The average worker uses $500 worth of office supplies every year, and that’s if they’re not the type to help themselves to the occasional nifty notebook or shiny new pen for use during their off-hours.
Multiply that by the number of workers at your company, and you’ll see why most office managers are eager to save money on office supplies in any way that they can. Here are a few of our favorite methods.
1. Look for Rewards Programs
Many office supply companies offer discounts if you sign up for their rewards programs. Office Max, Office Depot, and Staples all offer gift cards or cash back on purchases, and Office Depot and Staples offer additional discounts for recycled printer cartridges.
2. Choose Cheaper Supplies
If might sound obvious, but if you encourage employees to choose cheaper supplies (ballpoint pens, instead of pricey Uniball ones, for example) you can save a bundle. Consider creating a list of approved office supplies and alternative options to more expensive choices.
3. Lock up the Supplies
If you let employees help themselves, you’re liable to wind up watching a lot of Post-Its and business-size envelopes go marching out the door in laptop cases and handbags. Placing supplies in a closet or cabinet and having people sign out what they need will go a long way toward preventing theft.
4. Reuse Anything You Can
Remember those interoffice envelopes they used to use in high school? There were always about a thousand crossed-out names on the front. Mimic your old teachers of yore and start reusing envelopes, packing materials, even paper. Much of what we throw away every day is still good for a couple of extra uses.
5. Save on Ink
In addition to recycling old ink cartridges, consider stocking your printer with off-brand ink. You can save up to 50 percent by going with non-brand name ink, and odds are that your employees won’t even notice a difference. Just be sure to check your printer’s warranty, as some manufacturers won’t honor a warranty if the user supplied the equipment with anything other than the company’s cartridges.
Finally, consider setting up different printers for everyday use, and set them to “fast-draft” or “black-ink only.” No one needs perfect ink density and four-color images for printing out emails and memos. Save the high-quality printouts for presentations, when it really matters.