Sunday, 12 December 2010

Tight Fist Tip #44: Get Married...Or Divorced



Ok Guys, No Need To Brag


Hey wouldn't it be cool if you could go to the courthouse and fill out some measly paper that would save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars on your tax bills? Well there is, but sneaky tax collectors don't want you to know about it! See, there is this little-known document known as a 'Marriage Certificate' that's pretty cheap to get that is basically a coupon for a big tax deduction. While specific tax rules vary by country, this trick is going to work in all kinds of places that have progressive tax systems. The only catch is that you need a partner to sign up, and in redneck countries (like the US) that partner needs to be of the opposite sex.

Why does this crazy 'Marriage Certificate' exist? From what I understand, it has to do with some vestigial concept of love and coupling that was popular in colonial times. I'm not really sure what that's all about, but for some reason it still exists in the tax code for Tight Fisters to take advantage of.
The Art of Deduction

Now, this trick isn't going to work for everyone. The reason the tax deduction exists is because when you get married the sum of your income and your partner's income is used to calculate the tax rate. In a progressive tax system (which most countries have), this means you will pay a greater percentage of your income once you are married. To dull this blow married couples get a bigger tax deduction. But if one partner doesn't work or makes very little, getting married will not bump you up a bracket but you will get the higher deduction. Score! So if you are a big earner, find a slacker without a job to marry for the biggest payday. If you are a slacker, find a money maker and agree to split the difference to get some free moola from Uncle Sam.

Plus, if you live in a backward country without public health care (like the US), this magical Marriage Certificate allows you to get on your partner's job-sponsored health insurance, which costs way less than buying it yourself. Double score!

And what if you make some good money and want to marry someone similarly income-heavy? Well don't, dufus! But fortunately, if you've already made stupid decision, undoing your mistake is super-easy. Again, just hop on down to the courthouse and undo your screw-up (it's called a 'divorce'). See, wasn't that easy?

Man, keeping money away from the taxman has never been so easy. But don't blow it all on your wedding, ok?

By the way, thanks to Barbara for this tip. Can't wait for your wedding!
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Questions about frugality? The Tight Fist can help. thetightfist@googlemail.com

Monday, 1 November 2010

Ask The Tight Fist: Buying Flowers For The Ladies



In The Old Days, Women Were Far More Self Sufficient


Dear The Tight Fist,

I was on the train today when a man sat down next to me with a load of flowers in his arms. This was not your average dozen roses, this was more flowers then I have ever seen. Seriously, I am not exaggerating, he had an entire tropical ecosystem in his lap!! I could not help but shake my head at the sheer waste of this venture, mentally try to think about whether or not this arrangement cost more then my rent this month, wonder how bad this guy messed up to have to show up with this, and wished you were present to give this guy a harsh tongued scolding at the wastefulness of his actions.

Now, I can't say that I am innocent of buying flowers; no man is. Girls are conditioned to want and expect flowers at certain intervals in a relationship. It's just so pointless!! Any thoughts about the pointless gift that is flowers, or other stupid presents we are conditioned to purchase? Any cheap and easy gift ideas that won't get you banished to pas-de-sex-ville?

James

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Dear James,

This flower craziness is a serious issue that needs to be dealt with. While maybe not as bad as the female's insatiable lust for diamonds, flowers are pretty frustrating. You can rationalize all you want about flowers being pointless and just wilting in a day or two, but you have to remember that females are not rational creatures, so trying to use logic is the first step on the way to pas-de-sex-ville. But here are some tips to dull the pain:
When giving flowers be sure not
to give ones associated with funerals
(Actual CNN Caption)

1. Keep the Expectations Away From Material Objects. If your ladyfriend gets jewellery, flowers, etc on early in the relationship, you are then forever screwed. Instead, if you are in a position where you have to give a gift, give a service, like planning a fun day out, cooking a nice dinner, or creating a totally creepy romantic homage website (see examples here, here, and here.) If your lady is worth a scratch she will appreciate these things more anyway.

2. Never Buy Roses on Valentines Day. Anyone who has ever made the foolish decision to buy roses on or around Valentines day knows the horror of Valentine's Day price gouging. If you think that simply ignoring flowers on V-Day is going to cause you serious pain, try this idea. Surprise your significant other with roses (and whatever other romantic crap you were planning) a week early. Not only will you benefit from the cheaper prices, but you get bonus points for surprise!

3. Never Buy From The Florist. As mentioned in an earlier post, it is never a good idea to buy at stores that sell only one type of thing, and florists are really the worst. Remember, if you tell him "just make me a nice bouquet", he will hear, "make me a bouquet that will put your daughter through college". At most decent supermarkets you can get nice bouquets for just a few bucks. Or even better...

4. Just Go Foraging. Dude, flowers totally grow out of the ground. Just roll up to your local meadow (or the yard of that creepy old lady down the street) and you can have a killer bouquet in no time.

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Questions about frugality? Ask The Tight Fist at thetightfist@googlemail.com

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Dating Tips For The Guys



Might As Well Be Honest

There are many strong men among us who usually dutifully follow the code of Tight Fisting, but have a painful Achilles Heel when it comes to the fairer sex. You may be happy to cook rice and ride a bike for yourself, but as soon as a tall, curvy seductress comes in the picture you're booking the taxi to the Michelin restaurant. Shame on you! Every good Tight Fister knows that you don't have to spend money to impress the opposite sex, and that doing so will only bring you sorrow.

Remember this: if you start buying things for a girl at the beginning of a relationship she will start to expect them, and you are forever screwed. And the second you stop you're going to confront those dreaded words that no man wants to hear: "Is something wrong?"

Here are some specific tips on how to date Tight Fist style.

1. First Date, Cheap Restaurant.: One a first date, never go to a fancy restaurant. This is important because the girl needs to know from step one that you're not going to be buying her fancy dinners every Saturday night. Since it's the first date social conventions may force you to foot the bill, so no point in blowing the bank on a girl you barely know. And don't even think about taking her to the cinema. Why the hell should you pay twenty quid to sit in the dark and not talk?
If She Can't Appreciate the Golden Arches on a
First Date, She Doesn't Deserve a Second One
2. Split the check.: Sure, on a first date the man is expected to offer to pay the bill. But if your date doesn't offer to split it, alarm bells should go off. She gets one more chance: if she pulls a classy move and picks up the check on the second date, she's off the hook. Otherwise, just stop calling. She knows why.
3. Don't Buy Her Jewlery. The last signal you want to give any girl is that you support spending lots of money on completely useless things. Next thing you know she's going to want a honey dipper.
4. Never Buy A Random Girl Drinks. Under no circumstances should you ever buy a drink for a girl you don't know in an attempt to get in their pants. The strategy is foolish, money-wasting, and unlikely to succeed. And even worse, it just rewards devilishly deviant gold-digging behavior.

But what if you follow these rules above and get dumped? That's great! Because then you have successfully exposed your lame girlfriend as a money-grubbing bitch, and the sooner you find that out the better. If you find a girl who is cool with your frugal ways, you're saved yourself loads of misery.

Another great advantage of these strategies is that if every now and then you can break your rules and buy your girl a little something nice, she will go absolutely crazy. Yup, instant good will was never so easy.
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This was supposed to be my third column for The London Student, but it looks as if the powers of mindless political correctness have killed the column for the time being. Thanks to the editors of The London Student for fighting the good fight, but it looks like they have lost. But don't worry, the site will go on. Questions? thetightfist@googlemail.com.

Stay tuned for the next article, where I'll follow up with some more specific advice about another vice: flowers.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

The Tight Fist Guide to Buying Textbooks

This article was supposed to appear in the September 27th edition of The London Student. But thanks to some ridiculous phony 'outrage' to my last post by certain powerful members of student government it has been censored and replaced by a stupid editorial apology. Yawn. Maybe we'll be back next issue.
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I need a Kindle!


One of the coldest shocks that most first-year students experience when coming to universities is the outrageous price of textbooks. "I've bought books before, this won't be too bad" you say, before keeling over in horror at the outrageous prices at the campus bookstore. But fear not, young student, because with a bit of wisdom you can beat the system and actually have money left over for late night kebabs.

The first question to ask is: do you really need the book? Tons of professors list a textbook as 'required' for their classes, but then go on to not really use it. As a former class teacher, I can't tell you how many times clueless students would come to me in office hours and complain that they "read the entire book but can't do the assignments". Well moron, if you had gone to any lectures you would have realized that the professor wasn't following the book at all. For lots of classes you can skip the book, share one copy with friends, or just pick it up from the library when you need it. But sometimes you'll decide that you really need the book.

There are some things that you want to buy new. These are things that you plan to have a long time and will only wear out if you buy them used. Think trainers, a fancy TV, or brake pads. But something tells me that 10 years down the line you aren't going to be cherishing that nice copy of 'Intermediate Statistics'. No, most likely you're going to try to sell it the second the course is over, provided you can resist the urge to erase it from your memory through ritual burning.

With this in mind, the last thing you should ever do is take a stroll to your university bookstore. These bastards will generally peddle shiny new textbooks at off-the charts prices, making you think that there is no other alternative available. But there is! Let me introduce you to an amazing technology called The Internet. And there there is more to it than status updates and blurry porn. It sells books too!

Unquestionably, the best place to get your textbooks is Ebay or Amazon (through its second hand marketplace). But just heading over to these sites is not enough. To get the real textbook deals you have to think like a textbook maker and subvert their shady con of unnecessary editions.

How much do you think the world of basic calculus has changed over the last hundred years? I'll give you a hint: not at all. So why have there been 10 new editions of your favorite calculus text in the last 20 years? Putting out new editions is the way that textbook publishers try to quell the used book market so as to screw over students to their utmost.

Professors will always put the latest edition of their favorite textbook as the 'required' text for their class. At the same time, bookstores will stop selling (and buying back) all previous editions, as they assume there will be no demand. Sellers turn to the internet, offering ridiculously low prices. But the key is that in most cases, there is hardly any difference between the editions! Maybe they've reorganized the chapters and added a couple of color graphs, but don't be fooled: calculus (or pretty much any other subject) hasn't changed.

The key is to go on Amazon or Ebay and look for previous editions of your required textbooks. For instance, anyone taking introductory economics in London is likely to get stuck reading 'Economics' by Lipsey and Chrystal. You can waste your money on the 11th edition going at £39 at Ebay, or you can instead pay £10 for the 10th edition.

Then you'll have plenty of time to sit back and smugly laugh at all those suckers who spent all their beer money just to get that 'new book' smell.
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Questions about frugality? The Tight Fist can help: thetightfist@googlemail.com

Sunday, 12 September 2010

A Guide To Partying on The Cheap

New to The Tight Fist? Check out the Introduction to learn more about the site and see some highlights. Also, be sure to follow The Tight Fist on Facebook and Twitter by following the links to your right.

Note: This Post Appeared in the September 13, 2010 issue of
The London Student
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Do you spend too much money? Fortunately, Jews such as myself possess tried and true penny-pinching strategies that have been handed down through the generations. I, The Tight Fist, have taken it upon myself to share my secrets of frugality.

For many of you out there, it's your first week of university- a great time to make new friends, choose your classes, and start expanding your mind. Wait, who am I kidding? We all know you're just going to spend your first few weeks wasting away your new-found freedom in one long drunken stupor.

But unless daddy's got deep pockets (and let's be honest, if daddy really had deep pockets he would have wrangled you a way into Oxbridge), this entry-to-university binge can be pretty damaging on the wallets. Isn't there some way to party yourself silly and still have money left over to buy underwear and instant noodles?

Now is the point where you think I'm going to endorse some of London's many "cheap" student nights at local clubs. Sure, if you going to go out you might as well do it at one of these places, since the prices are usually a bit better than the normal wallet-sucking prices you'd see in a Central London club. (I'd say the £1.50 pints at Sports Cafe on Tuesdays is about the best deal I've seen.) But even if going to some cheap pub, you must follow this golden rule: NEVER GO OUT SOBER. Because no matter what kind of student deal is on, it will always be crushed by your local friendly Tesco.

The trick is to buy some cheap supermarket booze and get as wasted as possible at home (or on the street if you don't mind looking like a hobo.) Then when you hit the bars, you're already toasted and can just nurse one pint all night long. But don't get too pissed, because passing out on the couch will never get you laid. Let's just hope that sneaky David Cameron does not get his way with implementing his ban on cut-rate supermarket alcohol. How about we all revolt if that happens, ok?

Has anyone ever told you not to drink on an empty stomach? THAT PERSON WAS A LYING IDIOT WHO WANTS YOU TO DIE POOR. In fact, you should ONLY drink on an empty stomach. The logic is very clear: you want to get a bit tipsy, eating food means it takes more alcohol to get there, so eating simply costs you money. So next time you are thinking of getting a bite to eat before hitting the pub, just realize that you are flushing money down the toilet. Plus since booze has plenty of calories, skipping dinner prevents you from getting even fatter.

But what about those tiny people who would get drunk off two sips on an empty stomach, shouldn't they eat? NO! These people are the luckiest people on earth, and should not waste their wonderful circumstance. Instead, they should get together in a group, buy one frilly cocktail and all get wasted for pennies! Lucky bastards!

And for the really hard-core Tight-Fisters out there? Try donating blood before a night on the town! Besides being a good public citizen, you will also get pissed for super-cheap!

So there you go, now you can all go get wasted and still have plenty of money for other slightly less important things like food and shelter. Stay tuned for next issue, where we'll talk about how to tackle the bane of any frugal student's existence: buying textbooks.

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Read much more at http://www.thetightfist.com
Want The Tight Fist to answer your questions? Email thetightfist@googlemail.com

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Tight Fist Tip #43: A Cheap iPhone in 3 Easy Steps



I Just Can't Get Enough Of This 'Tastes Like Fried Chicken' App


Man, it just seems like everyone who is anyone is carrying around a shiny new iPhone these days. All of us luddite dumb-phone owners can't shake the feeling of inferiority whenever all our friends are cooing over the latest Instant Orgasm app. In moments of weakness, we may even consider joining the club. While official Tight Fist advice still maintains that you should always buy the cheapest phone possible, if you are going to purchase a shiny smart phone, at least do it the right way. Here is the Tight Fist approved strategy for owning an iPhone (or other smartphone of your choice.)

1. Buy A Used iPhone: Did you catch a glimpse of the hordes of Apple zombies who waited in line for the new iPhone 4? Anyone want to fancy a guess at the percentage of those people who were buying their first iPhone? I haven't done any primary research, but I'm pretty sure then number is somewhere near zero. All these Apple maniacs probably lined up for the first iPhone, the 2G, the 3G, etc. Any what the heck are they going to do with these old iPhones? That's right, they sell them to people like me. The iPhone 3G was pretty damn nifty when it came out, and guess what: it still is. But now it's hundreds of dollars cheaper. Just ask around on eBay, Craigslist, Amazon, etc. Easy peasy.
New Boyfriend?
There's An App For That


2. Unlock the iPhone: Having a cheap iPhone is just one piece of the puzzle, since most of the costs come from those crazy multi-year data-required contracts. Therefore, you need to untether yourself from whatever phone company Apple has decided should hold the monopoly in your area. Unlocking an iPhone is pretty straightforward, and since you just bought a used phone you don't have to worry about invalidating your warranty. There are tons of tools to do this- you can look around on Google, and with a bit of perseverance you should be able to get it done. If you're not the technical minded type you can pay someone to do it for you, but make sure not to get ripped off. I'd recommend heading to a shady cell phone store in Chinatown (or some similar place) and haggling like crazy. Remember, with their software it will take them about 7 seconds to unlock the phone, so you should pay accordingly. If you don't live in a place with immigrant neighborhoods where you can find shady cell phone stores, save this step for your next trip to the big city. Or just move.

3. Buy a Cheap Pay-As-You-Go (Prepaid) SIM: Once your shiny phone is unlocked, you can now shop around for a cheap prepaid phone plan. Since you already have a phone, you just need to buy a SIM card for any GSM carrier and pop it into the iPhone. Here in the US I grabbed one from H20 Wireless that charges 6 cents a minute for calls and 2 cents per text. (I've even heard that you can use H20 Wireless without unlocking your iPhone since it runs on the AT&T network.) But you'll have to shop around depending on your country of residence. The best part is that now if you travel you can always just pop in a cheap SIM from whatever country you're in and your iPhone will be good to go without crazy roaming charges.

The astute among you may have noticed that this scheme does not allow you to use your iPhone to surf the internet over the cell network. That is because it is just not worth a billion dollars a month just to check what's number one on Reddit or prove to your drunk buddies that the dude on Cougar Town tonight really was Cameron from Ferris Bueller's Day Off. You can definitely settle that important argument via email at a later date. However, for the internet addicted, you can still use the above strategy and then just use the cheapest data plan you can find. (Pretty good comparison of US data plans here.)

In fact, I'm convinced there must be a way to justify getting a data plan if you can figure out some non-Apple-approved way to make all your calls over VOIP. And also you could use the iPhone as an internet connection for your laptop when on the move. When I get all that figured out, you will all be the first to know.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Ask The Tight Fist: Making Money without Working



This Works, But I Think There Are Better Ways


Dear The Tight Fist,

You talk a lot about how to prevent spending money. I was wondering if you have any ideas or tips on ways to make money - or into the process of career planning.

Le Piano Man


Dear Le Piano Man,

Making money? That's pretty easy isn't it?

1. Go to college and join the richest frat that will let you in
2. Get a suit and work for the uncle of one of your stupid 'bros'
3. Get an MBA because you don't know what else to do
4. Find some other crappy job to pay off your useless MBA
5. Mid-life crisis

Easy, right? Oh wait, did you want to both make money AND have your life not suck? Well, you should been more specific. The great thing about being a Tight Fist is that you really don't need much money, so you don't have to suckify your life by becoming a corporate whore. (Unless, you know, you're into that kinda thing.) One thing you could do is get a cool job that you actually like, but plenty people "accomplish" this through pure delusion. ("Dude, Junior Assistant Managers get all the chicks!") Much better would be getting paid to not work at all. It's hard to get paid a lot to do no work, but it's surprisingly easy to get paid a little and that's all a Tight Fist needs. Here are some ideas:
Soy! Soy! Soy!

1. Medical Guinea Pig: All you have to do is pop some pills and you get paid. What a great deal! But you should try to get involved in a late stage clinical trial. Because otherwise you might end up like the Elephant Man
2. Sell bodily fluids: There is great money to be made selling your zygotes. Way easier (and more fun!) for the guys, but more lucrative for the ladies (especially those with high SAT scores). You can also sell plasma and platelets for about $50 buck a pop. This trick is beloved by hobos everywhere.
3. Investing: If you know what you're doing, you can take a little bit of money and turn it into a lot of money through sound investments. To be honest, I'm not exactly sure how this works, but I'm pretty sure you just have to grab a bunch of papers and run around the trading floor yelling "SOY! SOY! SOY!" Or something like that.
4. Get stuff for Free and Sell it: You can find tons of free stuff available for pickup on Craigslist from people who are too lazy to sell it themselves. Get this stuff and sell it on Amazon/Ebay = Easy money.
5. Grad school scholarships: Finally, we get to a subject that The Tight Fist knows perfectly well. I don't understand why people work crappy jobs or, god forbid, pay a ton of money to go to school when there are people out there who will pay you to go to school. If you decide to do a Phd in any moderately useful subject, odds are you can find some source of money to pay your way. And once you've got that, you're taken care of for years! People in the 'real world' always make fun of old PhD students who never graduate, but they don't realize that these guys are living the dream. Take that, working stiffs!

Remember, adhering to the rules of The Tight Fist makes it easy to have plenty of money, since you need so little of it. Man, life is sweet.
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Questions about Frugality? Ask The Tight Fist: thetightfist@googlemail.com

Epic Feats of Frugality: Fish Fillet Millionaire



Tight Fist Legend

Want to become a millionaire? Conventional wisdom says you'll have to be a rock star, sell lots of drugs, or (shudder) work long hours in a suit to achieve this goal. But no, you can be an ordinary working stiff and save millions with pure Tight Fisting. Today our inspiration comes from Verna Oller a Tight Fist extraordinaire from the American heartland who worked an hourly job filleting fish her whole life yet managed so save 4.5 million. (Ok, it also helps the she was a savvy investor.) Here is the story from ABC.

I don't really have much to add to the story, but let me call your attention to a few key points:

  • Verna never went to a hairdresser- she always cut her own hair. (Maybe she read Tight Fist Tip #19)
  • She did all her clothes shopping at thrift stores. (Tight Fist Tip #29)
  • When her shoelaces broke, she replaced them with a zipper from an old coat.
  • She cut her own firewood until she was 90.
  • Although Verna was making millions trading stocks, she read the day-old newspaper from her neighbor since she didn't want to pay for her own subscription.
What a legend! Verna Ollie, on behalf of all Tight Fisters around the world, I salute you. You are a true inspiration.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Tight Fist Tip #42: 5 Activities Destroyed By Suits With Expense Accounts



Public Enemy #1


Damn Suits seem to be everywhere these days. In London, they basically own the place, driving up the prices of bars, cafes, and restaurants for a wide radius outside their lair, the City of London. But worst are the Suits who love to jump on planes and ruin things for people in other cities. They flaunt their corporate credit cards without regard for prices, making certain items unaffordable for the rest of us. As a dedicated Tight Fist, you must learn to recognize these items and avoid them at all cost. Here are some examples:

1. Airport Food - With the long trip to the airport and the prospect of a long foodless flight, your time at the airport should be a great opportunity to get a snack and maybe even a beer. But why should airport restaurants serve food for the masses when instead they can defraud corporations of millions via expense accounts? The other day in the Toronto airport I saw a measly piece of 80% water ham stuck in between Wonder Bread for 11 bucks. Highway robbery! Note that certain chains buck this trend and charge standard prices at the airport. Shout out to Pret, Eat, and Boots (all in the UK) for not reaming their customers!

2. Hotel Bars and Restaurants: If you arrive late at night in a new city, sometimes the easiest place to eat is a local hotel as their restaurants are open late. But be careful! Have a close look: Are there any Suits? If so, run away! Any hotel that caters to business travelers is going to bump up those prices for the expense accounts. Remember, Suits LOVE to drink at the hotel because they can just add the drinks to the hotel bill and expense away.
And This Is Why Dad Had to Sell A Kidney

3. Airport Internet - There are certain times when it would be really useful to have internet. Like if you're flying to a new city and you need to figure out how to get to your hostel or maybe your flight has been delayed and you need to alert a friend. And isn't it great that now most airports have WiFi? Just load up the page, connect, and WHAT!?!? 10 BUCKS FOR ONE HOUR! HOLY CRAP! That's right, what could be an extremely useful service is ruined again by the Suits. Quick shout out to Dubai airport for having free Wifi- the last of a dying breed.

4. Taxis - Thanks to Suits, these motor armies crowd the street and cause havoc for cyclists, yet are too expensive for normal people. You might as well just read my full post about stupid taxis.

5. Cell Phone International Roaming - As any good Tight Fist knows, you have to turn off your cell phone (or find a local SIM) as soon as you leave your country. But why does it have to be this way? Surely cell phone carriers could charge a reasonable rate such that normal people would use their phones abroad, thereby increasing their profits. So why don't they? You know, I don't think it takes a genius to figure this one out. IT'S THE SUITS! Since the company pays for the cell phone, they could care less about the roaming charges, making it more profitable for the companies to keep the rates high.

6. Hotels and Airport Express Trains: Yes I know I said there were only five, but hotels in general and all things that hotels sell also fall into this category. (Read my previous post about hotels here.) Ditto with Airport Express Trains.

Damn Suits.

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Have questions about frugality? Email The Tight Fist: thetightfist@googlemail.com

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Tight Fist Tip #41: Airport Express Trains are for Suckers



Welcome Aboard the Train for Idiots!


It's been a long plane ride. And to make matters worse, you picked the slowest line at immigration and your baggage was the last to come off the belt. All you want to do is get to your place of residence (that is certainly not a hotel). Like a recovering alcoholic in the liquor aisle, you gaze longingly at the taxi queue, but you know it would just make you feel bad about yourself in the morning.

Then suddenly you see a shining beacon of light: "Airport Express: Fastest Way to Downtown!" That has to be perfect- A train must be cheap, right? WRONG! Here, let me translate for you: "Airport Express: The Train for Business Travelers Who Don't Give A Crap Because They're Traveling On The Expense Account."

It is seriously amoral the way airports advertise their stupid express trains or buses or whatever. You can't get out of Heathrow without seeing a thousand signs begging you to take the stupid Heathrow Express, advertising how it is '15 Minutes to Central London'. What the stupid signs don't tell you is that this train costs 18 freaking pounds, and you could instead take the normal train for a third of a price and it only takes 10 extra minutes. Or you could just take the subway for a fifth of the price and as a bonus you don't end up in crappy Paddington. Note that the same applies for the stupid Gatwick Express as well. THESE TRAINS ARE ONLY FOR SUITS AND SUCKERS!!!

It's not just London and it's not even just buses. I was just in Prague, where they try to convince you to take the 'Express' bus even though the normal bus follows the same route, has only three stops, and costs half as much! In Copenhagen, you can take a normal bus instead of the stupid 'Express' train for again, a third of the price.

Remember, no matter where you are, locals and employees also have to get to the airport so there has be been some type of affordable option for them. Unless, of course, you are in a city where everyone drives. In this case you are probably screwed.

This is one example of an extremely important tenant of Tight Fist thought. There are whole product categories are priced exorbitantly due to the free-spending of mindless suits with expense accounts. Normal people should never buy these things, which will be the topic of the next post.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Tight Fist Tip #40: Find Voucher Codes



15% off White Paint!


Any good Tight Fister knows that the only acceptable place to buy stuff is online. And we all know that if you are going to buy something anyway, it's awesome if you get a discount.

Normally, discounts can be quite dangerous, as they can influence the weak among us to buying stupid crap that we don't really need. Optimally, what would happen is that you would choose things that you needed to buy, and would then see if there are any discounts available. In the old days though, that was pretty tough; a store would have to be pretty idiotic to offer discounts once you had already decided to buy some stuff. What's a Tight Fisted shopper to do?

Once again, the internet rides to the rescue! As much as they try, crafty stores cannot keep coupons far away from the checkout in the wonderful world of the internet. Instead, they rely on the fact that most shoppers are COMPLETE MORONS, and therefore will not think to take seven seconds out of their day to Google and see if there is a voucher code available.

Kids, the prescription is simple. Whenever you are purchasing anything online, please just take 10 seconds out of your busy day to google "-name of store- voucher code". Odds are you'll save a cool 10% or more. Just yesterday, I got 50% off a pizza. Sweeeeet.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Ask The Tight Fist: What to Do With A Vain, Messy Housemate



This Man Is Weak, and Can Be Exploited


Dear Tight Fist,

My housemate is a spendaholic. He has a trust fund, and the thing he loves most in the world is spending money. He buys expensive wine, useless gadgets, clothes he hardly ever wears, and orders out for food. I was puzzled for sometime about, what appeared to me, an inconsistency in his behavior. Even though he spends a considerable amount of money to have "nice things", he leaves trash and boxes all over the house. When I go into the dining room, it is always covered in glasses, plates, take-out containers. I was puzzled, why would someone go through so much trouble to have nice things, and then leave trash everywhere.

I think your readers will be interested in my theory of his behavior. The trash is a reminder of the spending, and that makes him feel good, so he is less inclined to pick it up. Imagine the following scenario; you bring home an attractive girl and the next morning after she has gone you notice she left her knickers on your dresser. You might not be inclined to immediately clean them up. The joy of opening a package only lasts so long. So to draw out the joy of spending, the trash must stick around also as a reminder to him and everyone else of the conquest.

Sizzizneerly yizzours,
Mr. Clean

----------------------------------

Dear Mr Clean,

At first glance, this looks like a terrible situation. Not only do you have a classic messy housemate, but his ridiculous spending is likely to make any Tight Fister's blood boil. However, this situation also presents a number of excellent opportunities.

First of all, since your roommate has tons of crap he doesn't need you should have no guilt mooching off of him. I mean, you never know when you're going to want to eat some waffles, wear brand named clothes ironically, or drink a cold beer from your college-branded kegerator. Plus, it's a well known rule of communal living that food left out is open game.

But that still doesn't solve the messiness problem. The way you do this is to convince Mr. Moneybags to hire a maid and have him pay for it. How the hell are you going to do this? Well, you're going to need to exploit the same weakness that causes the trash in the first place. If you roommate needs physical manifestations of his own spending, a maid can certainly provide that. But not just any maid.



What you need is a skanky maid; there are legit companies that provide this service. If your roommate is the kind of guy whose self esteem is so low that he needs to surround himself by tons of expensive crap, he is exactly the kind of guy who will go apeshit over the prospect of getting hot, topless/scantily clad chicks to do his cleaning. "Dude, hot chicks clean my house! That is so rad! All my friends will think I'm such a pimp! This will be even better than the time I bought that Jaegermeister dispenser or my Hugh Hefner pipe!"

Just make up a flyer with some hot chicks on it and he will totally go for it. Also, make sure to take pictures of your chicks cleaning and put them up around the house so he has constant reminders of his conspicuous consumption. It's not exactly in great taste, but it's better than stacks of old pizza boxes.

As for you, having a few extra scantily clad ladies roaming around your house can never be a bad thing. Just make sure they actually clean.

The Tight Fist
-----------------------------
Is your spending out of control? Get Help. Ask The Tight Fist at thetightfist@googlemail.com

Friday, 11 June 2010

Ask The Tight Fist: Old Misers



Giving Tight Fists a Bad Name


Dear The Tight Fist,

My problem is I just hate spending money. Oh I indulge in flights to see my children and when I visit or they visit I love spending money on feeding and entertaining them. But when it comes to the old gal it is hard to part with money. I have built up a healthy account in cash, CDs and Mutual Funds but don't want to part with it. I just enjoy seeing all of the money add up.

Am I a miser? I do eat well but enjoy what I call treasure hunting, most all of my clothes come from the Salvation Army or the Parish Thrift shop and I must say I do get lots of compliments on my wardrobe. I view spending money as a game.

Maybe that is my hobby.

Evelyn

----------------------------

Dear Evelyn,

First of all let me congratulate you for what seems to be a successful life of Tight Fisting. Stop worrying about whether or not you're a miser and instead bask in the fact that you have successfully warded off consumerism! The mere fact that you don't take pleasure buying expensive consumer goods for yourself means that years and years of constant advertising have failed to turn you to the dark side. Remember, there is nothing to feel guilty about! If you don't enjoy crap that you buy for yourself, then you don't need it.

That being said, it would be a bit of a pity if you are depriving yourself of happiness due to excessive Tight Fisting. Remember, being a Tight Fist is not about self-deprivation. It's instead about finding greater happiness by removing our need for money. If the best way for you to enjoy your money is really just to watch it add up, then you have nothing to worry about.

But is that really the case? Even if you don't take pleasure in buying useless crap, there might be other ways to convert your money into happiness. Maybe a nice vacation? Or a big charitable gift? I've got a feeling there has to be something more exciting that just waiting for the next bank statement to be bigger than the last.

The best part about being a Tight Fister is that you know you can easily live without much money. So if you blow a bunch of your cash on an around-the-world ticket or a new wing for the local hospital, you can feel secure knowing that your quality of life won't be diminished by your newfound relative poverty.

One last thing: anyone who calls you a miser is just jealous because they are poor from years of profligate spending. Screw them.

Wow, did I really just recommend to someone that they spend MORE money? Strange days indeed...

The Tight Fist

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Frugality getting you down? Email The Tight Fist: thetightfist@gmail.com

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Tight Fist Tip #39: Never Take a Taxi



Look Mom, I'm Wasting Money Like A Real New Yorker!

There are few things in this world as that turn The Tight Fist's stomache more than taxi. In most Western cities, modern society has graciously given us public transport, which whisks people around the city cheaply and efficiently. Oh, and I almost forgot: we are also endowed with legs, which are a pretty good way to get around. (My apologies to any readers who don't have legs. You're off the hook here.)

But no, that's not good enough for those rich 'time is money' jackasses. They want their own private, chaeuffer-driven rentals cars to clog our roadways and mow over the proletariat on their weenie bicycles. The rest of us poor, weak souls are then tempted by the constant specter of convenient yet expensive transport.

But surely there are some times when a cab is justified, right? Well, I'm not so sure. Let's take a look at some common situations in which weak people break down and get taxis.

1. I'm drunk and I want to go home! Suck it up big boy, and take the night bus. Plus, if you're drunk late at night far away from home that probably means you already drank this week's paycheck. If you were following the Tight Fist's drinking advice, all your boozing would have taken place before you got the bar, so by leaving time you should be sobered up a bit. But no, you didn't listen to me did you? Way to go. Plus, according to the incredibly disturbing ad that I am forced to watch before every movie here in London, if you get into the wrong cab late at night you are likely to get violently raped.



2. What if I'm at the airport in some weird city, and I have 12 gigantic 17th-century style trunks full of luggage? First of all, if you have more luggage than you can carry you don't deserve to be traveling and I will waste no more time on you. Next, if you're in any developed country there is certain to be public transportation from the airport to the center of whatever city you're going to. And I don't want to hear your whining about jet-lag. Suck it up and get on the bus.

3. I have to go to a very important business meeting. And I'm wearing a suit. There is something about men in suits that makes them think that suddenly their time is the most valuable thing in the world. But we all know that, especially in London, most Suits spend about 20% of their waking hours in the pub, 30% texting to their buddies about how fit the new intern is, and an additional 20% dreaming about being in the pub. So I really think that 10-minute Tube ride isn't going to kill you.

4. What if I'm going to some place so super-secret that no other buses or cars go there and it's really far and it's in the middle of a hailstorm so I can't walk and I have 37 people to pack into the taxi so it won't really be that expensive and oh also this secret place is the most awesome place in the world but it will spontaneously self-destruct if I don't go there right now. Can I take a taxi? Ok you whiner.

Note that one important exception is if you live somewhere where it is not only 44 degrees (Celcius) but also costs under a dollar to get from one side of the town to another in an autorickshaw, doing so is totally justified. (Everyone reading in Ahmedabad can let out a collective sigh of relief.)

But for the rest of you, think twice. Next time I want to spend 10 bucks for 5 minutes of service, I'm going to make sure I get someone a lot better looking than my last cabbie.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Tight Fist Tip #38: Travel to Cheap Countries



Come For The Food and Weather,
Stay For The Low Prices!

Welcome to the second in The Tight Fist's series on traveling. (You can find Part 1 here.) There's a common myth that traveling is expensive, but this is because most people foolishly just jet off to whatever place bought the most billboards in their home town. The great thing about traveling is that if you pick the right place, even poor, frugal, Tight Fisters can live like kings!

Let's think about some 'normal' places where stupid people in the US or UK like to travel, and think about Tight Fist alternatives.

1. Hey, wouldn't it be great if you could go on vacation to a beautiful place with warm weather, mountains, and great parties without ever leaving the comfort of the US? You sure can- it's called California. But for some reason that is beyond comprehension, people decide that it's a phenomenal idea to waste hundreds of extra dollars to instead fly to freaking Hawaii. Five extra hours in the air? Hundreds of extra dollars on the flight? Everything twice as expensive? Annoying pictures or people wearing grass skirts and smiling everywhere? SIGN ME UP!!! If you're going to fly all day, why not head south of the border to sunny, beautiful Ecuador?. It's 25% closer (to Chicago) than Hawaii, and also boasts great beaches, rain forests, and volcanos. And every night is dollar beer night!
I'll Bet That Cost Under A Buck

2. There are some Americans who are a bit more adventurous. They want the immersive cultural experience that can only be found at an all-inclusive beach resort. They can't wait to brag to tell their shocked friends about how they they couldn't drink the water. They want waiters (not just cooks and bus boys) with accents. They want Cancun! There is something especially painful about going to a (relatively) cheap country like Mexico but instead wasting your money (not to mention any remaining shred of decency) at Senor Frogs. But if you ever suddenly awake from hazy stupor and find yourself on a flight to Cancun, fear not! All you have to do is drive up or down the coast from the shudder-inducing isthmus to find little pieces of paradise such as the gorgeous Tulum. Or even better, skip Mexico altogether and head for the Tight Fist paradise of Honduras. Yes, for mere pennies you can plant yourself in a beautiful beach hut, eat fresh fish, drink coconut water, and love life.

3. I can guarantee that if you are a British man aged 30-50 and have a bit of a gut, your idea of absolute paradise is the South of Spain. Where else could you possibly travel abroad and find tons of other pudgy middle-aged British guys to hang out with? And where else would have real British pubs serving real British food (shudder)? And where else could you find real British prices? Quick, run, book those package holidays before they dry up! But if you're in England and you have any sense, you'll realize that for just a few extra pounds you can make your way to India, where you can live like an absolute king. India (where The Tight Fist is curently located) is any Tight Fist's dream. While The Tight Fist generally forbids taxis, the 15-minute ride from my home to my office only cost 35 pence. And while I forbid buying lunch, I'll take my hot curry for under a pound. And my 10p samosas. I will even allow the guy to come to my house every day to clean and do laundry when it only costs 6 pounds for the month. Living like a king, I tell you! Now if they could just get this country a giant air conditioner...

The guidelines are actually pretty simple. If you live in the US, avoid Europe or the Carribean and instead head to Central or South America. The flights will be similar, and your vacation will be awesome and easy on the wallet. If you live in the Europe, get the hell out of the Euro Zone and instead jump to India or Southeast Asia.

Confused which countries qualify as Tight Fist friendly? Here's a rule of thumb. If a beer at a bar costs more than a dollar, you're in the wrong place. Better luck next time!

Monday, 19 April 2010

Tight Fist Tip #37: Always Take A Doggy Bag



Proof of a Hard-Fought Victory!


As I've written earlier, if The Tight Fist ruled the world wasting food would be a crime punishable by denailing. In general, avoiding food waste is pretty simple: just take as much as you need and eat it all. But sometimes restaurants can throw you a loop by serving unexpectedly large portions that you just can't stomach.

Of course the solution is simple: just pack it up in a doggy bag and you've got tomorrow's lunch covered. In most situations, this solves the problem and there is no more to say. But what about the following nightmare scenario:

Dude: Excuse me Mr. Waiter, can I have this packed up?
Waiter: I'm sorry sir, we don't allow that here.
Dude: What do you mean?
Waiter: We love killing animals for fun and then insisting on throwing their cooked flesh into the trash. For us, it is the greatest pleasure on earth. Giving you a doggy bag would deny us this truly magnificent opportunity.
Dude: ...?

I know for my American readers this situation is unimaginable, but in backward countries (such as the UK) it is disturbingly common. How do you deal with such ridiculous insolence? There is only one answer: MAKE A GIGANTIC SCENE. There is nothing snooty resturants hate more than a loud, obnoxious jerk making life miserable for all the other customers. This is an argument you will win. In case you're having trouble, here are some foolproof techniques to save your meal from the trash can.


This Is One Way To Let The Waiter Know You're Serious

1. Start calm, but slowly escalate. "Please give me a doggy bag. It is unacceptable that you won't let me take home my leftovers. I AM GOING TO START THROWING SHIT!"
2. Ask to speak to the manager. Spineless waiters can always hide behind some 'Sorry, but I might get fired if I break policy' type of excuse. But the manager will have to engage your mental chess game. And if you can't win a debate with the assistant manager of Applebees, you don't deserve your doggy bag. In fact, you don't deserve to eat. Ever.
3. Start to Cry. If gentle whimpering isn't doing the trick, kick it up a notch with some heavy wailing. While this is a tried and true tactic for females, it may even be more effective for men given the added shock value.
4. Bring your own tupperware. If you are going to a restaurant that you fear will not pack up your leftovers, take matters into your own hands. Bring your own tupperware and pack it yourself. If anyone at the restaurant complains, calmly explain that they will need to pry the tupperware from your cold dead hands.
5. "You want me to throw away Bambi?"

In all the above situations you should make it abundantly clear that there is no way you are paying for the meal without getting your leftovers. They'll come around eventually.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Tight Fist Tip #36: Wealth Managers Are Charlatans



Ask The Experts: Bear Sterns is Fine!


After over a year of practice, I must now assume that my readers are getting pretty good at Tight Fisting. While your foolish friends are out wasting their sorry lives and money on coffee, fine wine, and gym memberships, you dutiful Tight Fisters are out there biking, cooking, and living the good life. But if you have a job, all that unneeded money is probably starting to pile up. We all know if you have a pile of money lying around you're supposed to like, invest it or something. But how the heck do you go about that?

Fortunately for you there is a whole industry designed to 'solve' this problem, so why not leave it to the 'experts'? Certainly people whose whole life's work is in 'investment' must know what they're doing, right? I mean, why else would
private wealth managers and investment advisers and hedge fund managers exist? They must provide some value!

Well folks, if you still think that just because someone is willing to take your money they must be offering a valuable service, we should talk! I'd like to offer you an amazing hydro-homeo-accu air bath that will make you healthier, better looking, and help you learn Swahili! And it's a great deal!
This year I invested in pumpkins.
They've been going up the whole month
of October and I got a feeling
they're going to peak right
around January. Then bang!
That's when I'll cash in

For the rest of you, the lesson is simple. Wealth managers are simply complete charlatans trying to take advantage of peoples' ignorance about finance. No matter what type of fancy education they have, some 32-yr old yahoo from citibank does not hold the key to easy money in the markets. Because if he did, why the hell would he waste his time giving the advice to you? He only became an investment advisor because he was too stupid to become an investment banker anyway! (Not that I think bankers are really any better.)

The facts back me up. There are a million articles on the subject, but it's pretty clear that 'active management' (meaning someone who picks certain investments) does no better on average than 'passive investment' (meaning just buying index funds). I'm no expert on the literature, but here, here, and here are a few papers.

Any decent study on active versus passive management deducts the manager's fees when calculating managed funds' return. So maybe the answer is to simply do the active management yourself. No problem! After a long day's work, just come home and log onto the computer and spend hours researching companies and market trends. And after all that, you might get lucky and make a little money. Sounds great, right? I WOULD RATHER SHOOT MYSELF IN THE FACE!

Sadly, there are people like this. If you are one of them, please never speak to me again because I might die of boredom. The joy of being a Tight Fist is that you never have to worry about money. Spending all your time obsessing about money is completely against the ethos of being a Tight Fist.

Instead, just find a low-cost online investment firm (such as E-trade or Vanguard) and chuck your money into some indices. And just relax. Happy investing!

Monday, 22 March 2010

Tight Fist Tip #35: Don't Buy Books



Free Books Are Just The Start!

Imagine that every time you wanted to watch a movie you could take a trip down to your local video store and rent it for free. Or say that suddenly by executive order, all fancy suits and dresses could be borrowed free of charge whenever you wanted them. All normal people would suddenly see their movie collections and wardrobes shrivel, since only a COMPLETE MORON would pay money for a certain suit when they could instead have thousands of suits to pick from for free. It's a Tight Fist dream world...

While this fantasy world of borrowing infrequently used stuff doesn't exist in general, there is one important exception: books! Yes, thanks to Tight-Fist-friendly cultural norms, most cities in the rich world have decent libraries that provide all the books you could ever want for the attractive price of free. Due to this amazing cultural innovation, people blessed enough to live in such an intellectually liberated society view books as a public good and the concept of a 'book store' seems just as stupid as purchasing sunshine.
If This Is Your Library the Above Lady
May Not Be Able To Help Herself

Wait, what's that you say? Even though books are free there is a GIGANTIC industry based around selling books to people? But how could that be? Well, that's because because people are COMPLETE IDIOTS WHO LOVE TO WASTE THEIR MONEY. They hate their money so much that they love to drop tons of cash on stuff they could just as easily get for free.

Certainly the book buyers in the crowd are going to protest. So book buyers, let's figure out to which category you belong:

1. I need to have it NOW NOW NOW. Yes, it's true that libraries don't get new books right away. News Flash: even if you wait three months for the book to hit the library, all the words will still be the same. That's right, all of them. 100%. Amazing!
2. But my local library doesn't even have a copy of The Anedeid in the original Latin! Hey literary snob, just because reading a book is enjoyable doesn't mean it sucks. And libraries will have your obscure texts as long as you move out of the sticks.
3. I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany. Hey pretentious asshole, get over yourself. Any chick who is impressed by your copy of La Com├ędie humaine is going to figure out you're an idiot in about 13 seconds.
4. omg I am so in love twilight new moon and want to hug it all day and read it 37 times in a row and go to caress it to sleep and love it and make 12 thousand babies with it. Back...away...slowly...

Another note: if you do accidentally find yourself the proud owner of a few books, remember that books are great trading material: a swapped book is a free book too. Happy reading!

Friday, 19 February 2010

Tight Fist Tip #34: Ebay and Amazon Rule




Oxford Street Crips


In every major metropolis there's at least one sketchy part of town that most people avoid at all costs. If you're not familiar with the town, there are a few clues that can tip you off at once that you've left your comfort zone. The place is swarming with fiends, and every corner is trying to provide the next fix. You get cold stares from everyone who passes, and get rudely bumped by passer-bys. Overall, you just get an extreme feeling of discomfort, that the inhabitants of this place are nothing like you. The whole place is different, foreign, and scary.

Yes folks there are certain neighborhoods no conscientious human would ever want to go, especially if you are a Tight Fist. In my hometown of Chicago, Michigan Avenue is a place to induce shudders. In New York, Madison Avenue is creepy. And London is filled with sketchy areas: Carnaby Street, New Bond Street, and the scariest place of all: Oxford Street.

See, these places are so scary to a Tight Fist he does not even notice that there are shops. Instead, he just sees crazy mobs of people millings about, doing their best to knock him off his bike. The reason he can't figure out why the hell they are all loitering is because The Tight Fist only knows about two stores: Amazon and Ebay.* These stores sell everything cheaply, and therefore a Tight Fist is unaware that any other stores even exist. Note that advice fits in perfectly with Tight Fist Tip #11, which states that you should never shop at stores that only sell one kind of thing.
FIght! Fight! Fight!

You might think that the best way to save money would be to shop around, checking many places to find the best price. This is completely true, but since only two stores exist it's totally easy! Just check Amazon and Ebay! I used to waste tons of time 'shopping around' either online or in stores but eventually realized there was no point. Amazon and Ebay just always have the best prices, and there's no usually no need to even check anywhere else.

To give an idea of how cheap Amazon is, they have recently clashed with manufacturers of goods who complain that since Amazon tends to price their items way below suggested retail prices, it undermines other sales of their products. (I still don't understand this logic.) They even have to rely on a supreme court ruling that makes it so Amazon can't display certain prices because they fall below a certain minimum. (Read about it here. This law is so ridiculous it makes me sick, but it really speaks to how other stores just can't compete with Amazon.)

And yes, I know your complaint: But what if truly need my copy of High School Musical 3 NOW NOW NOW? Well the answer to that is to learn some freaking self-control and get over it. If you're absolutely desperate to have some object right away, this is probably an impulse purchase that you shouldn't be making anyway.

So, is the Tight Fist giving us permission to go on an Amazon/Ebay shopping spree? Um, HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND SIR? We all know that no matter what, you still must follow the ultimate Tight Fist rule: DO NOT BUY CRAP YOU DON'T NEED! This rule still stands, and don't forget it. But if you have to buy some crap that you really do need, just go to Amazon and get it over with. Shopping has never been easier.

But one more thing: despite my love for Amazon, the fact remains that Amazon is mostly known as a bookseller, so you might think I am recommending you hit up Amazon for all your literary needs. But actually, as a good Tight Fist you should NEVER buy books on Amazon. I'll tell you why in the next post.

* Note, the following stores get an honorable mention for possible existence: Argos, Wal-Mart, ASDA, Target, and any Dollar Store

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Don't Buy Nice Stuff: A Story of Personal Loss



You Won't Love Her Like I Love Her

Yes folks, it's been a while since my last post, but this last month has been a difficult one that has taught even me, The Tight Fist, some important lessons in Tight Fisting. Yes, I was one to lecture all of you about the dangers of owning nice things. I even wrote a whole post about it in Tight Fist Tip #25. But I have a confession to make: I did own some nice things. I got attached to them, and I paid the price. This story is a warning to the rest of you about the dangers of materialism.

It all started with a backpack containing my Ipod and laptop getting stolen a few years ago (a missed signal!), leaving me in dire need of new electronics. Like a good Tight Fist, I searched around long and hard for a new laptop. I compared prices, features, etc, but there was one machine that stuck out. Like a siren's song, the 15" Macbook Pro spoke to me like none other. It was so svelte, smooth and shiny, and owning it would instantly make me part of the hip, cool counter-culture elite. So against my better judgement, I dropped two grand on the laptop, and also bought the newest Ipod to go with it. I loved those machines.

But falling in love only serves to heighten the pain of separation. (There's a nice theme for Valentine's Day.) My pain came about four weeks ago, when I came home to find my kitchen window jimmied open and my apartment stripped of all its electronics. That's right, the world is full of asshole junkie crackhead burglars, just waiting to steal your shiny stuff. My shiny Macbook Pro that was sitting on the table had vanished into thin air, along with my camera and Ipod. The pain of loss was staggering- no more music, no more skype, no more steaming video. I was devastated.

Now, I know very well that people love to steal stuff, and those miserable, sniveling miscreants would have stolen any laptop I could have possibly had to get their next fix. The idiots even stole my worthless wireless router. So while buying cheap stuff may make you somewhat less likely to become a victim of theft, it's no panacea.

But a true Tight Fist has no emotional attachment to any material object, and has ample savings built up at all times. Therefore losing his stuff is a mere annoyance, an unavoidable fact of life. Stuff gets replaced, and life goes on. Fellow Tight Fisters, this is a mantra to live by, and it is the only way to stay sane in our materialistic society.

I have finally replaced my shiny Macbook with a new PC that costs roughly the same as what I spent on my old Ipod, and I'm pretty happy with it. And when it gets lost/stolen/broken I'm not going to shed a tear.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Ask The Tight Fist: Sticking to a Budget



Just Watching Her Makes Me Want to Shoot Myself


Dear The Tight Fist,

Got any budgeting tips - make a spreadsheet, calculating total expenses, that kind of thing?

Not A Representative from Mint.com
--------------------

Dear NARM,

Oh, I know a great way to spend my evening! Let's all sit around and think about every little stupid thing I bought during the day and decide what I can spend tomorrow. That sounds great!

You know who makes spreadsheets, calculates total expenses, that kind of thing? Oh, I know: idiotic, profligate spenders. Since a Tight Fister does not waste his money on useless crap, he is never even near to spending his total budget, and therefore has no need for these feeble calculations, along with their spending rules and restrictions.
Yup, That Worked Out Well

Possibly it would help to address this using an analogy. When was the last time you ever met someone who was on a diet who was really thrilled about it. "Oh, I just hate food that has taste! This is awesome!" No, people who are on a diet have the idea all wrong, as they are setting up an intricate system of rules to deny them the things that they love. That is why the second they go off the diet they blow right up again. Instead, the people who stay thin are the ones who just try to eat sensibly all the time, and don't worry about splurging when the opportunity arises.

Saving money is the same deal. If you never buy stupidly expensive crap you don't need, you won't run out of money before that next paycheck. So then you won't need to count every expense and stress about whether or not your can afford it. And you won't need to miserably pour over a spreadsheet or worry whether there is enough money in the budget for that awesome New Year's trip to Tahiti with all your best college buddies. In fact, if you follow the two classic rules of Tight Fisting, you will never have any of these problems. In case you missed these rules in The Tight Fist Manifesto, here they are:

1. Do not buy crap you don't need
2. Always think before you spend your money

Tight Fisting is a way of life. Tight Fisting frees you from your monetary worries by allowing you to easily live within your means without ever worrying about whether you have enough money. Therefore, there is no need to squeeze the last remaining drops of fun out of your miserable existence by poring over boring-as-hell spreadsheets every week. Seriously, save yourself.

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Questions about Frugality? Ask The Tight Fist at thetightfist@googlemail.com