This blog has gotten me quite a reputation for being a corporate penny pincher. After all, at its core, Spend Management is about saving money, which is the focus of my rants in these virtual pages. But I'm also a believer that Spend Management is a philosophy that should transcend the workplace. Indeed, with a bit of practice, it's possible to practice Spend Management in the home. Today, I'll share a personal example of how one can practice the art of Spend Management outside of the office. Following the 80/20 rule of going after the most focused and lucrative categories first, I'll begin with home renovation, which is an area where far too many people spend too much. In future posts on the subject, I'll talk about applying Spend Management principles to home design, real estate purchases and sales, cars, and other areas.
But in terms of home renovations, it seems my wife and I have gone through near continuous projects since we moved into our humble flat. Despite the constant state of activity, we've been able to do it without breaking the bank. How? We've taken a serious focus on reducing the costs of material for each project (and we've not even used sourcing tools to do it).
Instead of working with designers, we purchase direct from specialty retailers and showrooms who are happy to provide design advice. But we also ask for a contractor discount by claiming a family member is in the business (which in our case is true, but this rarely matters if you swagger into the showroom, as you're rarely asked to document it). We've bought marble, granite, imported stone, fixtures, appliances, wood and other supplies in this way. The "contractor discount" can amount to 20-30% off of list, and even more off of what a designer would charge. If you don't have the chutzpah to ask for it yourself, force your contractor to split his discount when you're negotiating the labor component of the project.
Stay tuned for more tips in the future!