There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch - TANSTAAFL


DEFINITION of 'There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch - TANSTAAFL'

An acronym that attempts to describe the cost of decision making and consumption. "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch" (TANSTAAFL) expresses the idea that even if something seems like it is free, there is always a cost, no matter how indirect or hidden.

In finance, TANSTAAFL refers to the opportunity cost paid to make a decision. The decision to consume one product usually comes with the trade-off of giving up the consumption of something else.

Also known as "there is no such thing as a free lunch" (TINSTAAFL).

BREAKING DOWN 'There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch - TANSTAAFL'

This phrase is thought to have originated because many saloons in the U.S. used to provide free lunches to their patrons, but required them to purchase drinks in order to get them.

Although the phrase is a double negative, it is not intended to be interpreted as such. Therefore, the alternate acronym TINSTAAFL is often used.

  1. Foregone Earnings

    The difference in earnings or performance between what is actually ...
  2. Cost-Benefit Analysis

    A process by which business decisions are analyzed. The benefits ...
  3. Cost Of Carry

    Costs incurred as a result of an investment position. These costs ...
  4. Opportunity Cost

    1. The cost of an alternative that must be forgone in order to ...
  5. Marginal Rate Of Transformation

    The rate at which one good must be sacrificed in order to produce ...
  6. Racketeering

    A fraudulent service built to serve a problem that wouldn't otherwise ...
Related Articles
  1. Economics

    Economics Basics

    Learn economics principles such as the relationship of supply and demand, elasticity, utility, and more!
  2. Savings

    3 Common Excuses For Not Contributing To A Retirement Plan

    If you're not participating in your employer-sponsored retirement plan, there may be some easy solutions.
  3. Options & Futures

    What To Do When Your Options Trade Goes Awry

    Check out some repair strategies to help boost the profit potential of a losing position.
  4. Markets

    Cash: Can A Company Have Too Much?

    Cash is something companies love to have. But if they are not using it there could be problems.
  5. Options & Futures

    Dividends, Interest Rates And Their Effect On Stock Options

    Learn how analyzing these variables are crucial to knowing when to exercise early.
  6. Investing

    What’s the Difference Between Duration & Maturity?

    We look at the meaning of two terms that often get confused, duration and maturity, to set the record straight.
  7. Investing Basics

    Should You Get A Six Sigma Black Belt? Average Salary: 98K

    Interested in the Six Sigma Black Belt but unsure whether you need one? Here's a guide to it and how it differs from other belts.
  8. Investing Basics

    What is Equity?

    Think of equity as ownership in any asset after all debts stemming from that asset are paid.
  9. Economics

    What's a Horizontal Merger?

    A horizontal merger occurs when companies within the same industry merge.
  10. Economics

    Explaining Quality Control

    Businesses use quality control to ensure their products and services meet a certain standard, as well as any industry regulations.
  1. Do working capital funds expire?

    While working capital funds do not expire, the working capital figure does change over time. This is because it is calculated ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Does working capital include inventory?

    A company's working capital includes inventory, and increases in inventory make working capital increase. Working capital ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How can I calculate funds from operation in Excel?

    In general, the terms "work in progress" and "work in process" are used interchangeably to refer to products midway through ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. When does Q4 start and finish?

    Most companies such as Facebook have financial years that end on December 31st. For these companies, the fourth quarter begins ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. When is it useful to look at a company's fixed asset turnover ratio?

    It is useful to look at a company's fixed asset turnover ratio when an outside observer, such as an investor, wants to know ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is the difference between perfect and imperfect competition?

    Perfect competition is a microeconomics concept that describes a market structure controlled entirely by market forces. In ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Barefoot Pilgrim

    A slang term for an unsophisticated investor who loses all of his or her wealth by trading equities in the stock market. ...
  2. Quick Ratio

    The quick ratio is an indicator of a company’s short-term liquidity. The quick ratio measures a company’s ability to meet ...
  3. Black Tuesday

    October 29, 1929, when the DJIA fell 12% - one of the largest one-day drops in stock market history. More than 16 million ...
  4. Black Monday

    October 19, 1987, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) lost almost 22% in a single day. That event marked the beginning ...
  5. Monetary Policy

    Monetary policy is the actions of a central bank, currency board or other regulatory committee that determine the size and ...
  6. Indemnity

    Indemnity is compensation for damages or loss. Indemnity in the legal sense may also refer to an exemption from liability ...
Trading Center