Know Your MVQ To Avoid Wasteful Spending

Updated: January 11, 2024

In the tech startup community, whenever we plan to launch a new business idea, we’d always focus on developing our MVP or the Minimum Viable Product.

The MVP is the most basic version of the product, which has enough features or qualities that can satisfy the customer’s needs.

For example, think about the mobile phone. At the very least, it should be able to make and receive calls and text messages. These are the minimum features or functions that you need to sell it as a viable product.

But we’re here not to talk about MVP… but MVQ.

What is MVQ?

This is an acronym that I just thought of, and it means Minimum Viable Quantity.

MVQ is the least or the essential amount that you should own a particular item. In other words, it answers the question, “How many of these items do you really need?”

For example, think about your toothbrush and ask yourself, “How many toothbrushes do you really need?”

If you’re most people, the answer would be one. You only need one toothbrush. So, for toothbrushes, your MVQ is 1.

Let’s make it a bit harder. How about a television? What do you think is the minimum number of TV sets you should own?

Again, for most people, one TV at home is enough. But I know someone who believes they need two, one in their living room and one in the bedroom.

Is that person wrong? No, they’re not wrong. Because MVQ depends on you and most especially, your lifestyle.

If you were to ask me, I don’t need a television at all, so my MVQ is zero for this example. I’ll tell you why later.

Think about your MVQ for the items you often use.

Personal finance is personal. So I’m not here to tell you how many televisions, cars, shoes, watches, or bags you should own.

However, I’d like to point out that there is always an MVQ for these items, and it requires total honesty with yourself to be able to determine the least number for you.

Often, we buy items that end up as an unnecessary duplicate. And that’s an awful waste of money, which you could have used to buy something more useful or important to you.

A friend recently bought a pair of sneakers. He’s not a collector. It just so happened that he liked its design and it was on sale.

A few days later, he dropped his smartphone and the screen shattered. He told me that he now regrets buying those sneakers because he could’ve just used the money to have his phone fixed.

That’s when I learned that he already owns two pairs of sneakers, and the third one, which he bought, is just something nice that he wanted to buy for himself.

His MVQ for sneakers is 2 and thus making his third pair a non-essential and wasteful purchase.

How about having a spare?

I have two pairs of leather shoes, which I normally use alternately for formal events and speaking engagements. A friend once suggested that I should have another one because I do wear leather shoes often.

Having a third pair would certainly prolong the life of all my leather shoes, and having two extra pairs are better than just having one.

While my friend’s advice is good, I believe that my MVQ is just 2 for leather shoes. And if one of them should get torn or break apart, then I’ll just buy a new pair immediately to replace it, while I tentatively use the other one full-time.

In my experience, it’s better to just keep your money and buy only when needed. This allows you to be flexible with your budget. To put it another way, my cash savings is my spare shoes.

Be aware and be honest with yourself.

If you asked me 20 years ago what my MVQ is for television, I would have answered you that it’s 1. It is my favorite source of entertainment back then.

However, when I was starting my first business, I got so busy that I rarely got time to watch TV. In fact, it was already a couple of months after when I learned that my cable provider changed the channel assignments.

That was when I realized that I can probably survive without a television.

Thus, from 1, my minimum viable quantity for televisions became zero. From a home necessity, it became just something nice to have, but I can certainly live without it.

So, take a look and see all the stuff around you, and the things you currently own. What is their MVQ? How many of them go above your minimum viable quantity?

And perhaps, it’s time to donate them; or maybe hold a “garage sale” and turn those back into cash.

Lastly, it’s important to realize that having more of something doesn’t always make it more fulfilling.

Imagine owning five mobile phones. Do you think your life would be happier because of it? I don’t think so.

If someone gave me five mobile phones, then I’d probably sell all of them, and then use the money to buy my dream phone. Because this would satisfy my mobile phone MVQ, which is 1. And I’ll get to have the brand and model that I ideally want.

Thus, the challenge for us lies in knowing how much is enough… the number where having more simply becomes overconsumption.

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  1. We are in agreement on MVQ if talking about non-necessities that have little or no value in sustaining life. We dislike fake news so TV is a non-priority, we do not spend time in front of the “electronic time waster.” Mine is a smart TV that can double as a display should I want very large charts for my trading. That is really the ONLY reason there is a TV in our home. Things for the sake of having things are really a non-issue for us.

    I am however, heavily influenced by growing up in the home of my depression era Grandparents. Not only did I learn to be frugal, it was imprinted on me to always “put something by” for the next round of hard times. We do stock up on sale and bargain UKAY UKAY items far in advance of need to keep our long term costs down and supply always available. After my relocation to the Philippines over eight years ago, I no longer planed to survive the ice storm that knocked out electric power, phone and internet service for over two weeks. Night temps were well below freezing. Hypothermia is a serious threat in or out or doors. Folks totally dependent on everything modern, with no back-up heating system or wood stoves or fireplaces were in a world of hurt. If you were low on groceries at the start of the storm, forget about going out. Ice covered trees fell over and lined the roads like sardines lined up and a tin. Heavy equipment was brought in to clear roads. Small side roads were last on the list.

    These days, living in the Philippines, my preparedness is concentrated more on what the local threats might be. Flooding after a typhoon has certainly had an effect on a lot of people. I very quickly learned what products go out of stock and often do not come back to store shelves for six months or longer. I have used the analogy of life and health insurance witch we purchase for protection. I consider my supply room of stored foods, water, medical supplies and assorted survival items as yet another form of insurance. The good part, I have the “premium” we pay in my storage room and we get to eat and drink all of it. In this case, I am the insurance company and I keep the premium.

    Look up and study the rule of 3s for survival. At first, my new Bride thought I was a bit excessive on my promise that she “will NEVER run out of anything” that she might need for the home. She thought one, maybe two spares were sufficient. After our first local flood together, she understood. We did not suffer in any way because we had supplies in stock. Even though our water delivery guys could not get to our subdivision from their location , we were fine and had surplus to share with ill-prepared neighbors. After emergency #1, my Beautiful Bride jumped on the bandwagon with me and began serious storage upgrades and inventory control that insures rotation.

    At the very beginning of the 2020 COVID pandemic, We were happy that we could supply non-prepper in-laws with boxes of canned foods, rice and other supplies to help them until there was a plan in place for folks to get out and purchase what little was available in their area. We have drawn down a lot of out supplies but never went without. Eventually vendors set up close to our subdivision. If you had emergency funds or a source of income, you could buy wonderful fresh vegetables from Baguio and fish from the ocean. Our next challenge in 2021: RESTOCKING our supply room. Many items are still not back in stock and store managers tell us they have “no idea when that item will be back.”

    One tip I will share, try to find people with relatives returning to the Philippines from countries that may have the those special storage food items that you crave for. We have one such lady in our circle. She forwards a list of items we can no longer find here in the Philippines to her relatives. We send a picture of the label so we get the exact item we want along with a down payment of 50%. In a few weeks time, the items are ready for pickup and we pay the balance due. Everybody is happy, we have the things we sorely miss and the provider earns some money using the empty cabin space.

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