Thursday, January 18, 2007

Tight or loose with the cash?

Fried Rice Thoughts' New York Bureau Chief Mis Hooz sent over this blog post by New York Times columnist John Tierney, in which he refers to a survey intended to determine whether you're a tightwad or a spendthrift. The test was created by economists at Carnegie-Mellon University for a behavioral decision research project.

I took the survey yesterday (which you can find here), but am still waiting for my official results to be e-mailed back to me. (I imagine there's quite a backlog of data after Tierney's plug yesterday.) But I don't think I really need an online survey to tell me what I already know. I think I'm a spendthrift.

I honestly can't think of many situations where I didn't spend money on something I wanted (or felt I needed). I try to be careful with money, but if I was, I wouldn't be using words like "try," would I? But I'm sure there are situations where I'd be considered "tight." Like if I believe something's overpriced, like a book or a CD. Or something on a menu. Or airline tickets.

Where I'm surely tight is with "big" purchases like iPods, digital cameras, DVRs, or computers. I think that's the biggest reason I tend to fall so far behind the culture curve when it comes to new technology. It's not that I'm slow to adjust; it's that I don't want to part with that kind of cheddar.

However, when it comes to "little" things, I'm not very careful with my money. For example, I bought a book over the weekend. I don't need another book - not with all the unread books clogging my shelves at home. (But hey, I did buy it used.) Do I need that DVD? Especially if I've already seen the movie in theaters? Do I need to go out for lunch or bring home take-out when I might have food waiting at home in the refrigerator. All that stuff can add up.

So how about you? Tightwad or spendthrift? Be honest.