Working with vendors

Understanding the quotes you get back from vendors in a thread from Reddit on why you wouldn’t tell vendors your budget for a project:

The goal is to accurately and narrowly define scope and requirements. Without disclosing budget to the vendors, as the “quality” (accuracy + detail) of your request increases, there should be less of an overall variance between vendors. For a very well written request, vendor quotes should come back in a tight cluster. Assuming your request is accurate, if this cluster of pricing is well below your budget, it suggests that you over-budgeted for the project. On the other hand, if the cluster is above budget, you under-budgeted and will probably have to sacrifice some of your requirements to get the price down. Outliers might suggest vendors who are trying to underbid their competition, or trying to overcharge you. Large variance (no cluster) or a large number of vendors going over budget suggests a broadly defined scope or vague requirements. Giving vendors a budget allows them to easily tweak the quotes to fit within your expectations while not knowing anything more about your scope or requirements. Proceeding with a quote scope that lacks the proper parameters and/or missing requirements is a recipe for disaster…

Book Review: The Millionaire Next Door

The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanely, William D. Danko

I liked the message of the book, which was simple:

  • Spend within your means.
  • People with million dollar net worths are not necessarily the ones that look the part.
  • Money is just as much a trap as a means to financial independence.

Business owners started with humble beginnings but grew their net worth by living frugally, investing their time, money, and energy into their businesses, and are often worth far more than the people driving the luxury cars, wearing expensive clothes, and eating fancy foods.

It all boils down to the expression: “You don’t get rich by spending money.”

For advertisers trying to appeal to the affluent families, it might be eye-opening that the wealthiest people may live in middle class neighborhoods and drive US-made cars.

For me, it covered living frugally, investing in yourself, using this knowledgeable to consider services to these overlooked affluent. The UAW (under accumulator of wealth), AAW (average accumulator of wealth), and PAW (prodigious accumulator of wealth) were interesting to see that you could do even more than just living within your means but you could also set yourself up for success in the future with savings and investments. It also defines the difference between high income and high net worth. You could spend all of your high income or you could save a significant portion of a moderate income – which do you think would be better off?

The book spent chapters on affluent families that over-gift to their children financially and, as a side-effect, teach their kids to live outside of their means and put them on a spending treadmill. Along with the topic of inheritance, this was interesting to see the different sides to problems with large estates.

Ultimately, I thought there were too many examples that were used to emphasize the same point. As somebody that was already on-board, it was repetitive with examples that were too conveniently ‘Goofus and Gallant’.

Arby’s Rachel and Reuben

(Sung to X and Y sitting in a tree)

Reuben and Rachel sitting in a tree
Thou-sand Is-land Dr-e-ssing
First comes Rye
Then comes Swiss
Then comes sau-er-kraut in a combo meal


Our local Arby’s had “Reuben and Rachel sitting in a tree” on their sign marquee. We then had to finish the song.