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One of the easiest ways to cut back your business budget and save money is to reduce office supply expenses. Office supplies can add up quickly. Though they don’t seem to cost a lot, over time, those $20 and $30 purchases can add up to hundreds or thousands of dollars. Reducing your office supply expenses doesn’t necessarily mean going without, either. There are plenty of ways to cut back on the cost of supplies without sacrificing the tools you need to run and maintain your business.
Keep all of your supplies in one location. Scattering office supplies between several different closets and cabinets doesn’t enable you to see what you really have, and you may end up purchasing supplies you don’t really need.
Take an accurate inventory of your office supplies and repeat the process every three to six months so that you know exactly what you have. If you have a large business, you may need to take inventory monthly or even weekly.
Purchase a Sam’s Club, Costco or other warehouse club membership so that you can easily buy in bulk. Only buy items you’ll actually use in large amounts. Don’t buy a package of 12 pencil cups if you only need five just because it seems like a good deal.
Compare prices. Even warehouse club prices may not be the cheapest place to get some items. Visit the websites of different office supply stores, such as Office Max, Staples and Office Depot, to compare rates before you buy.
Take advantage of sales and off-peak discounts. Many office supply stores offer discounts and sales during the summer, while prices are often higher during the early months of the year.
Switch to an Internet fax service, such as MyFax, Fax Zero or eFax, to cut the cost of a fax machine, paper, toner and a second phone line.
Save money on paper by investing in programs such as Microsoft Office, QuickBooks and Peachtree Accounting, to limit the records you keep on paper.
Inquire about prices to refill printer ink cartridges. Many local drug stores and office supply stores offer refilling for a fraction of what a new cartridge would cost.
Ask employees to refrain from printing personal documents and pictures at work without permission.
Check local thrift stores and used furniture stores for desks, chairs, filing cabinets and other office supplies if you only need a few items. You can often find nice office furniture for a much cheaper price if you buy used.
Amanda Knaebel is a self-professed gadget geek and loves all things tech, both new and old. Amanda has been working as a freelance writer for over 10 years on topics including technology, health, fitness, nutrition, gardening and many more. She has also worked with Fortune 50 tech and financial companies, both in technical support and content production.