My name is Mark Goodfield. Welcome to The Blunt Bean Counter ™, a blog that shares my thoughts on income taxes, finance and the psychology of money. I am a Chartered Professional Accountant. This blog is meant for everyone, but in particular for high net worth individuals and owners of private corporations. My posts are blunt, opinionated and even have a twist of humour/sarcasm. You've been warned. Please note the blog posts are time sensitive and subject to changes in legislation or law.

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.

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The blogs posted on The Blunt Bean Counter provide information of a general nature. These posts 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.


  1. LOL this is awesome Mark!

    I don't think it's you being old, I think it's more to do with you being male.

    Actually to think of it, as I'm getting older, I'm getting more and more of these attributes.

    For example, I'm getting lazy and I'm actually shopping at Safeaway sometimes (which is A NO NO in the frugal books)

    Thanks for the mention and I loved your post :)

  2. Thx Y&T, glad you enjoyed the post.

    One piece of advice, if Safeway is a frugal no no, don't move to Toronto. We have like 20 grocery stores that make Safeway seem like Price Chopper:)