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Seven Secrets to Save on Supplies

Seven Secrets to Save on Supplies

Companies always want their employees to be frugal, and the cost of office supplies is one key expense that may be reduced. But how do you manage with less when your workload is up, thanks to company downsizing? Here are seven ways to get the most out of what you've got.

Shop Wisely

Anticipating future needs can be quite cost-effective. Look for limited-time cost-saving deals from suppliers and don't dismiss an offer just because you currently have that item in stock; stock up now and thank yourself later.

Choose Primary Colors

Yellow sticky notes and highlighter pens, forest green hanging folders and tan manila folders may not seem as exciting as the neon, pastel and jewel-toned supplies promoted by manufacturers, but they often cost less. Determine whether the color of your supplies really serves your company's needs. If you need to color-code for the sake of efficiency, consider using colored labels instead.

Organize the Supply Cabinet

When a bunch of busy people forage in one place, things can easily get messy. Then costs can run up as you reorder or rush items you have in stock but can't find. Do an inventory of cabinet contents and then label shelves and boxes for various supplies. Hang a clipboard on the door where people can sign out supplies. If the honor system doesn't work, lock the cabinet and assign one person to monitor requests.


Before you toss old paperwork into the recycle bin, recycle it first in your office by printing drafts and less important jobs on the blank sides of old documents. Moreover, instead of trashing old file folders, relabel them or simply fold them inside out. Also, remember that staplers are made to be reused; don't get that funky new stapler you saw advertised when the standard model you already have works fine.

Share the Wealth

Before you order more binders, folders or presentation supplies, check to see if one of your coworkers has extras. Admins in some offices routinely email one another when they've got a surplus. You may also designate a drop-off space for unused or recyclable supplies others might need.

Limit Printing

Do you really need a hard copy of every email or checklist you type up? We often print out of habit or for security, but think of the amount of money in paper, ink and filing supplies is saved when you store a document on a hard drive, disk or CD. An added benefit is you won't have to deal with mountains of loose filing.

Conserve Ink

Naturally, you do still need to print many items. One easy way to save ink is to print all but critical documents using your computer's draft mode. Most people can't tell the difference, and this may easily double the capacity of inkjet and toner cartridges. Also, as ink runs low, shaking the cartridge can eke out a number of extra pages. When the cartridge is empty, consider refilling rather than replacing.

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