7 Easy Ways to Cut Back on Common Office Expenses


We’re all looking for ways to save money at home, so why are so few of us doing the same thing at work?  Expenses can have a huge impact on your business’s bottom line, but you don’t have to sacrifice necessary services or strip your office to bare walls in order to run an efficient and profitable operation.

By saving just a few dollars here and there, you could effectively increase your net profits by thousands of dollars per year.  Just think about what those savings could bring!

  • Better raises and bonuses for you and your employees
  • New equipment and services you’ve been living without
  • New opportunities to advertise and generate more leads
  • Good PR in the community

The list goes on, but it all starts with a few simple techniques you implement ASAP to get a handle on your out-of-control expenses.

Go Digital

Do you really need hard copies of everything?  Reliance on hard copies is an outdated idea from the “bad old days” when computers were unreliable and inexperienced employees could lose months of data with the click of a button.  These days, you should instead be using some sort of digital data back-up, either through in-house storage or an affordable cloud-based provider such as Carbonite.

But the rewards of digital backups aren’t just financial.  By keeping everything digital, you can easily send info wherever it needs to go – giving business partners, clients and remote employees easy access to everything they need, at any time of the day.

Of course, there are a few essential documents and reports you must keep on file – including employee records, insurance documents, safety reports and other critical documents – but I’m betting that if you re-examine everything you print out, you’ll be able to cut that useless clutter down by half at least, saving you the cost of ink, paper and wear-and-tear on office equipment.

Another note on printing…  As Tamara Monosoff – CEO of Mom Inventors Inc. – notes, using refilled ink cartridges can not only help reduce your waste, but can also save you 50%-75% over buying new.  Many such cartridges (like Office Depot’s own branded refilled cartridges) carry guarantees and won’t void your printer’s manufacturer warrantee.

Keep All Your Supplies in One Location

By having all of your office and retail supplies stored in one central location – instead of scattered throughout various areas of your workplace – you’ll be able to keep a better eye on your inventory levels.  This will allow you to avoid over-ordering and outages, which often lead to “emergency” purchases at retail stores (and retail prices).

Power Down When You Can

In order to save on your electric bill, you and your employees should be powering everything down when it’s not needed.  This goes for computers, printers, copiers, fax machines – even coffee pots and air conditioners.  Even in sleep or stand-by mode, these electronics are still sucking juice from your sockets.  By completely shutting them down while not in use, you could save up to a third on your yearly electricity expenses.

Make Better Lighting Choices

Compact florescent bulbs can save you tons of money by decreasing your electricity usage by up to 1/3 on a daily basis.  Not only that, many last up to three times longer than traditional bulbs, meaning that you’ll be able to swap them out less often.  That’s huge – but simply making the change isn’t going far enough…

Shutting off the lights when you leave a room can save you a few hundred of dollars more each year.  Of course, not everyone is going to get on board with your environmental initiatives.  Whether your employees “forget” or just don’t do it, you’ll likely find yourself flipping switches in frustration more often than not.

If you encounter this situation, you can solve the issue by following the lead of East-Coast grocery giant, Hannaford (a subsidiary of Delhaize America).  The company installed motion sensor switches on all of its lights – in both public and private areas.  The modest initial investment paid for itself within months.

Insurance Overpayments

Many small and mid-size businesses pay far too much for insurance add-ons they’re not even using.  Business insurance, liability and even renter’s insurance policies are often bloated with unnecessary expenses that too many people just ignore.

But before you go at your policy with the price-chopping axe, temper your enthusiasm with a dose of reality – the last thing you want to do is give up the coverage you actually need.  Talk with your insurance agent to see where the “wiggle room” is within your policies and no doubt you’ll be able to make some money-saving cuts.

Heating/Cooling is a Killer

The last thing you want is to make your employees uncomfortable, but heating and cooling bills can be a significant expense.  Consider raising or dropping the temperatures on your thermostats a degree or two at a time until you find a comfortable middle ground.  Also, keep those thermostats out of your employee’s hands in order to eliminate the temptation to tweak the settings.

Ask for Employee Input

Make it a point to educate your employees about the effect of expenses on your business’s success – especially as it relates to their paychecks.  Any cost-cutting efforts that you can manage can be reinvested into your store or office and its employees.  Your employees will appreciate the fact you’re coming to them for answers and may help you to discover a savings opportunity you’ve overlooked.

But while these seven tips are a great place to start when it comes to workplace cost-cutting measures, they certainly aren’t the only opportunities out there to save money.  If you have another idea on how to cut common office expenses, share your recommendations in the comments section below! 

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