12 Tips To Save Money On Office Supplies

January 13, 2024
5 mins read

12 Tips To Save Money On Office Supplies

By Business Desk

Tuesday, April 11, 2023.

While office supplies are a necessary expense for most businesses, they can drain your finances if you fail to manage them carefully. The cost of office supplies is increasing every year. For example, paper prices alone have already shot up by up to 250%, and the price of computers and accessories is expected to increase this year. Finding ways to save money on these essential office items is important, regardless of your business size. So, do you need cost-saving measures to reduce your office supply expenses without sacrificing business quality or productivity? You can use these tips to save money on office supplies.

Track your office inventory and have a to-buy list

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The last thing you want to do is head to a store or visit a supplier without first going through your current inventory of office supplies. That’s not the right way to stock your office, as you might end up purchasing supplies you may not need for the entire year. Track your office inventory and list the important things you need to buy. Start by checking and writing down the things you’ll need the following week and month. You can even consider what you’ll need for six months but don’t go beyond that. Also, write down what supplies you don’t need, which ones are running out, and which supplies can wait.

Bulk your supplies wholesale or in bulk

After tracking your inventory and creating your to-buy list, ensure you always buy in bulk or from a wholesaler. You can find various distributors, whether online or offline, with wholesale prices that will significantly reduce how much you have to spend. Supplies like notebooks, paper, pens, toner cartridges, ink cartridges, lead pencils etc., are best bought in bulk. But if you think you cannot afford them in bulk, speak to some business partners or office companions to find out if you can get those supplies in fewer quantities but at wholesale prices.

Don’t wait until you run out of supplies

Waiting until you run out of supplies can be very frustrating. Even worse, it can cause you to buy out of panic. That means you’ll make impulse purchases and end up spending more than you should. If you notice you’re running out of supplies too early between deliveries, reduce your usage until your resupply arrives. And while you’re reducing your usage, arrange for an emergency supply before your current stock completely runs out.

Don’t forget about shipping costs

Shipping costs vary from one supplier to another, and you might spend too much on expensive shipping if you purchase from the ‘wrong’ supplier. Moreover, cheaper supplies do not mean you’ll attract better rates. So, before you make any order, take the time to calculate the expected shipping costs to get a clear picture of your total expenditure. This way, you can decide whether to proceed with your purchase or look for another supplier. Some suppliers offer free shipping, but only to specific destinations, so understand all shipping information and terms before placing your order.

Keep records of your orders

Record or document exactly how much you spend on different office supplies. This way, you can keep track of your expenses, especially when you’re not directly in control of your orders. There have been numerous cases of employees making orders for supplies that the company does need so they can keep them or sell them for profit. And keeping records of all your orders can discourage deceitful workers from ‘stealing’ from you. You can consider arranging with your supplier to provide you with reports anytime an order is made. Of course, that will mean establishing a good relationship with your supplier.

Use online supplier

You will enjoy a wider range of products at competitive prices with online retailers. Plus, they usually have lower overhead costs than brick-and-mortar stores, so their prices are often lower. Many online retailers offer free shipping and special discounts for wholesale purchases, further reducing your costs. Take the time to compare prices across various online suppliers and take advantage of promotions where applicable. You’ll be surprised by how much your business will save on office supply expenses.

Reuse and recycle your supplies

You can look into using recycled and refurbished products. Not only are they very cost-effective, but they are also environmentally friendly. You can also find smart ways to reuse and recycle your supplies to help minimize your expenses. For example, instead of throwing away old computers, smartphones, tablets, cartridges, printers, and other tech products you no longer need, consider trading them in. You can find several companies willing to purchase your out-of-use company gadgets or offer you credit for them. And speaking of credit, the next tip can also help.

Look for a business credit card

Get a business credit card that allows you to get cash back on all your purchases. Every time you purchase with your cash-back business card, you’ll earn a percentage back on your spending, ranging from 1 to 5% or even more in some cases. Some credit cards offer higher cash-back percentages on certain types of purchases than on others.

So, before you order your next office supplies, look for a business credit card that allows you to get bonus points on every office supply you purchase. You can trade your bonuses for cash back. Consider this a way of paying yourself and saving money with every supply purchase your company makes.

Consider third-party brands for some supplies

It’s cheaper and cost-effective to purchase third-party brands for some office supplies, especially when the original brands are expensive. But you don’t want to compromise on quality, so limit yourself to specific office supplies with high-quality but cheaper third-party alternatives. For example, with online platforms like Cartridgesave.co.uk, you can find cheap third-party printer cartridges that offer similar quality to the original brand. While these are made by off-brand manufacturers, their output is mostly the same or even exponentially better. Also, when you buy third-party brands, it’s easier to take advantage of bulk discounts and promotions that may not be available for name-brand products. Some third-party suppliers may even offer more flexible ordering options, such as no minimum order quantities and lower shipping costs.

Look for special sales and discounts

Special discounts will work best for occasional one-off suppliers that aren’t part of your regular to-buy list. Check online to see if any suppliers are running special sales or discounts before committing to any seller. And if you have a good relationship with your current supplier, you can find out from them if discounts are available for one-off purchases, especially when buying in bulk.

Share supplies or encourage workers to bring their own

Encourage your workers to share supplies to help minimize unnecessary purchases. Doing this can also promote responsible usage, especially when you encourage your workers to bring supplies from home when they can. Sharing supplies also allows you to identify which items or resources are most necessary. That makes it easier to streamline your purchasing to reduce unnecessary expenses.

Conduct Regular Audits

Conducting regular audits allows you to identify and eliminate wasteful spending on unnecessary items. It also prevents over-ordering. You will have better insights into employee usage patterns, making it easier to identify which supplies are in high demand and which are not. And with this information, you can optimize your purchasing decisions and avoid unnecessary inventory buildup. With regular audits, you may also identify opportunities to negotiate better deals with your suppliers. Also, don’t get rid of your computers or machines simply because they’re running slowly. Find out if you can revitalize them by downloading new software or upgrading specific parts.

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By Unoma N. Azuah Saturday, May 1, 2010. Editor’s note: Culled from her short story collection, The Length of Light. Medua was