Office Supplies on a Budget

by David Ning · 2 comments

Whether you are running a small business or simply want to set up a home office, saving some money on office supplies can be important. In a business, every penny counts, and the same holds true for a household budget. Purchasing your supplies at a regular office store is about the most expensive choice you can make when stocking up, yet that’s what most people do. Try these tips, and you may find that your money does go a bit further.

Saving Money on Office Supplies at Superstores

Although you might think that no one could possibly go through a pack of 25 pens or a full box of printer paper, most do, given time. While the initial investment in getting a large supply of something non-perishable may be more, in the end it pays off.

Note though that too many people lose their pens well before the ink runs out. If buying a huge pack “helps” you forget more often, then buy them one at a time even if it seems more expensive at first.

The big office stores like Staples, Office Depot and Office Max are not only trying to get your business, they are also competing against one another and online vendors. That means that it behooves them to offer the best prices that they can. They count on the “wow” factor once you get into the store. That means they stock their center aisles with pricier things that entice you to impulse spend. So stick to your preplanned list.

Save Money by Using Online Vendors

Things like printer ink and memory sticks are well worth pricing on line. The only caveat is that many of the currently available printers work best with cartridges made by their manufacturer. If you do find a cheaper source of ink that guarantees the product, it can be worth while trying out one set of cartridges. If they perform up to standard, you have a new source. If not, get your money back and use the tried and true. Some online stores always send out discounts, like 123inkjets.com and their coupon codes. When they are available, even better.

While online vendors may have better prices, make sure to add in the shipping costs when comparing with the box stores. Even large items can be delivered free of charge by the superstores. If you have to pay for delivery, the shipping bill may significantly add to your cost. That’s no bargain.

Save Money at Warehouse Stores

For basics you can get some really good prices at Sam’s, Costco’s or other warehouse clubs. The membership is a business expense, and you can find paper, ink, computers and furniture for a reduced price. While the selection isn’t nearly as extensive as an office supply superstore, the prices are often better. For a small business, professionalism is important, but the bottom line is equally crucial.

Another way to save some money is to pool your resources with another small business. Clearly the best deals are found when you purchase in bulk. If your company only uses half a box of paper a year you might be able to split a box with another individual. If two small companies in the same building want a water cooler, purchasing the item together halves your cost.

Of course the best savings come from reducing the amount of supplies you use and switching to generic products wherever possible. Office supplies are a necessary part of the budget for any business, but with a little creativity and planning you can easily trim your costs.

This is another piece from the How to Save Money on Everything ebook. Get yours free by subscribing to the frugal newsletter.

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  • Cd Phi says:

    Love that you mentioned getting ink cartridge refills. Remember those days when you’d have to make the dreaded trip to a supply store like Office Depot or Staples and buy a whole new cartridge and it’d be like $60? Well, long gone are those days. Thank goodness.

  • Office supplies are often than not forgot to properly manage by office admin. They consider this as “little” things to take care of but what we had found out with my previous employer is that you can actually save a lot by managing office supplies. Planning the supplies ahead and getting it in bulk is one way to save aside from managing the usage of office supplies.

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