How to Save Money on Office Supplies

Posted by Ian on April-13-2011 under Save Money

With the world economy not in the best of shape, company offices around the globe are constantly on the look out for ways to save money on office supplies. It seems trivial, saving on such things as pens, paper, pencils, notepads, etc, but these seemingly, insignificant items in the average office, actually do, quite often, cost a company a great deal of money annually. It is difficult to gauge expenses of the aforementioned items because of the low cost; 20 cents for a pen, a couple of dollars for 500 sheets of A4 copy paper; a dollar for staples etc. These miscellaneous items are usually paid for from a petty cash fund which is replenished monthly. There are various methods of saving money on office supplies and these common sense approaches will, not only save a busy office a few bucks but also indirectly, save the environment. Indeed, if office managers are thriftier with the petty cash box, he or she could save up to 20 percent annually on office supplies.

The first step is to review from which retailer supplies are purchased. A manager that buys supplies from small stationery stores is probably paying a lot more than if he or she purchased from a superstore similar to Staples or OfficeMax. In general superstores are able to offer discount prices because they buy their inventory in bulk. Warehouse style retailing reduces overheads and generates a huge sale volume which in turn enables discounts. In recent years, thanks in part to the Internet, mail-order or online vendors are beginning to bring competition to the established stationary retailer. These companies offer free shipping for large orders, have toll free ordering phones lines and, of course, allow you to view their stock and order online; free catalogues are also available. With the various options offered from different retail sources today, office managers are able to be selective in their purchases. In short, checking out different suppliers is being frugal.

office supplies

The next step is to look into something, aptly named, “generic shopping” – purchasing cheaper brands. Let’s face it; a paperclip is a paperclip regardless of who manufactured it. With this mind, purchase cheaper office supplies. Cheaper office equipment does not necessary mean bad quality. Take printer supplies, for example, purchasing refillable ink-jet cartridges is definitely cheaper yet will not cause any problems for the machine. You will have to spend more time replacing the ink in the printer, but the money saved speaks for itself.

The Japanese are notorious for only buying name-brand items; from telephones to pencils, Japanese generally don’t buy cheaper office tools. If having brand-name office supplies is something an office manager insists on, perhaps searching for stores that offer memberships to customers is a method of saving. Often these stores sell their wares at discount rates for members – they are also monthly specials, coupons and a free delivery service for registered customers. Making use of established superstores such as Costco and Sam’s is always a good idea. These stores tend to have lower prices than other large competitors. The only downside to shopping in one of the large stores is that inventory is often limited.

Wherever you shop for office supplies, make sure to buy in bulk. Don’t go to a store and buy a box of pens and a couple of erasers. It’ll seem cheap, but it is actually more expensive. Purchasing a few thousand pens, erasers, etc, is cheaper in the long run. Prioritizing your purchases is another way of saving. You must ask yourself, do I really need trendy looking pens or would a hundred boxes of the standard item suffice. It is important to stick with the basics and not spend excessive amounts on fashionable office supplies. You’ll also, probably, be able to take advantage of the store’s cheaper shipping option and thus save another few hundred dollars.

In the event you are shopping for office equipment, the likes of copy machines, furniture and other common office gear, look into purchasing second-hand or refurbished apparatus. Sometimes there are sales on office equipment from companies that are moving or going out-of-business. Making use of the Internet is the ideal vehicle to find cheap furniture. Advertising on Craigslist or perhaps viewing one of the many Internet auctions, are great methods of finding good, cheap office paraphernalia.

You can also check out money saving tips like how to save money on food on vacation, how to save money on doctor visits, or how to save money on DVD rental.

There are also many stores that offer “rewards” for credit card use. If you tend to shop at the same store monthly or quarterly, ask if the store offers any incentives to regular customers. It is quite possible that these stores will, indeed, give a discount or a cash rebate on bulk purchases. Don’t be afraid to ask about these incentives and rebates, often they’re not advertised. There are many other money saving ideas and more often than not, using your common sense will save you hundreds of dollars over a one-year period.

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