, ,

Is End of Year Spending Good?

Perhaps, just perhaps, government end of year spending is good thing.

As much as we rail against it (as I have done) for its waste, I have not seen hard evidence that it is wasteful.

I acknowledge this is my first end of year spending spree, so there is a lack of experience on my part. Still, I pride myself on thinking things most people don’t.

I can think of 2 situations where end of year spending is good:

  1. You have the money to pursue an innovative program less risk averse people may not take during any other time of the year.
  2. Getting valuable training you may not get during another part of the year.

Unfortunately, these are just hypothetical scenarios. I don’t have hard evidence…then again, I don’t see any hard evidence that end of year spending is bad — just “common sense” that it is bad.

  • Do you have a story where end of year spending was good?
  • Do you have specific evidence where end of year spending is more wasteful than spending during other times of the year?

Leave a Comment


Leave a Reply

Jenyfer Johnson

Year end spending has shown me that my annual budget needs tweaking badly…and I mean in a downward way. Some of my budget numbers are obviously set way too high, as I had too much money at the end of the year. Last year that money was “re-directed” to fund other projects in my section but this year there were not as many projects and we funded smaller environmental needs. But this showed me the bigger issue that needs addressing…the over-stated budget, which will be getting fixed before next FY.

Brandon Jubar

As long as end of year spending is for things that truly are required, worthwhile and cost effective, then I don’t see a problem with it. Unfortunately, my experience (mainly in the corporate arena) is that end of year spending is discretionary, of questionable worth, and over-priced.

This whole idea of “use it or lose it” is often at the heart of the matter. Be frugal, save money, and your reward is that we’ll slash your budget even more next year. On the other hand, if you can manage to blow through your entire budget by the end of the year, your reward is that your budget will remain intact next fiscal year! Woohoo! Let’s get spendin’!

If you want people to be frugal and save money, then that behavior must be rewarded, not punished. In years past, I’ve read case studies of various local governments and non-profits that have managed to implement programs to reward frugality and have had amazing success. Unfortunately, most organizations frown upon coming in significantly under budget because that must mean that you didn’t forecast your budget accurately. In fact, it is sometimes considered worse than coming in over budget because if you’re under budget then not only were you wrong, you were also sand-bagging!

Heide Mahoney

I have had over 9 years worth of year ends at 2 different agencies and have seen a lot of waste in not just money from the customer. Such as forcing acqusition to award by Sept 30th when funds don’t expire and there is no pressing reason to award other than to make some higher ups look good. Gov employees work overtime and prices come in higher because the contractor doesn’t fully understand the SOW. HUGE WASTE

Jaime Gracia

My experience has been that end of year spending is wasteful, as it amplifies the worst behaviors in government procurement. Certainly having end-of-year money for innovative programs would be a good thing, but I have seen very little of it. See my recent blog post about this subject.