The Natflap's Fiscal-Temporal Reimbursement System

"Time is money". This is a phrase which has never been more true as we plunge headfirst into the worst recession since the last one we had a few years ago. For if the rising flood waters don't drown us all, and the terrorists don't blow up the whole country in a fireball of pure fear, then surely the global credit crunch will leave us so poor that we are reduced to eating cats or shopping at Morrisons. With time on Earth slipping quickly away, and Alistair Darling stealing most of our wages and spending them on eyebrow dye and vibrating dildos, the question "can I actually afford this?" has begun to linger uncomfortably in our minds as we buy our fifth gold-plated DFS chaise longue in the space of a month. On credit, naturally.

Thankfully there is a solution to these belt-tightening woes, brought to you as ever by the interminable wisdom of myself. Several years ago, when I earnestly began work at my local supermarket, I devised a budgetary system designed to quell my desire to spend all my money in as wasteful a manner as possible. I called it 'The Money-Time Reward system'. It is fair to say that in the intervening years I have earned myself a reputation as a tight-fisted, joyless spendthrift which few would argue is undeserved. Yet in recent months, as the nation's collective bank balance has plunged into the red, it seems that I have once again got the last laugh on everyone who looked daggers at me when I refused to buy anything (including clothing) unless it was part of a multipack, or avoided going to the toilet for days to save precious toilet paper. Take that, you hedonists.

But rather than just sitting in my ivory tower and gloating uncontrollably, I've decided to share my secret formula with the whole world. At its heart it is a deceptively simple system which even idiots could understand. Therefore I've decided to rebrand it as 'The Natflap's Fiscal-Temporal Reimbursement System' to make it sound more impressive and complicated than it actually is. I will also refer to it henceforth by its contrived acronym 'FIST', mainly so I can use the phrase 'tight-FISTed' in an ironic sense to mean 'one who has successfully implemented FIST into their daily financial routine'. Also I will be continuing my uncontrollable gloating throughout the blog because my idea is so great it would be virtually impossible to stop.

Bad Boys

Not fucking worth it.

The grounding principle of FIST evolved in my messianic mind as I metaphorically toiled over the metaphorical hot stove of a supermarket checkout. I say 'metaphorically' because I spent most of my time making every effort to avoid doing any work, but that's beside the point. Anyway, at the age of 16 the fruits of my labours totalled a paltry 3.50 an hour. I was essentially slave labour paying National Insurance. As I served my snivelling, ungrateful customers, it occurred to me that a DVD of, say, 'Bad Boys' costing 10 would only potentially provide two hours of entertainment (at its loosest definition), yet it would take me three hours to earn the amount required to purchase it. It struck me that, from a purely financial point of view, getting Bad Boys would be a net loss and a waste of my hard-earned money. And with that revelation, FIST was born.

I began evaluating every purchase against my revolutionary formula, i.e. cost of product over amount of use from product must be greater than my hourly wage. 'Bad Boys' (runtime 118 minutes) was out, 'Ben Hur' (runtime 222 minutes) was in. This may be considered an over-simplification, with the rather obvious issue being repeated use of the product. Quite why anybody would want to watch Bad Boys more than once is beyond me, but I concluded that a repeated use simply doesn't count as it is unlikely to yield the same amount of pleasure as that all-important first time. No-one on earth is going to convince me that watching Martin Lawrence call Will Smith a mother fucker, although hilarious, is equally hilarious after watching it ten or twenty times.

As time has passed and I have entered full time employment, a new consideration has had to be made, and FIST has been altered accordingly. The crux of the issue is a lack of actual free time available for indulging in the spoils of my labours. Between working, sleeping, commuting, eating, and trimming my pubic hair, I have very little time left over for more relaxing activities. Therefore I have begun valuing my spare time more highly than I used to, so if I earn 10 in one hour, that must last me two hours because I have half as much free time during the week as I do work time. At least that's the theory.

Obviously in practice, FIST has its difficulties. Essential products like food and clothing have the primary purposes of keeping you alive or preventing you from being arrested, with 'reward' or reimbursement for your hard work only apparent in certain items, and even then difficult to translate into how much 'time' they are worth. In the spirit of simplicity embodied by the rest of FIST, my solution to these problems is to spend as little money on these things as possible, therefore minimising the risk that you are spending too much. I'd basically rule out any item of clothing that costs more than twenty quid unless it's particularly big. There are also items I'd classify as 'investment' items which taken on their own provide no reward yet enable it when combined with something else, like an Xbox (requires games), or a bag of Viagra (requires penis, prostitute and wanton lack of self-esteem). For these items the lasting benefits should be taken into consideration.

So there you have FIST laid bare for all its simplicity. The question you should now ask yourself before purchasing your next house/car/wife is not "can I afford this?", but rather "is the amount of time it has taken me to earn this money going to be regained in the amount of reward this purchase will provide? And have I adjusted for how much of my life I have left over after wasting so much of it in my monotonous, soul-destroying job?". In case you find it difficult to answer that question, I've provided (at no charge) a little widget which answers it for you, proving once again that all life's problems can be reduced to and solved by a bit of Javascript on a worthless website. Happy FISTing!

Wage:

Hours of life wasted per day (exclude sleep):

Price of desired item:

Estimated hours of return from item:

Permalink || Posted 26/5/2008 by Pete

2 comments »«

  1. Mrs Bigley - 27/5/2008 - 11:32pm

    If my husband's killers didn't use your fucking FIST methodology then my dear Ken wouldn't have died over hours at the hands of a one-inch long fucking blade. He'd have had a decent "offing" with a samurai.

    Bastard.

  2. philipoo - 22/6/2008 - 9:05pm

    well, apparently I should spend approximately 3.93 per hour in my spare time - are you suggesting I spend 3.93 EVERY HOUR of my spare time?! ARE YOU MENTAL? I think some rephrasing is in order.

    Harrr.

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