Social Question

ETpro's avatar

How tight are you?

Asked by ETpro (34211 points ) November 2nd, 2012

Some of us are spend thrifts. If we’ve got money, we want people to know it. Others are natural penny pinchers, frugal to a fault. I’m more the second sort. As such, I’ve developed some interesting rituals that make me at least feel like I’m getting the maximum bang for my buck.

One trick is forever stamps. Having observed the US Postal Service’s price increases over the years, I now know when to expect an increase and about how many stamps I will need before they hike prices again. Prices for a first class letter are going up again this January 1st.

So just before each price hike, I buy the appointed number of forever stamps and mark on the back of the sheet how much I paid for each stamp. My strategy is to always have enough forevers that I can always mail letters for at least 10¢ less than the going rate, and sometimes save even more. True it probably saves less money than the time I put into saving it is worth, but it makes me feel frugal, and I like that.

Are you a big spender or a penny pincher? Do you have any spending rituals or saving rituals that make you feel good about your preferred spending level?

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81 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I am more of a grasshopper than an ant. Partially, that is lack of training, and partially it is on purpose.

You know those life-changing moments that just hit you in the face and you never forget? I had one of those years ago. My father-in-law (at the time) died. In his drawer there were stacks of new, never-worn dress shirts. His wife had good china which she never used. It just struck me that I didn’t want to live my life that way saving up and preparing for something that never came—a life unlived.

Coloma's avatar

I’m adaptable dependent upon my financial situation and am also very creative and love shopping at yard sales and thrift stores. I could care less about expensive cars and jewelry but great food, travel and other indulgences are important to me.
I am a spender, not in a compulsive way, but…I love to celebrate and indulge myself in some of the finer things in life, yes.
Today I am having my massage therapist coming in 30 minutes for an hour massage and a little home delivery of some herbal essence.

I am then splurging on a nice dinner.
I believe in joyful celebrations for self and others and if I have the cash I spare no expense on treating myself and those I care about.
I spent $600 to take my daughter up for a hot air balloon ride on her 21st birthday. I wanted to do something she’d never forget. I also paid all expenses for a friend to travel with me for 2 weeks a few years ago. Money…it’s value is in what it does for you to enhance your life experiences, not sitting forever in a bank account that you may never live long enough to enjoy.

Being of sound mind I plan on spending my money while I am still ALIVE! ;-)

hearkat's avatar

I’ve been at both ends. When I was in grad school with an infant and my new husbands debt that I inherited when we married, I was a coupon clipping, sales circular scrutinizing maniac. Over the years, I started earning more commensurate with my career experience, and after my divorce I raised my son on my own; so had to find a balance between saving time and saving money. Now with the combined incomes with my fiancé, and his relaxed attitude about money, plus the fact that my son is getting closer to self-sufficiency, I feel like I’ve gone too far in the direction of impulsivity.

I’ve also witnessed situations where things are purchased at a great price, but then go unused and expire or become obsolete. How much will you have saved on your Forever Stamps when the USPS closes, for example?

DigitalBlue's avatar

I’m a pervert, because this question literally made me raise an eyebrow.

I’m frugal to a fault. It’s an obsession.

ragingloli's avatar

Buy a plane ticket, and come find out. Condoms are on me.

Coloma's avatar

@marinelife Yes, hear hear!
I had wealthy family members that saved every penny for retirement, they were childless and both had great jobs for 30+ years and many good investments. They retired with millions.
One month after retiring with a monolithic new motorhome in the driveway and dreams of traveling my aunt was diagnosed with colon and ovarian cancer. She died within 2 years at age 64.
My uncle always told me to never wait, to live life NOW!
No matter what my finances end up being as the future wears on I have zero regrets about using my money for what it is intended, good living and sharing with loved ones.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Tighter than tight. Frugal to a fault. Everybody knows it. :)

I re-use plastic baggies, like sandwich baggies.
I refuse to buy expensive ppr towels and use washable linen instead.
No dishwasher, I hand-wash all dishes.
I cook M-Su except Sat’s when we go out.
I have free cable (shhhhh, it just hooked right up I didn’t do anything wrong) saves $70 month
Sometimes I won’t go party with my friends or my bro-in-law unless they offer to buy my beers (play hard to get!)

I’m horrible, I know it, but I was raised this way by my gpa, RIP.

Blondesjon's avatar

Three fingers.

somebody had to. why not me?

ragingloli's avatar

@Blondesjon
Godzilla’s fingers.

wonderingwhy's avatar

Not at all the tone of the question I was expecting when I clicked on this one…

We keep a budget such that we end up with a certain surplus each year, and it can get pretty tight some months, but when it comes to things we enjoy we don’t skimp. The goal is to have enough to do what we want now and not at the expense of our future but never to the point that we rationalize away today for a tomorrow that may never come.

ucme's avatar

Nelson asked Winnie Mandela this on their first date, “Are you toit enough for my big blick cock?”
I like spending money more than saving it, which is nice.

serenade's avatar

I found some serious abundance when I practiced the method described in the book “Your Money or Your Life.” (If you haven’t looked at it, it’s super worthwhile.) Since then, I’ve had frugal periods and periods when I was in a ton of money and buying stuff left and right. Given the choice I would still err towards the side of frugal, but what I really want is to not make a religion of money—that is to not let it occupy too much head space. I don’t know if that’s realistic, but that’s what I want.

Blondesjon's avatar

@ragingloli . . . <sigh> i wish . . .

jonsblond's avatar

yep, include me in the group of those who thought this was going to be a TGIF question.

Tight. I plan our meals according to the Manager’s Specials in the meat section at our local grocery store. I wash our clothes in cold water to save on our heating costs. I buy clothes out of season to get the clearance sale price. I only buy a few gallons of gas at a time because the price may be lower in a few days. We only buy items when we have the cash to pay for it. yada yada yada

flutherother's avatar

I live a very frugal lifestyle and I am quite penny pinching but on the other hand from time to time I splurge on a new gadget, a holiday or a nice present for someone. There are no pockets in a shroud.

YARNLADY's avatar

I am very frugal. I was raised that way. I hate to spend money.

When I have canned food, I make sure to scrape out and rinse out every last speck of food. More frequently, I cook from scratch. I reuse everything and wear (mostly used) clothes until they literally fall apart.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@DigitalBlue Also a perve. But for the most part I’m balanced. I’ll spend money when it’s worth it. But not wastefully.

Only138's avatar

I actually both, but neither. (if that makes sense). I am very impulsive when it comes to spending money on things I want, or if something breaks….there’s virtually no “lets think about it” time….but when it comes to food and household supplies, I will stretch these as far as humanly possible. Food isn’t bad until I decide it is….bread isn’t bad until its moldy….and I’m not buying deoderant or toilet paper until I’m about a day from being out.

Ponderer983's avatar

I read that and thought you were talking about my vag ;)

Only138's avatar

Well? :)

deni's avatar

I spend money on food because it’s important and it’s worth the extra cost to buy quality ingredients or eat at better restaurants. Everything else though, I am a thrift pro. Seriously, people have commented on how I have a knack for it. I’ve gotten some of the most amazing things at thrift stores….I have a particular thing for mugs, and decorations and have some really weird funky awesome things thanks to being a thrift rat for almost the past 10 years.

I also rarely indulge myself in things like electronics, beauty products, entertainment, whatever. So yeah I guess I’m cheap. But I know when not to be, and obviously for food, restaurants, tipping, dates, or if I need a really really good winter coat, I will just buy one.

@Ponderer983 Me too I was gonna say uhh….well….probably average, no one’s ever complained…lol

Coloma's avatar

Well..so far it looks there are only a couple of us spender types.
Aaah grasshoppers vs. ants. haha

Maybe the ants save better for a rainy day but the grasshopper will throw a great party and indulge you. lol

SavoirFaire's avatar

I’m pretty frugal, but largely because I simply do not want very much. I live rather minimally—insofar as one can live minimally while still being part of the modern world—and I think I am happier for it. The frugality is just a byproduct.

bkcunningham's avatar

I’m soooo tight, you can sharpen a pencil in my… umm. Nevermind.

deni's avatar

@bkcunningham Oh god terrible mental image!!!!!!!!

bkcunningham's avatar

My ear. My ear. I meant my ear. lol

Ponderer983's avatar

@Only138 and @deni Oh, sorry, sorry. I’ve been told by many that I’m tight in a good way ;)

bookish1's avatar

I was surprised not to see [NSFW] after the question. Especially considering who the question is coming from!

[DF.]*

*Drunk Fluthering.

ETpro's avatar

Knowing what I meant in asking, I was blown away by how many had responded. Now I’m kicking myself for not having marked this NSFW. I would have probably had far more fun reading about tight Vags and A$$es than discussing saving 10¢ a letter on postage. Keeping this safe for work, let me just comment that 68 years has robbed me of any former claim to 3 of Godzilla’s fingers, as @ragingloli boasts. Fortunately though, that’s two things I can still eat all I want of and the more I eat the more weight I loose. There is a loving lord. :-)

@marinelife That’s a good point. I saw that when we cleaned up the basement where my frugal mom spent he life saving everything. She grew up during the Great Depression. She even saved old aluminum pie pans and frozen food containers. There were big balls of rubber bands that had melted themselves together. She was a career teacher who saved to travel, but poor health robed her of that plan and four years after retiring, that same poor health ended her dreams.

I tend to go grasshopper when I’m spending on my wife, my kids or my friends. The rest of the time, we ants find grasshoppers a tasty treat. Humm. Can’t get my mind off eating.

@Coloma Well said. Adaptable. That’s me to a T.

@hearkat I think I’m likely to close before the post office does.

@DigitalBlue I’ve got to come up with a version of this question for all those who wanted it to be NSFW. :-)

@KNOWITALL We pretty nearly match. We don’t even eat out once a week, but I do pay for cable (have to have the highest speed Internet and that isn’t just sitting in a loose wire here). And I buy my own booze. But I recycle baggies and even save electrons from old emails to reuse. I keep them in spare extension cords.

@Blondesjon You and @ragingloli be sure to post video.

@wonderingwhy That sounds like a balanced approach. No interesting rituals, though.

@jonsblond Ditto on all those elements of frugality. I actually prefer to sleep in a room that’s about 62 to 65, but I am unwilling to pay for the air conditioning to keep it that cool in the summer. And as to TGIF, wait till next Friday.

@flutherother I go first cabin on my technology, but that’s how I make my living, so I need good tools. That and presents for the kids.

@YARNLADY My wife loves to shop the thrifts for buried treasure, and she’s found some real gems. Other than shoes and socks, most of our clothes come from Goodwill. It’s partly savings and partly just the thrill of Goodwill Hunting.

@Adirondackwannabe You can tell a true perv on whether they’ve ever spent on their perversion. I have. See, I may be tight, but that’s one way to loosen me up. :-)

@Only138 Makes perfect sense to me. I’m right there with you.

@Ponderer983 On that score, I am not concerned with fit as long as the owner of it is willing to be a bit loose with it. :-)

@deni We save a lot on food by shopping at Boston’s Haymarket. But when it comes to buying cheap versus healthy, I’m a Whole Foods sort of shopper. My wife loves thrift store hunting. She’s great at it, and knows how to find incredible stuff for next to nothing. So I support that with all the cash she needs.

@SavoirFaire I read you loud and clear. My needs are simple, my wants are few. And what helps is that much that I would want is currently out of my reach anyway.

@bkcunningham I would love to test that *ass*ertion. I’ve got a particularly dull pencil in mind.

@bookish1 I’d druther Fluther drunk than I’d druther flunk. You just wait till next Friday.

cookieman's avatar

I had a similar experience as @marinelife when my aunt died of breast cancer. She was so tight, she squeaked. Went nowhere, did little, complained endlessly. While cleaning out her house, after the funeral, we found a closet with a false back. Behind it were hundreds of coffee cans jam-packed with cash. A smal fortune left behind from an even smaller life.

So while I try not to be too big of an idiot with money, my basic philosophy was summed up nicely in an Ocean’s 11 movie;

“The last check I write in this life, I want it to bounce.”

Mariah's avatar

I am SUCH a miser. It’s awful. I got in that habit early on. As a kid I saved my $5/week allowance and slowly accrued a small fortune. I never managed to get a summer job in high school, so if I wanted to have money, pretty much the only way to do that was to not spend anything.

Now I have a job but it’s a measly 5 hours per week so it’s not like I’m making much. Yet I’m hoping to see my bank account balance go up as a result of my efforts, so I’m trying very hard to spend an even smaller amount than what I’m making.

I imagine I’ll pinch pennies for quite a while since I’m accruing student loans and I hope not to end up in a tight spot a few years down the road while paying those off. However, once I have a decent income, which I’m confident will happen pretty soon after graduation, I think I’ll be able to allow myself to relax about money a little bit. Unless it’s just a habit by then. I hope not.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

First thought, tight poon.

I’m not tight at all (heh heh), but I should be. I’d like to be able to put money away, so my partner and I can start our own business.

trailsillustrated's avatar

haha @DigitalBlue that’s what I thought .. was going WTF??? hahaha man this turned really funny…

ETpro's avatar

@cookieman I was planning on writing that last check to the quack who couldn’t keep me alive.

@Mariah Thanks. I wish you well in your efforts.

@Mama_Cakes Lots people shared that first thought, apparently. Best of success saving up for a business.

@trailsillustrated You just wait till next Friday. The NSFW version of “How tight are you.” is clearly what’s on the collective’s minds.

bookish1's avatar

@ETpro : I’m beside myself with anticipation!

ragingloli's avatar

@ETpro
You will get the same answer

ETpro's avatar

@bookish1 Oh my. I do hope I can rise to the occasion.

@ragingloli From you, probably so. Butt I will strive to phrase the de-tails so that some respondents who took this question as being specific to spending habits provide very different answers to the NSFW version.

ragingloli's avatar

@ETpro
I can see you struggled very hard to come up with these puns.
The only thing missing is a “pun intended” tacked on at the end. :)

Coloma's avatar

@ETpro I’m sure you can rise to the occasion and blow your tight wad. lolol OMG…that was SO BAD!

ETpro's avatar

@ragingloli It was very late when I wrote that. It won’t happen again.

@Coloma Ha! Indeed.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I was just eating pistachio nuts. There are always a few that are not open. Rather than throw them away, I use a nut cracker on them. I will not be defeated.

I also take my old coffee grounds in the paper filter and set it on top of a trivet on my wood burning stove. I get the nice aroma of coffee and a little extra moisture in the dry house. When they are dry I throw the filter and grounds into the fire to squeeze out the last few BTUs.

Coloma's avatar

@LuckyGuy LOL…you are a thrifty guy. Leave no nut uncracked! haha

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Coloma Yep. I refuse to let a nut escape. Also I burn the shells to extract BTUs. If I am in public or even if there is any one else around, I will not bother to get the nut cracker. I just quietly throw out the offending nut with the empty shells. I’m not that tight.

Just for the record, one half of a pistachio nut, weighing 0.39 grams, is worth roughly 6 BTUs. With oil at $4.00/gallon that is about 1/50 of a cent.

Coloma's avatar

@LuckyGuy Yep, I am on space heater power right now, I am determined to make my tank of propane last all winter. Well..we’ll see.
Hey…score for Coloma! My daughters boyfriend called at 10 last night and wants to cook me dinner and bring it over tonight. Free food and HUGE boyfriend points for the dude with mama. lol
I’m in…clearly he likes me…and bonus…he almost always takes my side in intellectual debates. hahaha

I am not only not having to cook tonight but I am the benefactor of some free flattery. What more could a woman ask for? ;-)

ragingloli's avatar

“wants to cook me dinner”
He is clearly trying to poison you.

LuckyGuy's avatar

The average human generates about 100 Watts of heat so just having them in your house will help warm the place.
You need to know exactly what your propane and your electricity cost. Here, electricity is cheaper than propane so a space heater makes sense. So does turning on the lights.
At one point (Enron) CA utilities were charging 4x that for electricity so propane was the better deal. Fire up the wood burning stove and burn your paper trash – and your pistachio nut hulls.

Coloma's avatar

@ragingloli LOL…Nah…he knows a good thing when he sees it, keep mama happy and she will be very generous in feathering the baby birds nest. haha
@LuckyGuy If worse comes to worse I can bring the geese in to sleep with me, a living down comfortor on the bed. lol

LuckyGuy's avatar

Uh oh… Here’s another example. I bought a bakers dozen of Bruegger’s bagels: A mix of sesame, poppy seed, salt pumpernickel, etc. There is no way I can eat them all at one time so I slice them and put them in three zip lock bags, 4 each and I eat the extra now.
The paper bag they come in is always full of seeds that came off the bagels. Do I throw that out? Of course not. I pour the bag out onto the toasted bagel and melted cream cheese and eat it. No waste.

ETpro's avatar

@Coloma & @LuckyGuy Jellies after my own tight heart.

Coloma's avatar

@LuckyGuy Soooo… if we were roomies would you flip out if I gave your displaced poppy seeds to the birds? I can see it now, an all out brawl over a teaspoon of poppy seeds. lol

LuckyGuy's avatar

No no! Giving food to the birdies is fine. They deserve all the help we can give them.
Wasting food is bad. I feed the neighborhood critters all kinds of things. Turkey carcass, old bread, stale food (I try to keep “stale” to a minimum.)
Displace poppy seeds can go either way, man or beast . Just not in the trash.

Coloma's avatar

^^^ Razzing you I should have shipped you the jar of home made pickles my neighbor made a few weeks ago. The worst pickles ever, it was a joy to toss them. Blech! haha
;-)

LuckyGuy's avatar

It is ok to toss it as long as you don’t put the food in trash. Critters will eat it.

What are you doing with your Halloween pumpkins? I am going to take them out back and shoot them with my 20 gauge loaded with #6 shot. They will be blown into bite sized pieces the deer will love. If it’s above freezing (and it looks like it will be on Sunday) I might fill the carved one with apples and pop it with the 12 ga 3” Mossberg.

Coloma's avatar

@LuckyGuy
No pumpkins this year over here, I gave them away but didn’t carve any. In the past they go out for the deer yes. Have fun blasting pumpkins. haha

ETpro's avatar

@LuckyGuy Ha! Wasting a Halloween pumpkin isn’t wasteful.

@Coloma If you don’t have a shotgun, who needs a pumpkin?

hearkat's avatar

@LuckyGuy: If I lived in a more rural area, I’d gladly feed the critters; but I’m not trying to attract scavengers to our neighborhood. The damned squirrels here are already borderline aggressive, as opposed to the timid ones we had where I used to live. The feral cats seem to have dwindled in numbers, but I don’t want them messing with my domestic cats when I take them out for fresh air. Composting is also great if you live somewhere that you have that option.

LuckyGuy's avatar

The pumpkins were spectacular!

@hearkat Certainly it depends upon your neighborhood and the critters you feed. I have a fox family that usually eats squirrels. When no squirrel is available then something else ends up out there: Mice, chipmunks, etc. They are 80 yards from the house on the edge of woods. They know better than to come closer to the house.

LuckyGuy's avatar

As I was duct taping over my pair of cushioned wood-splitting gloves I noticed I was being pretty tight. Photo of gloves

Coloma's avatar

@LuckyGuy LOL
Well..I have a brand new roll of maroon colored duck tape that did not work for what I bought it for, a tear in the seam of my hot tub cover.
Soooo…. now I am using maroon duck tape on any and everything I can think of. I taped down some plastic over a table I am re-staining, taped up the cat food bag with festive maroon tape, taped up a couple of summer beach umbrellas.

I MUST use the maroon duck tape! lol

Coloma's avatar

Maybe I’ll have an intruder and I can tape them up with maroon duck tape. lol

ETpro's avatar

@hearkat You can’t compost where you are?

@LuckyGuy I love those gloves. You are truly my kind of tightwad. :D

@Coloma Just keep the tape off of maroon ducks.

hearkat's avatar

@ETpro – No. We’re in a townhouse and have no outside land. Well… We can plant in a little ~5’x3’ area off our deck (it would be larger if we didn’t already have a tree and bushes there – but we like the privacy they give us). I wouldn’t want to keep compost that close to the house.

JenniferP's avatar

I spend money but I don’t spend money that I don’t have. I go out to eat fairly often and if I want something I buy it but I don’t spend money on expensive gadgets and cars.

ETpro's avatar

@hearkat Oh, that would do it. Composting’s great, but not when you have to do it on the living-room floor.

@JenniferP Kind of a middle of the road spender.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I still have a 27 inch diagonal tube TV and no cable. I use a 35 year old roof antenna.

Does that count as being tight or just not caring enough about TV to pay money for it?

Coloma's avatar

I don’t pay for my dish hookup either @LuckyGuy
I refuse to pay over a $100 a month for TV and internet. I watch DVD’s and have Netflix.
No way is TV worth that to me. I’d rather be reading or doing something outdoors.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Coloma Exactly! We’d get along just fine. ;-)

JenniferP's avatar

I did just recently spend almost $4,000 on Lasik eye surgery.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Today, I noticed another thing I do. I took my used coffee filter and grounds and placed them on a trivet on top of the cooktop portion of my wood burning stove. I let them dry out and then throw the filter and dried grounds into the fire turning trash into heat.
I get badly needed humidity into the house. The room smells like fresh brewed coffee and I get at least 100 free BTUs while reducing my trash volume. It’s a Win-Win-Win-Win..

ETpro's avatar

@JenniferP There are things that are worth spending on. Without good vision, your earning capacity si severely limited.

@LuckyGuy Makes eminent sense.

JenniferP's avatar

ET pro-True, but I did wear glasses. But it was a good investment and I am glad I did it.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I noticed another one today.

In the winter, (it is below freezing today) I do not use the bathroom exhaust fan when I take a shower. I just leave the door open. A typical fan is 85 cfm (cubic feet per minute). If I turn on the fan, I am blowing warm, moist air, that I paid to heat, out of my house while extremely cold, dry air is being sucked in to replace it. That is a waste of both energy and badly needed moisture.
I only use the exhaust fan for no more than 5 minutes after toilet use, and during the summer months when I don’t need the heat or the humidity.

ETpro's avatar

@LuckyGuy Good one. And I do the same for the same reasons.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I also vent the dryer indoors. The dryer is located on my 2000 sq ft, unfinished basement insulated with a layer of R-11 TekFoil on the walls and a woodburner that I run about once per week.
I figure with the dryer running and venting indoors its operation is virtually free.
In the summer when it matters, I shower with the vent on and use the dryer when it is cooler outdoors so I suck cool air into the house.
Imagine how much energy the country would save if we all spent a minute thinking about it.

I like this question . Can you tell?

Coloma's avatar

@LuckyGuy Yes, it’s right up your anal…er, alley. lolol I love razzing you, and you know I adore you as well. ;-)

ragingloli's avatar

I do not even heat my flat.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@ragingloli That saves a bundle. Nice. I’ll bet my heated house is a similar temperature as yours. I keep my place pretty cool. The weak, the infirm, and the scantily clad all complain.

@Coloma You never have to worry. I know you well enough to never be offended by anything you write.

Coloma's avatar

@LuckyGuy….Good to know. Now, as long as you don’t tell me I “displace” the gravel in the driveway when I park like my ex husband used to, we’ll get along just fine. lol

Coloma's avatar

Feeling quite pleased right now as the saga of the maroon duck tape continues to unfold.
Just finished making about a gallon of cranberry sauce and hey….!!! The maroon duck tape is a perfect color complementary touch in taping down a bowl for travel! lol
I’m not so much tight as I just delight in finding creative ways to use things :-)

Paradox25's avatar

When it comes to myself I’m a pennypincher, and with some rare exceptions I’m generally not a very materialistic person. I’ve had the same cell phone for 7 years now, I still play PS2 games and I’ve had my truck for a long time now. When it comes to helping others I’m much more generous. I gave an older fellow $50 about 2 weeks ago because he said that he only had $4 for gas. It wasn’t much, but at least he could get gas and something to eat as well. I waited until he was outside the store away from everybody’s view to give him the money, because for some odd reason I’m more comfortable that way. I hate both positive and negative attention so I try to stay low key. I spend much more money on others than I do myself though. In general I’m a saver, and I tend to be conservative with my money, but I’m definitely not a miser nor stingy.

JenniferP's avatar

Right now, I have been spending a lot of money because I am getting a divorce. I am furnishing a new apartment (with what I don’t already have). But I have the money to do it and once it is done I will go back to the way things were before. I don’t have to have the best of things but I do like nice things.

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