The Tightwad Test

My family has an odd tradition, which my mother described in my baby book as “The Golding Tightwad/Spendthrift Test.” According to Granny (and please, correct me if I get the details wrong here, Gran), this goes back to the neighborhood where she grew up, in New York. At a baby’s christening party, someone would give her a dollar bill, and they’d time how long she held it. The length of time would indicate whether she’d be good with money (if she held onto it tightly) or she’d be a spender (if it “fell through her fingers”). I don’t know what the benchmarks are, here–what constitutes a good length of time? Is it just immediate dropping that indicates a spendthrift?

Silas held his for over four minutes–and grinned gleefully the whole time.

Silas, gripping his dollar.

Petra held onto hers for about half as long–one minute and fifty-four seconds. She seemed pretty bored with the whole exercise.

“Are we done yet?”

Edited to add: My time was 4 seconds. I think my brother’s was longer, but I don’t have his baby book to check it. Here is the relevant page from my baby book. I was only three weeks old when I took the test, so that’s a factor.


Aili Written by:


  1. January 22, 2013

    You are such a cute baby!

  2. […] live within my means, even when they’ve been pretty limited (ironically, I totally failed the Golding Tightwad/Spendthrift Test as an infant.). I’ve seen so many of my peers struggle and learn hard lessons. […]

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