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.

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


  1. Brilliant answer. If you need a spreadsheet, you're doing it wrong.

  2. I use spreadsheets in bed all the time! But Amen to this post, I consider myself humbled as I keep annual tallies of my spending and cost. But I'm starting to think maybe I spend too much :)