Tables: Last time I checked, the point of a table is to put stuff on, and one of the things that is really convenient to put on a table is a nice cold drink. Wouldn't it be totally ridiculous if someone developed a table that would get completely ruined by placing a drink on it? Yes it would, but for some reason lovers of expensive tables seem to think that it is justified to use a table so expensive and crappy that you need to have a buffer between it and the drink. Just to be clear, if you ever purchase a table that you need to use a coaster on, YOU ARE A COMPLETE IDIOT! Plus you then become one of those annoying people who is always yelling at their guests for not using coasters, and your friends will all hate you.

2. Dishes: When you grew up, did your family have a whole freaking set of 'Nice Dishes' that were far too good for normal use? Because maybe by using them one may spontaneously explode, sending shrapnel everywhere? And even more comically, you probably couldn't put these dishes in the dishwasher because their incredible awesomeness was too much for the poor machine to handle? Seriously, buying something so 'nice' that you can hardly ever use it is just painfully stupid.

3. Bicycles: As seen in an earlier post, I certainly do support buying a bicycle. But remember people, the point of a bicycle is to get places. And when you get to said places, you need to be able to lock up your bike. And you know what thieves love? Expensive bikes! (Though remember, they hate checks.) So a good rule of thumb: if you are too freaked out to lock up your bike anywhere you might want to go, then you have bought a bike that is too stupidly expensive.

4. Rugs: Rugs are made to be walked on, and peoples' feet are dirty. What, do you expect them to levitate across your house? Also, there is a very good possibility it will get pissed on by a Chinaman.

I think that's enough for now. The main point is that if you are not emotionally attached to anything you own, then when it gets broken/stolen/lost/pissed on, you just don't care. Now if that isn't a liberating lifestyle change, I don't know what is.


  1. A tip I recently picked up that should be useful for all those West-Coasters out there: Burning Man attendees tend to offload all the cheap bikes they buy to ride around the festival right after they get back in early September. If you've got storage space, you could even buy low, hold onto them for a year, and sell high right before Burning Man the next year! Credit to Jesse for this one.

  2. Dude, chinaman is not the preferred nomenclature.

  3. I recently bought a bike that is way too expensive and feel afraid to lock it up. Likewise with an electronic piano - I'm always worried it will be taken. Hmm, these are wise words.

    Nat: LOL

  4. I think that was a dig on Jeff. Did Jeff piss on your carpet?

  5. Once again Tight fist, this post is gospel. I know you walk the walk because most of the people who posted here today have experienced the benefit of the UG-MO Goldsmobile. What was its sell price, $150? Very classy "beater". In terms of life experiences, Berkeley been berry berry good to you!

  6. What's the deal with the "chinaman" reference?

  7. The Haggle Baron2 October 2009 at 22:36

    How come every Jewish home I go into, I see a very expensive set of silver or gold dishes? They're always sitting in a glass case for everyone to see but I certain that they never get used.

  8. A word of caution - VERY cheap bikes (target) tend to break within MONTHS of purchasing them new. One is definitely better off buying a good used bike (something Japanese from the 80s). They are still unattractive to thieves, but will last much longer, making replacing the tubes and other routine maintenance worthwhile.

  9. I never pissed on Dan's carpet but I'm definitely going to now. I'm going to piss on his bed too, hopefully while he's in it.

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  11. Jeff that's kinda kinky. I don't think I'm secure enough in our relationship yet to be comfortable with that step.