The office supply budget is a breakdown of costs that can serve as a spending plan. In written form, the budget specifies how the company will spend funds designated for supplies used in office operations. The plan should be realistic so it can be easily understood and adhered to. The office supply budget is a necessary tool for gauging a business' overall expenses. Preparing a budget will allow you to manage costs efficiently and maintain a reasonable operating expenditure range that will not exceed business revenues. The basic office supply budget generally includes only the expenses which are absolutely required for operating a business effectively. The budget can be increased over time, as needed, while the business grows.
Review the office supply items that are essential to running the business. Create a spreadsheet to list items such as pens, various kinds of paper, markers, pencils, printer ink, staplers and staples, paper clips, file folders, mailing supplies, envelopes and tape. Be sure to include items that are specific to your particular business. For example, if you provide data backup or deal with media storage, you will need CDs or DVDs and other specialized supplies and equipment.
Review the cost of the items and get a monthly quantity total for each item. Document the calculations on the spreadsheet. Add all of the individual numbers for each item together for the monthly budget total. Then multiply the monthly total by 12 for the annual office supply budget amount. Add an additional 10 percent for expansion.
Research the various office supply vendors to find the most cost effective prices. Create a separate spreadsheet to compare data from various vendors for the items you use regularly to conduct business. Independent vendors will often supply quotes for you to consider. Calculate the vendor estimates for the approximate monthly average cost. Include this data plus 10 percent on the spreadsheet.
Compare the total vendor estimates to your current and original estimate. Create a copy of the original estimate spreadsheet from Step 1 to use in considering price changes. Use the new spreadsheet as the template for your current budget. Adjust pricing for items found for less at different vendors. Note the vendor, price and date on the spreadsheet for future tracking. Consider each item on the list and eliminate those which are not absolutely required.
Evaluate and review the budget on a monthly basis. Try using a budget tool such as the one offered by Microsoft to manage office supply finances. Develop a system for monitoring the office supply budget consistently. Regularly adjust and review pricing and supply usage. Adjust the budget according to new findings and trim whenever possible. If overspending occurs, take steps to find reductions in other ways by taking advantage of sales and other vendor offerings.
Susan S. Davis is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the L.A. Press Club. She was managing editor of "The Hosting News" and a columnist at Online Dating Magazine. Davis attended Chicago's Medill School of Journalism, and holds an A.A.S. in radio broadcasting from Minnesota Business College and a certificate in paralegal studies from University of California, Los Angeles.