With more businesses trying to go green and lessen their ecological footprint, you’d the think the amount of paper used per company would be dropping. It’s not. According to abnsave.com, company paper use has been steadily rising since 2009 with a 25-percent annual increase. That’s a lot of paper.
With businesses using more and more resources, some are finding it hard to keep up with the cost. Your company probably spends around $200 per employee per year on office supplies. That number goes up to $2,000 if you include the costs of office equipment. Running a business is expensive, but there ways to make it more affordable.
1. Get a credit card gives you cash back on every purchase. Better yet, look for a business credit card that offers bonus points (or extra cash back) on office supplies. That way you’ll be paying yourself with every purchase you make for your company.
2. Keep an eye out for sales. Don’t believe anyone who tells you there’s a best time of the year to save. The price for a business computer will fluctuate throughout the year, but there’s not a guaranteed season when all computers get their best discounts. It’s up to you to compare prices and be able to recognize a good deal.
3. Shop online and use coupon codes. There’s a reason online retailers are putting neighborhood stores out of business, and it’s not just about convenience. From what we’ve seen, it can be easier to find a good deal when you shop online. Plus, a lot of the time you can use a promo code to make it even more affordable.
4. Shop multiple stores. It might be easier to get all of your office supplies from the same place, but you’ll pay a pretty penny for that convenience. It’s smarter to shop around and look for sales. If you restrict yourself to just one store, you’ll miss out on the sale items found at other shopping locations. (Note: There is value to being a loyal customer and taking advantage of loyalty programs. You just need to know when it makes more sense to shop somewhere else.)
5. Reuse (instead of replacing) old office equipment. Your office’s old computers might not have the latest operating system, but that doesn’t mean you should swap the hardware for something new. You might be able to revitalize the machines by downloading new software. If you’re not sure how to upgrade your electronics, consider hiring a freelance computer repair technician. They should be able to quickly get your old machines in tip-top shape.
6. Host your data on the cloud. A server is an expensive investment. First you pay for the hardware, and then you have to pay to maintain the system. Fortunately, there’s another way. Moving your data to the cloud can be a cheaper option.
7. Buy office supplies in bulk. The price per item will sometimes go down if you buy enough at once. But buying in bulk doesn’t always save you money. That’s why it’s important to do the math and make sure the bigger purchase makes sense. But before you do that, figure out if you actually want the product. You don’t want buy a thousand pens that don’t work right. If you’re buying in bulk, you should use brands and products you trust.
8. Change your printer settings to use less ink. You can make that toner last a whole lot longer if you know how to properly program your printer. (Pro tip: Make sure your employees know not to print personal documents at work.)
9. Monitor and control spending. Your employees don’t care about your money nearly as much as you do. So if you put them in charge of spending it, they’ll likely pay more than you would for the same product. Keep tabs on purchases and hold your employees responsible for overspending.
10. Avoid buying supplies you already have. Keep a careful record of what supplies you have. This will save you from accidentally purchasing items you don’t currently need. It’ll also help you stay a step ahead of shortages, so you are not desperate for new supplies when you are shopping for them. Desperation shopping can lead to you paying more than if you had a little more time to shop around.
We hope these ten tips help you spend less on office supplies. If you know of a way to cut costs around the workplace, please reach out and let us know. If we get enough tips from our readers, we’ll publish another blog with your suggestions.