Dictionary.com says that a tightwad is a “close-fisted or stingy person.” While this may be what most people think, I’m here to challenge that definition.
Tightwad doesn’t have to have a negative connotation. Being a tightwad gives you freedom. Freedom to do what you want to do, by turning down the things that you don’t really want.
I define a True Tightwad as someone who puts off what they don’t need now so that they can get what they really want later.
Isn’t This Just Being Cheap?
Growing up, my brother used to say I was so tight that I squeaked when I walked. He wrongly associated being tight with being cheap.
A cheap person refuses to pay money for a high-quality product they desire, so they often choose a lower quality product that ends up costing more in the end. We all know this person. Often they are the ones who don’t tip at restaurants or drive 30 minutes out of the way to avoid a $2 toll road. Cheap people do not have control of their money. Instead, their money controls them to the point that it makes them rude and obnoxious.
A True Tightwad chooses not to spend money on things they don’t really want so they can easily afford the things they do want. Sure, they look for the bargain, but it’s more about assessing whether or not they actually want/need something.
Being a True Tightwad is all about making a conscious decision to spend your money on the things that truly matter to you.
You’re Not Buying What You Really Want
I know what your thinking. “I already spend my money where I want to spend it.” Wrong. You actually spend your money where you’re told to spend it and where you’re influenced to spend it.
Think about it. What was the last item you purchased just because everyone else had it, or because someone told you that you needed it? Are you happy you bought it? Is it still bringing value to your life?
Take a brand new car for example. It’s great, it’s nice, it has heated seats, a backup camera, and you don’t even have to turn the key to start it! But after a month, it’s not quite as exciting. Half a year down the road (no pun intended) and you barely even think about it like a new car.
Before you know it, a co-worker gets a brand new car and now yours is looking old. Too bad it’s not paid off yet. The newness has worn off, and you haven’t even finished paying for the thing! This is what I’m talking about; this is what needs to end.
We’re Told Where to Spend Our Money
In today’s world, it’s far too easy to be influenced to buy the latest smartphone, weight-loss gadget, cool watch, new car, or stylish clothes. We are bombarded with people telling us we need to eat at nice places, drive fancy cars, pay for the latest movies, live in the biggest houses in the nicest neighborhoods, own a new boat and go on big vacations.
And don’t even get me started on what we’re told we need to spend on our kids. We’re told our kids need to wear the latest styles and have the newest phones. They need to play 2 instruments, 3 sports, dance, cheer, do SGA, Beta Club, Honor Society, and get all their hours of community service in. Then they need to attend the most expensive private schools so they can get into the most prestigious college, all to come out of school with a debt twice the size of their yearly salary!
And even better yet, if you can’t afford all of these things that you are supposed to have, just take out a loan or run up the credit card. After all, you deserve it.
This is what we’re told. And it is a lie.
The True Tightwad Way
Now I want to be clear, buying those things isn’t wrong. It’s not even necessarily unwise.
That’s not the point I’m trying to make.
The point is, are you buying those things in a True Tightwad fashion? Have you thought about it? Have you taken the time to think about how making that purchase will impact you? Have you considered all of your options, or are you just following the status quo?
A True Tightwad is someone who doesn’t get caught up in the latest and greatest just because everyone else is. A True Tightwad knows when to say no and hang on to their money for something better. A True Tightwad pays cash for their purchases because they save their money until they have enough to make the purchase. A True Tightwad is someone who lives responsibly with money so that they can bless others.
This is the essence of being financially free. A True Tightwad makes a conscious decision to reject a purchase that they know deep down they really don’t want or need. This leaves them worry free because they aren’t drowning in debt and they can afford what they find truly valuable.
Being a True Tightwad isn’t about being cheap. It’s about having freedom.
Isn’t that what you want? Freedom from debt and freedom to choose where to spend your money? That’s what my journey is about; it’s about finding that freedom.
Join me on a journey to embrace the freedom that comes from being a True Tightwad.
Photo by Cheap Full Coverage Car Insurance via Creative Commons.
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