Fifteen Items I Don’t Skimp On

Frugality is a major part of our financial independence strategy. Since we live on only one income and save the other one, we have to be quite careful with our spending.

As I’ve mentioned many times, my perspective on frugality is to spend as little as possible on things that aren’t as important to us so that we can spend adequately on things that are important to us.

Still, there are a number of things that I simply don’t skimp on. Buying the “dirt cheap” version of these things seems to cause more problems in my life than the savings will ever be worth, so instead I either choose to buy these items “for life” (meaning I shoot for highly reliable versions of the item) or I buy the best “bang for the buck” version I can find (relying on recommendations from trusted sources like Consumer Reports).

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it does provide a great example of some items that I don’t skimp on.

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffett

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffett
Quotes Daddy – Quote of the Day

Questions about Mislabeled Roasts, Skillets, Dollar Shave Club, and More!

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question.
1. Buying cheap or for life
2. Best financial decision?
3. Grocery store ethics
4. Stuck in a tough spot
5. Taxes and early retirement
6. Being “rich”
7. Organizational credit card
8. Trusting the bank
9. Buy it for life: skillet
10. Dollar Shave Club thoughts
11. Is a HSA useful?
12. Escaping past
13. Financial responsibility over time
14. Book suggestion
15. GTD today

This past weekend, we didn’t really do anything special at all. Sarah and I finished a few household projects. We had a family movie night, then had an old family friend over for dinner the following night. I got to spend a few lazy hours just reading, which was really enjoyable.

After a run of busy weekends, it’s really nice to simply have two days “off” to stay at home, catch up on household tasks, and work on personal projects. I feel so much more together at the end of a weekend like that.

Dealing with the Slacker Employee

When one employee is not pulling their weight, it can have a devastating impact on productivity, customer service, or sales. Today’s lean organizations can no longer tolerate anything less than 100% effort from all of their employees.

However, the most negative impact a “slacker” employee can have isn’t necessary organizational results – it’s the impact on that employee’s coworkers that have to work extra hard to cover for their coworker. When a manager doesn’t see this – or, chooses not to address it – morale suffers, and ultimately, good employees will either lower their own standards or quit.

Read my latest post over at Management and Leadership to find how to deal with the “lazy” employee. You might be surprised at some of the possible causes and solutions.

Great Leadership

The Profile of an Entrepreneur – Do You Match? [Infographic]

entrepreneurDo you match the profile of an entrepreneur? TechnologyAdvice CEO Rob Bellenfant and his research team analyzed the defining personal characteristics and habits of entrepreneurs and compared the results to the general population. As the infographic below shows, the results are very interesting.

For example, some highlights include:

  • The average entrepreneur works 66 hours per week vs. 47 hours per week of the average full-time employee in the US.
  • Entrepreneurs are 3 times more likely to have rebelled as teenagers.
  • Despite the necessary hard work, 73% of entrepreneurs believe good luck played a role in their success.
  • 80% of entrepreneurs hold bachelor’s degrees vs. just 32% of the average U.S. population.
  • Entrepreneurs make $ 21,560 more per year than average working Americans.
  • 45% of entrepreneurs save money for retirement vs. 32% of non-business owners.
  • On average, entrepreneurs are healthier, get more exercise, and eat better than other workers.

Wishing vs. doing

By giving people more ways to speak up and more tools to take action, we keep decreasing the gap between what we wish for and what we can do about it.

If you’re not willing to do anything about it, best not to waste the energy wishing about it.


Beware the Analytics Bottleneck

Within the next three years there will be over 20 billion connected devices (e.g. oil pipelines, smart cities, connected homes and businesses, etc.) which can empower the digital enterprise — or intimidate them. With the pace of digital “always on” streaming devices and technology innovation accelerating, one might think technology would continue to pose a challenge for businesses. Historically, new technologies from the mainframe to client server and ERP — while enabling organizations to pursue new business goals — became a bottleneck to progress. This is due to constraints like lengthy implementation processes and inflexibility to adapt as business conditions changed. Turns out that isn’t the case today. There is a new, even more elusive, bottleneck: the organization itself and its ability to adopt and adapt big data and analytics capabilities.

Based on our work with clients in a variety of industries from financial services to energy, here are three ways we’ve seen organizations embrace the analytics opportunities of today and transform from being the constraint into being the change agent for their company’s future.

Don’t be overwhelmed — start slower to go faster: Given the ferocious pace of streaming data, it can be challenging for many organizations to glean data insights at the same speed and determine the right data-driven decisions and actions to take. To avoid getting overwhelmed by all the data and the possible opportunities it could uncover, companies should slow down and just focus on the things that matter — it’s much easier to focus on resolving five issues that could truly make a difference instead of 500 issues that might help the business.