One unlikely culprit that may be driving up expenses in your office without you realizing it is the cost of office supplies. This is because such materials are typically purchased on an as-needed basis—and you probably need them more than you notice. As such, your stock of products can deplete easily, and before you know it, you’ve ran out of the basic essentials that your people need to do their jobs properly.
Knowing that expenditures for things like printer ink, printer paper, pens and other office supplies can really rack up, what are some things you can do to save cash? Here’s our list of creative, practical, and cash-saving tips.
Make a central “upcycling” station
While you’re busy allotting a big portion of your budget to brand-new supplies, you might not notice how much old stock you and your employees might be accumulating. Those stationery pads from the last seminar or conference? Those extra ballpens given away as corporate gifts three Christmases ago? That stack of sticky notes that was buried under a mountain of paperwork in the filing cabinet? We’re pretty sure that stray supplies are all around your office, gathering dust.
Encourage your colleagues to look for these hidden treasures and put them all together in an accessible “upcycling” station. Here, people can reach for half-used supplies as needed instead of opening new boxes of pens or tearing new reams of paper.
Refrain from buying brand-new ink cartridges
On the subject of office consumables, another relevant cost in many office environments is that which can be traced back to printing activities. If things get hectic in the office come the end of the quarter, you’ll be relying on your printer a lot, and consuming a whole lot of ink. To save up on ink expenditures without breaking the bank—or, for that matter, burdening the environment—try equipping your printer with compatible ink or remanufactured ink cartridges instead or OEM ones.
What’s the difference between compatible ink and remanufactured ink? To put it simply, compatible ink cartridges are brand-new replicas of their OEM counterparts, made especially for various printer types; remanufactured ink cartridges, on the other hand, are used cartridges that are expertly cleaned, repurposed, and refilled with fresh ink. Either type of cartridges will cost you a fraction of the branded kind, and they will save you a lot of money in the long run.
Use both sides of each paper sheet
We talk a lot about paper—and with good reason. Paper is a significant source of both office waste and office supply expenditures. Recycling outfit Roadrunner estimates that the average office worker can consume two pounds of paper in just one day!
Paper waste and expenditure can—in theory—be cut by half if both sides of each sheet are used for printing activities. The best way to make this happen is to make paper recycling part of office policy. For instance, you can enforce a rule that makes double-sided printing the default for regular or non-essential documents.
Shop in bulk, and compare deals
Bulk deals are still a viable way to keep your office budget in check, as some deals can offer big discounts on supplies. You can either visit your local warehouse outlet or shop around online. Opting for the latter of these options might even let you score free shipping. Compare the deals that you find, assess how much your office will need for the rest of the quarter, and make sure the higher-ups know of your suggestions.
Just a warning for when you shop online: be careful of bogus sellers or deals that seem too good to be true. Transact only with a supplier who’s reputable and has good client reviews to prove it.
Audit your office’s consumption of office supplies
The last big favor you can do for your office budget is to conduct an audit of how much you spend on office supplies over a given period of time.
Talk about conducting an audit each month or each quarter. Also allot some time at your next big meeting for candid discussions with your colleagues. You can talk about mindful consumption habits and recycling more often, among other things, to help your business save money.
It’s never too late to save and get your office’s cash flow back on track. Best of luck!