My name is Mark Goodfield and I am a tax partner and the managing partner of Cunningham LLP in Toronto. This blog is about income tax, business, the psychology of money and investing topics and is meant for taxpayers no matter their income bracket, but in particular for high net worth individuals and entrepreneurs who own private corporations. I also blog about whatever else crosses my mind; I have to entertain myself. This is my personal blog and the views and opinions expressed in this blog do not reflect the position of Cunningham LLP. I am blunt and opinionated (at least for a Chartered Professional Accountant). You've been warned.

The blogs posted on The Blunt Bean Counter provide information of a general nature and should not be considered specific advice, as each reader's personal financial situation is unique and fact specific. Please contact a professional advisor prior to implementing or acting upon any of the information contained in one of the blogs.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Old and not Thrifty

There are a multitude of blogs in the blogosphere on how to be thrifty and which stores can help you get more for less. One of the best of this genre is the blog Young and Thrifty. Y&T was one of the bloggers who joined in the Bloggers for Charity initiative, showing she is not only thrifty but also altruistic. Y&T, who decided to be her own guest blogger, wrote a great post on Tibet and the Trans-Himalayan Aid Society.

While I appreciate Young and Thrifty's blog and her related tips, personally, I am far from young and thrifty and a more accurate characterization of myself would be old(er) and not thrifty.  

My wife who is thrifty says I am like a caged animal 5 minutes after she takes me into a Costco or Walmart. She has declared me persona non grata for her shopping excursions to Costco unless she is there to purchase one or two things. As for Winners or Target, I am sure they  have some awesome clothes for sale, the problem is I won’t dig twenty minutes to find that gem of a deal.

So what is my problem? If I navel gaze, I would suggest there are three reasons for my lack of thrift.

A bean counting accountant,
but he is not The Blunt
Bean Counter
1. I am an accountant. You are probably thinking what the heck is Mark talking about, accountants are numbers guys and notoriously cheap. Although counter intuitive, accountants are taught as wee auditors that materiality is important. In auditing a financial statement, if an item is not material to the financial statement, you are taught to ignore it. So I have been programmed to only worry about material dollars, so if I can save 5 bucks, I don't care, talk to me about $50 or $100 and I will pay attention.

2. Secondly, I am a guy. Typically in order to be thrifty you must undertake due diligence and shop around to determine your options and then zero in on the cheapest option. That means actual shopping at an actual store in a crowded mall or superstore. Let’s be honest, most guys cannot stand to shop unless it is for power tools, cars, sporting equipment or swimsuit shopping (yes, girls, we really are shopping for the most up to date swimwear, and we are not there to look at the women trying on their new bikini's), so how can most guys even be close to being thrifty?

Believe it or not, I actually like shopping for clothes. However, this is how I work: if I walk into a store and I like something, I buy it. Why do I need to go to 3 other stores to see if I like something better? If I like the clothing item and I don’t feel I am being ripped off, I buy it and I am done, no shopping around.

3. I have no patience. I just cannot take the time to spend several hours finding the best blender at the cheapest price. I would be willing to bet most thrifty people have far more patience than I do.

There is no doubt, being thrifty is financially beneficial. Also, so I don’t get hate mail for my lack of empathy, I realize thrift and prudence is not a choice for many people.

However, I would suggest if you are playing the thrift game, you have a quick two strikes against you if you are male and lacking in patience.

If you wish to receive The Blunt Bean Counter by email, please enter your email in the Subscribe Via Email box on the right hand side of this page.