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I have a fledgling business that has just taken a leap of faith and moved into an office space. Money is tight! We have not taken out a business loan and are trying to outfit our office without credit cards as well. No small task!
A friend of mine had a connection with a local, large company that had recently merged their office and downsized. They have a warehouse full of excess office furniture, equipment, and supplies. We inquired and were told we could have whatever we wanted, and the only stipulation was for us to make a donation to a local charity in the company's name.
We walked out with an awesome laser printer, assorted office furniture, supplies (waste baskets, files, floor mats), a commercial coffee pot, and binding machine. In this situation, it's costing this company time and manpower to have this excess stuff, but it's barely worth their time to try to sell it. For a manageable donation to a charity, this connection saved us hundreds of dollars. If you are in a similar situation in your hometown, make some inquiries. You never know where it may lead!
By Bec from Way Up North, MN
So often, I see decorating shows or articles which say they are low-cost, but then I see that they have spent thousands of dollars on one ROOM! One night, just for fun, as I sat in my cozy living room, I thought about where our living room furniture came from and how much each piece cost. You might find the origin (and price) of the furniture interesting:
I won't go into the knickknacks - but I do have a 1930's lithograph commercial print which I snapped up for $80 (probably worth $400?) Other art includes: 4 period lithographs (thrift shop - $10 each = $40), marine oil sketch (swap meet - $7), oil painting (thrift shop - $15), seascape (gift - $0)
Shall we add it all up? If my calculations are right, it's about $600! The two upholstered chairs would have costs that much new! These pieces were all accumulated over time - much easier on the pocketbook. These are NICE pieces of furniture, which are not to be ashamed of. Food for thought.
By pam munro from Los Angeles, CA
Small post-a-notes (1.5x2") are much more practical and economical than the larger sizes. I bought 2 packs for $1 (of 50 sheets per pad, 4 pads to the pack) at a dollar store. I now have 400 small post-its. This size is perfect for small reminders to myself and I am not wasting the larger ones or worse yet, having to cut them into strips because I don't want to waste them.
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Here are tips for saving money on office supplies as suggested from the ThriftyFun community.
Buy bulk! I joined Sam's Club and I buy all of our office supplies bulk. It does save money. If you don't want to do that. I try to buy when stuff is on sale. When I do go to the office supply store, I don't get the name brand stuff if I can help it especially with things like paper supplies. It's much cheaper to go with the "generic" stuff.
Save all the junk mail, and "good" mail and use the backs for phone messages, lists, etc. Cut to a size that suits your needs. For us, that is about 3" X 4". Also cut any blank/white areas big enough on mail that is printed on both sides. I keep these in baskets near the phone, computer, and my favorite chair.
When I was a transcriptionist and counting my earnings in pennies per line, I diligently trained myself to proof my work on the computer screen - no more printing and proofing the hard copy in my hands. Cuts down on trash, too.
The dollar stores have good deals on most items. But not necessarily all, so know your prices first. Also, buy in mid to late summer when all the school supplies go on sale and get enough for the year. Office supplies also seem to go on sale after the first of the year for tax time. Watch for mail in rebates too.
Instead of shipping toner cartridges back to the manufacturer to recycle them, turn them in at Staples. They will give you $3 each on a quarterly basis for every one you turn in. You won't receive cash but a check for future Staples office supply purchases.
One more tip...Don't forget to sign up online for in-store coupons on Staples and Office Depot websites.
Walgreen's now refills ink cartridges for $10. At times they run $5 dollar sales. On the other hand, I purchased a "refilled and repackaged" cartridge that was with the new cartridges in the store (Rhinotek, I think) and it didn't work one bit so save your money on that. It was only 3 dollars cheaper than buying it brand new and I wasted a few precious hours messing with it on tax day.
I get my ink cartridges at mrinkman.com and have been buying them there for the past 8 years. Making inks is their business and I found that they cost about $10 per cartridge (Epson) and had only one problem with a cartridge. I called their 800 number, told them of the problem and had a replacement within 2 days at no extra charge.
I use both sides of paper when printing. I just make a stack of the "used on one side" paper, and when my printer runs out of paper, I just throw the stack in. Just be sure you have it in the right way! I also LOVE to go to Staples and check out their Clearance section in the back. They always have great deals.
By Linda in Alabama
Don't forget that August is 'Back to School' time in Office Supply stores also, there are great deals everywhere!
Do you have any more ideas? Feel free to post them below.
Just got some nice lined notepads from a client who has changed jobs and doesn't need to use the old company's logo. I can use it for notes, etc. So look to see if you can use that old paper they are tossing. Also RECYCLE the padded bags you receive items in, as they can cost $1 or more at the post office! Pick up pens and pencils, highlighters and post-it notes at fairs, conventions and wherever they are being given out as advertising! Get samples of office supplies online. (See freebie sites like Freaky Freddie's Funhouse - in the Business Section.)Make sure you recycle paperclips, fasteners and rubberbands, so you don't have to buy them. Use mugs, jars and other household containers to hold pens etc. on your desk. Use small baskets to organize office supplies like paper clips. Look for office supplies like file holders in thrift stores. Go to used office supply equipment stores for chairs and desks. (06/16/2008)
By pam munro
I work at an Office Supply store and we usually have an area (in the backroom) that houses free samples given to us from manufacturers reps. If you are making a good sized purchase or would like to try to latest rage in pens, ask the staff if any free samples are available! (07/10/2008)
I also want to comment on the "buying in bulk" theory. Only do this if you can use those items in a timely fashion. It does NO GOOD to tie up precious dollars on a bulk pack of paper clips if it will take you five years to use them all! (07/10/2008)