Blake Snow

content advisor, recognized journalist, bodacious writer-for-hire

As seen on CNN, NBC, ABC, Fox, Wired, Yahoo!, BusinessWeek, Wall Street Journal
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Why everyone should embrace frugality

Warner Bros. / Blake Snow

Warner Bros. / Blake Snow

My stomach turns anytime I witness waste, lavishness, or squandering. I smile whenever I see thrift, frugality, or resourcefulness. (See also: The difference between cheap and frugal)

In fact, the latter is a life-long pursuit of mine: To be resourceful in everything I do, including my personal and business endeavorers.

Which is why I relate to Amazon’s leadership principle on frugality, explained like this (via Business Insider): “We try not to spend money on things that don’t matter to customers. Frugality breeds resourcefulness, self-sufficiency, and invention. There are no extra points for headcount, budget size, or fixed expense.”

According to Amazon officials, frugality includes no first class or business airfare, because “if you’re flying first class to meet customers, it’s a pretty substantial expense, and none of that benefits customers.”

Obviously there are exceptions to frugality. And it’s a helluva judgement call when it comes to assessing long-term value. Why else would Amazon say “we try not to spend on things that don’t matter”? Why else would premium products like first class airfare or premium writers (ahem) exist if they didn’t offer meaningful value to a significant group of customers?

In my own experience, I’ve billed a customer once for business class. Not because I needed my ego stroked or to rub elbows with power brokers. But because I needed to be on the front of the plane to make an important early meeting on the first flight into town. That and it saved the client $50 by avoiding a hotel stay the night before, as opposed to the day trip I took.

So it’s not just transactional frugality. It’s total cost of frugality. It’s keeping overhead low to keep your options open. It’s spending where it counts, wherever that may be. It’s sustaining economy for the long-haul, not just in short blaze of glory bursts.

In addition to luck and persistence, frugality has enabled me to run a solvent business for 10 years. I’m certain it will enable a lifetime of solvency and financial preparedness. When that happens, the good things in life (i.e. positive experiences with family, friends, and those in need) taste so much sweeter.

I speak from experience.