Posted in writing


Washington, D.C. is struggling to enter into the spring season. Temperatures, political and environmental, are fluctuating from low to high daily as the barrenness of winter loses its strangle hold over the city while the symbols of spring, daffodils and cherry blossoms, are blooming amidst the rains, the winds, and the changing temperatures. Washington, D.C. residents know that while we bring out our spring outfits, we also keep our winter ones nearby.

Moving to Washington, D.C. from California a few years ago, I went through several styles of outerwear (coats, jackets, sweaters) until I found one that has become my “go to” coat.  It is a simple brown leather one that is large enough to fit over suit jackets during the workweek or hoodies for casual events, and long enough to protect my clothing from the winter winds and spring rains.  This coat even accompanied me to the top of the Haleakala Volcano in Maui, Hawaii, to observe sunrise at 9800 feet.  Finding this coat did not come easily, but I did manage to find it on sale, another plus for any shopper.

This year, I looked at my favorite coat with a critical eye and determined it was time for a good cleaning and maintenance – tightening buttons etc. Imagine my surprise to discover that cleaning and maintenance would cost as much as the original purchase price of the coat.  That I did not expect so I had a decision to make: do I pay a significant amount of money to maintain my favorite coat or for the same amount of money do I purchase a new one?

Business owners face this decision all the time.  They are constantly bombarded with sales people and friends presenting new versions, new releases, and new products.  While they want to ensure their businesses are current and up to date and that they present a fresh, current image, they must balance the desire to stay current with the existing budgets and missions of the company.

Does the mission of the company require you to have the latest and greatest product?  If yes, then your budget should represent that choice.  Even though we are presented with a cacophony of choices of products, making the choice is actually very easy.

Ask yourself:

  • Is this a need to have product or a want to have product?
  • If it is a need to have, then create a budget for it.
  • If it is a want to have, then look at your budget to determine if you can have it.

It really is that simple.

Of course, in my case, the question was not spending more money; it was spending the same amount of money on an existing product or purchasing a newer version.  Knowing that leather holds up well (quality) and remembering the amount of money and time I went through to finding my perfect coat that works in all the different DC scenarios, I chose maintenance over a new purchase.  Handing over my credit card, I smiled believing that I chose wisely.

What do you think?



Dr. Sheila Embry is a govie, author, pracademician, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend who loves to read, write, think, and laugh. Many of her blog postings are summaries or excerpts of books that she read and wants to share to encourage others. An author with more than 25 years experience within the legislative and executive branches of the U. S. federal government holding 3 accredited degrees: Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership, Master of Arts in Human Resources Development, and Baccalaureate of Business Administration, she believes in continuing learning both on and off the job. She has been recognized with multiple professional and writing awards for her peer-reviewed, publications. Click the bibliography page above for a listing of all the publications.

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