Saving Money on Office Supplies

Companies are always searching for ways to save money, but drastic cost cutting measures should never be your first course of action. Instead, look to the little things to see how your business can become more financially responsible. Obviously, rationing pencils is not going single-handedly bring your business out of debt, but you’d be surprised at how quickly seemingly minor expenses can accumulate. Use these tips to help your company spend less on office supplies:

Switch to off brands.

Instead of purchasing name brand supplies, consider purchasing generic or store brand products instead. Many of these supplies offer the same level of quality as their name brand counterparts but without the higher price.

But beware: sometimes generic brands really are cheaper in terms of quality, so some period of time after you make the switch, make sure you take the time to reevaluate your choice. If the new packing tape costs only 75% of the older brand but is so cheaply made that you have to use twice as much to complete the job, then the switch wasn’t worth it. Even if the tape costs half as much and you think you’re breaking even in terms of price, also consider switching back to your old brand to reduce the amount of waste your business produces.

It is also important to be wary of purchasing generic versions of more important office supplies. It might be okay to substitute items like pencils and tape, but perhaps you should do more research before deciding to save money on an off brand version of a tool like a copy machine. The generic option might be cheaper, but the more expensive version could come with better warranties, better service, a longer life, and better overall quality, which should all be factored into your final purchasing decision.

shopping cartDo all your shopping in one place.

If your primary goal is to save your business money, you probably aren’t making an effort to support smaller local businesses in the process. If that isn’t one of your priorities, look to one of the many large online retailers to help trim your office supplies expenses. Not only do these stores offer low prices on products, but purchasing all your supplies from one retailer has other benefits, too. For example, purchasing your supplies from a single website means you’ll be more likely to meet the minimum requirement for free shipping, which is a huge savings opportunity, as shipping costs can be very expensive. The minimum purchase for free shipping is usually between fifty and one hundred dollars, an amount that most businesses reach easily when ordering office supplies.

Enroll in rewards programs.

In addition to offering savings on shipping costs, many of these large chains also offer free rewards programs that can prove quite valuable to your company. The programs aim to promote loyalty among customers by rewarding them with points or a percentage of their total purchases. These points or percentages then translate into discounts for future orders, and some of these discounts can be downright huge. The office supplies retailer Staples®, for example, offers unlimited rewards equal to 10% of the total amount your company spends on ink, toner, case or ream paper, and copy/ print purchases, in addition to special bonus dollars, such as those earned for recycling used ink cartridges. And with the average office worker consuming some 10,000 sheets of paper per year (EPA estimate), all that money your company spends on paper can contribute to some serious discounts.

Office supplies, although a seemingly small portion of your company’s budget, can become very expensive rather quickly. However, by switching to generic brands when appropriate, bundling your orders to save on shipping, and enrolling in rewards programs, you can help save your business more money than you might have thought. And less money spent on office supplies means more money available for what’s really important to your company.

About Andrew Jensen

Andrew Jensen, a business growth, efficiency & marketing consultant, provides business advisory services for clients in the Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; York, Hanover, Lancaster & Harrisburg, PA regions. Andrew advises regarding business growth, productivity, efficiency, business startups, customer service, and online/offline marketing. Follow Andrew on Google+


  1. My friend and I are starting a small business, and we want to make sure that we don’t overspend on office supplies. Thanks for your tip to consider purchasing generic or store brand products as these have the same level of quality as their name brand but with a lower price. We’ll consider this suggestion. Thanks!

Share Your Thoughts