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This is a question Tightwads

There's saving money, and there's being tight: saving money at the expense of other people, or simply for the miserly hell of it.

Tell us about measures that go beyond simple belt tightening into the realms of Mr Scrooge.

(, Thu 23 Oct 2008, 13:58)
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This question is now closed.

I'm so cheap
that I buy Home Brand Wheat Biscuits instead of Weet-Bix, Black and Gold Cola instead of Coke, and Blink 182 instead of the Ramones.
(, Wed 29 Oct 2008, 8:54, 5 replies)
i used to work as a photocopier engineer for a firm whos name was remarkably similar to the German word for thanks.

i was agency , so i was paid my pittance weekly however proper staff got paid monthly . We had to clock in and out every day , not unusual. The nice thing was we had flexi time so you could come in any time between 730 and 830 leaving at the coresponding time at night. If you were late in one day you could make up the time the next day. Sounds fair?

However you were not allowed to work 4 9hour days and go at lunchtime on a friday even although that still equated to a 40 hour week.

The managers went through the time cards with a fine toothed comb. My mate Tez was permant staff and got pulled into the office at the end of a month over a time keeping issue.
It had come to the managers attention that over the course of the month he hadnt quite done all his contracted hours , and now had to make up the time.
Fair enough you may say.

The total time owed to the company for the month? 2 minuites !!!
He was made to make up the time or face disclipinary action.

Strangly enough Tez made up his time whilst drinking an extra cup of tea.
(, Wed 29 Oct 2008, 7:49, 3 replies)
Restaurants that don't offer free refills on soft drinks.
Oh, that's a cheap-bastard move that pisses me off no-end.

I mean, they've got the soda fountain back there, so each refill costs pennies at most.

Thank god this is pretty rare here in the States. Most restaurants are happy to keep your glasses full of Coca Cola or Sprite or whatever fizzy beverage you've chosen.

I hear that free refills aren't the standard elsewhere (e.g. www.hotukdeals.com/item/226558/free-refills-on-soft-drinks-at-slou/)

Poor bastards.

(Of course, this may also be part of our national obesity crisis. Our generous portions and generous refill policy has led to some pretty generous average girth.)
(, Wed 29 Oct 2008, 7:19, 13 replies)
After reading a few pages of this, I feel ill.

I may not be able to read the top ones at the end of the week as my disgust with some of my fellow residents of the planet may be too strong.

I mean, it's not like the QOTW hasn't had some stomach churning stuff before, but for some reason the mean-spirited small-mindedness of some of the people described is getting me all pissed off and ranty.

Tip well, pick up the tab for your friends when they're not expecting it, and let the small stuff slide. Over the long-term, generosity pays off much better than being cheap.
(, Wed 29 Oct 2008, 7:11, 4 replies)
One of my friends is from Thailand
We call him Thai Twahd.
(, Wed 29 Oct 2008, 2:44, 1 reply)
One of my friends...
His father is quite tight, in that, despite the choice of supermarkets that Beckenham has to offer, he always shops at Tesco (the one at Elmers End), the furthest away from his home, because the parking there is free. I don't know if he's factored petrol consumption into that idea, but there you go.

It's a sort of 'like father, like son' scenario there, because said friend himself is also wary of his finances.
(, Wed 29 Oct 2008, 2:30, 5 replies)
My Ex
My ex girlfriend always would tell all our friends I was a right tightarse.

But you should have seen the girth of the strap-on she was wearing that night!

(, Wed 29 Oct 2008, 1:09, 4 replies)
I know a few
First, me: I never use too much cooking oil, even if I spend more on a bottle of beer than all the oil I use in one month.

And I almost always turn off the light when I leave a room while shamelessly running 2 computers 24/7, having the TV always open in the background.


One friend of mine decided to redecorate his house. One worker he hired told some other friend that once they were looking for him around the flat (not very big) and finally found him eating in a closet. You know, to avoid having to be polite and inviting them to grab a bite.


A few years ago, on my birthday I was paying drinks for 10 or more friends. The rule was I was paying for booze while they were paying for their own food.

After boozing for some hours the place was closing down and they gave us the bill. I obliged for the booze and some friends coughed up the money for the food. However, nobody cared too much and the tip grew quite large.

Then this other chap decided to solve the issue and extracted some money for the cab ride. Funny thing is he wasn't even involved in the bill, so it was not like taking his part of the tip back.


I lived for a while with 3 other people in a rented flat. I shared a room with a salesman, one the tightest people I've ever seen.

Basically, he never spend money on food, as his family sent him packages every week. The only expenses he had were rent (very small at the time) and the daily beer and bread.

One day he managed to get a raise. What did he do to celebrate? Brought home beer, bread and some canned food (tuna).

Later, his girlfriend managed to score a free holiday: 2 weeks at the seaside, everything payed by some NGO or youth organization (well, everything except his daily beer, but he was buying it anyway). His reason to pass: they were getting back on a Sunday, which was bad because of him not being able to get the package from the parents, thus being forced to buy food for a week.

And he was 31 at the time.


Actually, I have a long list but I'm too lazy to write it down.
(, Wed 29 Oct 2008, 0:46, Reply)
Girlfriend's Work
Girlfriend works in a chain of jewellery stores. New national manager has instigated the following:

- staff purchases, which used to average only 1/3 of the retail price, are now only $10 less than the standard customer discount of ~15% (they still made huge profit if sold at 1/3 price)

- increased sales targets by 20% but reduced wages budgets by same, so no-one can ever get bonuses

- doubling the amount of work required to set up the shop in the morning & pack up the shop in the evening, but halve the amount of time allowed (paid) to do it

- sends his wife around "undercover" to take photos of shops if they are not open in time, or close early

- insist managers work weekends so they don't have to pay part-timers overtime

Surprisingly, loads of long term & experienced staff are resigning every day. Smart move in the lead up to Christmas

Bit of a difference from selling mobile phones to selling a luxury like jewellery, but apparently he thinks he knows...
(, Wed 29 Oct 2008, 0:24, 2 replies)
someone elses story has just reminded me of my cousin,
who worked for several weeks on a building site one summer before he was really old enough to do so, only to find out they were only going to pay him £1 per hour. (He had worked there part time previously and they had payed him properly, and had assumed they would pay him the same wage)
(, Wed 29 Oct 2008, 0:14, Reply)
Times were hard, when I was a lad
To save on water bills we were only allowed to flush for number twos, not number ones. Seriously.
(, Tue 28 Oct 2008, 23:11, 3 replies)
Not so much tight, but prioritising...
This is actually about my pops. Now my pops isn't short of a penny, although he works hard for it all, so I don't begrudge him a slight extravagance now and then. However, his strict upbringing means he isn't quite happy at spending his hard earned dosh, and so he prioritises thus:

1. Monthly spendage on collecting stamps c. £1000

2. Average spendage on whiskey c. £2.99 Tesco own-brand saver whiskey.

3. Average spend on tinned goods c. £0.10p super saver brand or anything in the dented tins section.

I guess when it comes to postage, go first class, but feel better about it by eating and drinking sh*t.
(, Tue 28 Oct 2008, 22:35, 4 replies)
My Bloody (Cheap) Valentine
It was February 2006. I had been with my girlfriend for nearly four years. She was from Archangel in Northern Russia. She was funny, clever, and very pretty, and I hadn't even needed to buy her off the internet!

To give a little bit of background, she was the daughter of, what I subsequently discovered to be an arms dealer (could have been worse, I assumed he was Mafia). He owns a house in Archangel, a flat in Moscow, an apartment in Paris, and a small chateau in the South of France.

They rub shoulders with French aristocracy, high ranking members of African governments, and he has a permanent account with the Sultan of Brunei's favourite taxidermist.

What I'm saying is, not exactly begging for loose change in the street.

Lovely people though, they always made me feel very welcome, and very drunk. Her dad was slightly prone to ostentatious displays of his wealth, but that I took as characteristic of his poverty-stricken upbringing turning to post-Soviet prosperity fairly rapidly.

They seemed pleased that I was making their daughter happy, and had brought her out of her shell a fair bit, as she was very shy when we met.

Unfortunately, four years in the relationship had started to get, if not stale, then definitely slightly brittle.

Tempers were frayed a lot of the time, and each other's little quirks and foibles that we had found endearing in the early stages, now lurked just below the surface, like floaters in a festival loo.

For instance, she would pull me up on drumming on my knees along to a song.
I would question her need to wear a jumper in bed.

"Christ sake woman, you're from Russia! Doesn't it get down to -40° there?"

"It's different kind of cold!"

I'd been drinking heavily, her mood swings were becoming worse and worse. She would criticise my lack of ambition, that I wasn't more romantic, and my cynicism amongst other things.

I thought, Right! I really want to salvage this. I'll pull the stops out for Valentine's Day. Now this was a momentous decision for me. I hate all Hallmark holidays with the same venom I reserve for paedophiles, rapists, and Kerry Katona.

I booked a table at our favourite restaurant, I bought her flowers, a box set of Nina Simone who she really liked, chocolates, wine, and a massive card with bunnies and all cutesey shit that she used to coo over.

On the day, I watched, proud as an expectant father, as she opened the gifts. I poured a glass of wine, basking in my own glow, and then told her I had the table booked.

She fairly beamed, gave me a kiss that was certainly the most passionate she had deemed to bestow upon my unworthy countenance in some time, and produced a small parcel, wrapped fastidiously, with a little bow on top.

To my shame, I did the full 'Oh, you shouldn't have...I really wasn't expecting..' charade. I may even have gushed a little (not like that you dirty fuckers, I wasn't that excited).

I opened it with maximum respect, teasing myself a little, my breathing becoming slightly ragged both in anticipation, and arousal from the kiss.

I finally removed the presesnt from it's packaging. Was it jewellery, a nice chain perhaps? A pricey hipflask? A decoratve paperweight? A scale model of the Ground-Effect Lotus '79?

It was.....

Hands trembled, eyes widened.

......a block of cheese.

Now, in all fairness, despite all the evidence to the contrary above, I'm not materialistic.
I hadn't expected anything amazing, particularly expensive or dazzling.

But a block of fucking cheese?

On inspection, it was particularly nice cheese.
It was stilton with cranberries, encased in a thick red wax in the shape of a loveheart, suggesting some thought had gone into it. It was a good cheese, a fragrant cheese, a cheese you would present to visiting royalty and assorted dignitaries.

Still a cunting block of fucking bastarding cheese though!

I feigned delight, I hugged the love of my life with every iota of enthusiasm I could muster from my shocked core, kissed her perhaps a little too hard, and led her to the bedroom (making sure I got something out of this unmitigated disaster).

Typing this, I feel like a right ungrateful sod, as she had put thought into it, but I was still gutted like a turkey in Bernard Matthews' kitchen.

Length? Two months after that incident.
(, Tue 28 Oct 2008, 21:13, 24 replies)
Credit crunch
I live with my other half in a block of 700 flats, not a million miles away from the financial cesspool otherwise known as Canary Wharf, where the rent for your average studio flat (shoebox sized) exceeds £1000 a month. 1500 people live here, and the vast majority are wankers bankers of one sort or another (I'm not!) and happy to pay £4 for a beer in the bar, and order overpriced takeaways from the restaurant....

But since the credit crunch hit the banks in the past month or so, things have been very different - people lucky enough to still have their jobs are working 12 hour days, the bar is empty, and people are counting every last penny....

One guy has even gone to the effort of posting a notice on the forum for the flats, asking for whoever took his shampoo from the gym to please return it ASAP. Guess things must be really bad for him if a £1.50 bottle of shampoo is that important....
(, Tue 28 Oct 2008, 20:49, Reply)
look after the pennies...
so the saying goes, and the pounds will look after themselves.

a few years ago, i get fed up of carrying loads of coins around, so i decided only to carry pound coins around, and to keep a stash of everything else, which i'd unload from my pockets every evening once home. as you're still carrying around pound coins, you really don't notice the missing few coppers etc.

at the end of the year, i decided to put the results towards xmas pressies, and was pretty damn surprised to find i'd squirrelled away nearly £100! nicely paying for most of my xmas that year. :)

i still do it, and although i mostly pay for things by debit card now, i still reckon i've saved about £50 this year, which will help :)

try it, you'll be amazed how much you save, and how little you'll miss those coins.

woo 1st post! :) apologies for length.
(, Tue 28 Oct 2008, 20:25, 5 replies)
Being a jew, I am quite good at doing this. Except instead of trying to save money, I borrow money using my convincing skills from an array of unsuspecting victims who intend not to give me a penny buy end up buying me a meal. I don't even want to think how much money I owe to numerous people I'll never see again for my own good.

(PS: First Post:D)
(, Tue 28 Oct 2008, 20:04, 5 replies)
Re my old boss
Another display of utter tightwaddedness was that although the sites were hosted on site, there was no proper backup facility. One of the previous employees had knocked up a little program in VB which was put on the live server.

It was scheduled to start at midnight everynight, copy all the live sites across onto the email server and then quit again.

However, it crashed one night and didn't back anything up. then it was respawned the next night, crashed and didn't back anything up.

This went on for 8 months before the server had an embolism one Saturday night and died in a spectacular way, the drive went pop and all the sites were gone.

There were all the sites on the work-server, so it was just a case of uploading all the sites back onto another ancient hard-drive. However, any dynamic content in databases was gone. 8 months of news updates on sites, transactions etc..

There was a mad rush to get as many sites back online. Mainly those that had paid the most cash and were on the phone.

Some customers were so small time, they never noticed, even during the three months it took to get everything back online.

So, what did he do to make sure it didn't happen again? A selection of RAID arrays? Splash out on expensive backup software? An offsite mirror server?

No, he went out and bought an external 40Gb USB hard-drive. Last thing each day, he would plug it in, copy everything across, unplug it again and take it home.

He kept it up for maybe 3 days before he got bored.
(, Tue 28 Oct 2008, 19:52, Reply)
I might have to change my name after this job.

I've been working recently for an Agency, usually catering, but this week I've been cleaning up in the offices of a mental health centre. I am hover monkey.

The daily ration of black bin-bags, for an office with 25 staff and twice as many patients, is one bag. While being shown around I was instructed to tip the contents of the old bin into the new bag which I carry around.

It's not so bad, mostly paper. The worst part is delving through the masses of teabags that are used each day...by hand.

(, Tue 28 Oct 2008, 19:07, 5 replies)
Not so much tight as broke, but still...
a year or so ago when I was still a student I was delighted to find wasabi beans in Tesco. Mr Quar loves hot spicy food so I excitedly bought two packets.

He was really pleased and tried a few, and sportingly did the 'ooh, jolly hot!' blowing and rolling his eyes thing.

Then while I was feeling all gratified, he said, oh I've got something for you, too - and produced a new, top-of-the-range laptop. Just 'cos he loves me.
(, Tue 28 Oct 2008, 18:22, 2 replies)
This may count as tight
I work in a hospital at the moment, "temp" contract helping out sterile services.

Two to three times a year I make a visit to London to put flowers down for my Mum and Granddad (at her request her ashes were laid to rest in his grave).

Sometimes, when I go out collecting instruments, I see stupid bastards putting disposable scissors in the sterile services box.

Usually these scissors are used for nothing more sinister than cutting dressings, but they still have to be disposed of.

I nick these scissors, and use them to cut the stems of the flowers, as it's a bit easier than getting a 3-pack of cheap-arse scissors from Tesco and having to throw 2 pairs away to avoid the possibility of me being arrested and charged with possession of a dangerous weapon.

(when I go to London, the cemetary is my second stop, straight after a quick pie and mash at Kelly's in Bethnal Green)

I suppose it's sort of cheap, but there are other factors to it, no sense in buying three pairs of scissors if you're going to throw them all away when you can pinch a pair from work for nothing.
(, Tue 28 Oct 2008, 17:56, 4 replies)
Tight arsed birthdays
One of the guys at work did this, still take the piss out of him about it :)

His wife was looking at buying him some present for his birthday. He hadn't asked for much, but she knew he like his gaming so she went out and spent a good £400 on an Xbox 360 Premium and a few top-end games for him. His birthday arrives and he is over the moon.
"Awesome" thinks his missus, "it's my birthday next month, he should really spoil me".
So it approaches her birthday and he goes out shopping. He buys the gift and hides it, then on her birthday surprises her with a £20 chocolate fountain and a little bag of fruit.
She wasn't impressed. It most probs didn't help matters that she was on a diet at the time too, meaning that the chocolate fountain went to him and the kids and leaving her with the fruit.
As you can imagine, she made damn sure everyone who knew him found out about the tight-arsedness and he embarrasedly splashed out on a compensation gift for her, but the damage had already been done. And as you all know, whereas an elephant never forgets a woman will never let you forget. He's gotta live with it for life.
(, Tue 28 Oct 2008, 17:42, Reply)
My parents made me start buying all my own food when I got my first minimum-wage job at 16. I lost 30 pounds in 2 months.
(, Tue 28 Oct 2008, 17:35, Reply)
Tight as a gnats chuff.....2
The hoover bloke i told you about earlier was talking to me about his dad...wait for this one. His dad had a right fit about toilet paper, he used to rip one sheet up into multiple 2cm by 2cm squares to wipe up a wee and made one sheet last for ages AND when the lad was a kid his dad played pool in the pub and filled all the pockets with stuff so the balls didn't go down and they could play for ever!!!!....
No way...thats where he got it from then....P.s. i dont know what he's got his missus for crimbo but lets wait and see...
(, Tue 28 Oct 2008, 17:29, Reply)
More charity muggers
"Excuse me sir, would you like to donate £x per month to {charity name}?"
"Why not?"
"Because I'm a bastard."

(I like my money the way it is when it's mine.)
(, Tue 28 Oct 2008, 17:11, Reply)
In unrelated news, my dog, who featured on the Best page of the Stalked QOTW has been missing since thursday. :(

I have a tight feeling in my chest about this, which is as relevant a link as you are going to get.

Edited due to huge picture size, sorry.
(, Tue 28 Oct 2008, 17:00, 22 replies)
My sister
My mum lives over in South Africa and has had a lean few months since the collapse of the global economy. She's taken on another 2 jobs part time to subsidise her income and is one the hardest working people I know. She doesn't have much money to go out and never asks for anything, but my brother who is an IT contractor in London offered her £400 as a gift to out and spoil herself. My sister on hearing this news told my mom it was a ludicrous idea and that she would never give my mom anything until she was able to look through her accounts and "make sure she had no money". My sister said this after she'd already told my mom she had saved up £20k and wasn't sure what to invest it in. The tight cow earns in two days what my mum earns in a month!! She's also going home at Christmas and is expecting to stay rent free for a month. I despair at my sisters greed, lack of humility and deluded visions of happiness.
(, Tue 28 Oct 2008, 16:48, 9 replies)
the reverse of tightwads
... so a bunch of us students (i.e. a while ago now) had gone out somewhere inexpensive for a meal, and as was not untypical we had no plans to leave a tip[1]. But somehow, while piles of notes and coins were being added to the pile, a few extra coppers got added.

None of us were tightwads, so we couldn't be bothered taking back the extra 3 cents from the pile.

The waitress wasn't impressed at all. But it wasn't a tip, just some spare money we couldn't be bothered with -- why couldn't she see?

[1]After all, I wouldn't want to insult you by suggesting you needed a bribe to do your job properly, would I? :-)
(, Tue 28 Oct 2008, 16:45, 1 reply)
EMEA Sweatshop
I had the misfortune, as did a colleague, of working via a particularly arsey outsourcing firm for six months. These miserly shite-pokes would dream up delightful ways to save money, like insisting my colleague has his parents drive him to the airport (rather than get a taxi).

Other cost-cutting exercises included not approving wages or expenses until the last second, in many cases missing the deadline - my colleague went three months without pay at first. Try getting round via plane and staying in hotels for three months with no cash or credit; not easy.

The only way to actually get these malingering toads to cough up was to send a shirty mail telling them unless they stuck to their side of the contract they'd be getting sued for breach - which inevitably got stuff moving. Unfortunately, I had to brandish the threat of legal action at them on a depressingly regular basis.

Particularly galling was the emotional blackmail they would try on younger workers, as well as the ridiculous mark-up they charged back to the client - while paying them pennies.

They're well known in the ICT and comms industry, and invariably not for all the right reasons. To say they specialise in bungling ineptitude and mismanagement would be akin to saying Fred West liked to do a spot of landscape gardening.

Luckily they were kicked out by the client after several complaints by myself and other colleagues, and we took the work on at the original mark-up. Woo and henceforth yay.

Stingy organisations deserve to fail, esp. those that attempt to treat their staff like battery hens.
(, Tue 28 Oct 2008, 16:39, 8 replies)
A bit off-topic but attempted tightwaddery.....
may WELL come back to bite you if the Captain's involved.
I used to take regular business trips to the former Eastern bloc countries and I had not one problem with expense claims that were totalled in Dollars, Ukrainian Grivna (sp?), Bulgarian Lev. Sterling and Romanian Leu, all one one claim. Never had a single query until I was given a corporate Gold card by the company as part of a promotion to senior management. I think the £35,000.00 limit made a few people in accounts twitchy, so they started to nitpick every little thing, which pissed me off mightily.
I appealed to the owner of the company who was also my only line manager and he agreed to approve my expenses personally, overriding the accounts bods.
It came to pass that the very next trip was with the aforementioned owner to some suppliers in the Ukraine and Bulgaria. Every time we went out "entertaining" the boss would have me pay on my company's gold card, as if to say "Look guys, even our STAFF have gold cards". The trip was very successful and many debauched nights out were had. We came home, tired but happy. I entered my expense claim and personally submitted it to the boss.

Who went purple.




At the time I didn't drink when abroad so I had a very clear recollection of the particular evening. He signed it off like a lamb once I'd mentioned the 150 year-old brandies he'd been buying rounds of for the three hookers he'd had in tow. Not to mention the extra hotel bill for the larger suite that he'd needed to "entertain" his new friends.

Never had a peep from him after that, not even for some VERY dodgy claims from a trip to Russia.

But that's another story...............
(, Tue 28 Oct 2008, 16:30, 3 replies)
Tight with time
My former employers were really finecky about timekeeping. Quite literally, if you were a minute late you could expect a patronising dressing down from some pig nosed shitlicking bastardface.

So we figured the best response to this was to be equally finecky the other way. If we were 1 minute and 11 seconds late off of the counter, we'd claim 1 minute and 11 seconds time owing. Include the fact that the boss responsible for keeping track of time owed used excel, wasn't very good at it and was rubbish at turning minutes into decimals, this lateness clampdown mysteriously died a death after about 2 weeks.
(, Tue 28 Oct 2008, 16:30, 1 reply)

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