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Office supplies are necessary, but they do not necessarily have to drain your budget. To help you cut down without losing efficiency, here are easy ways to save on office supplies.

  1. Buy in bulk – Keep track of which supplies you use the most, and try to order these in large quantities. Bulk orders provide you with a double discount: you will likely benefit from lower prices and diminished shipping costs. Be careful to avoid ordering bulk quantities of reusable supplies, such as paper clips and binders.
  2. Go generic – As long as the generic version doesn’t diminish the quality of the products, you can save by avoiding big name brands. To make sure you do not end up losing money on lower-quality supplies, test out a small sample of the generic brand items before making a big purchase.
  3. Be loyal to your supplier – Large suppliers have already designed customer loyalty programs to encourage frequent purchases. Consolidating your purchases and sticking to one supplier may give you discounts or free rewards. You may even be able to negotiate prices for recurring orders, if the supplier knows that you will make more orders in the future.
  4. Create stations – A supply station set may encourage employees to share supplies. Designate a spot with a hole puncher, stapler and any other supplies you may wish to distribute. For example, keeping boxes of pens in the station means employees can take a pen whenever they need one, without keeping a whole box of unused pens in a desk drawer.
  5. Find free stuff – Many office necessities are simply being given away. For example, a short search will usually turn up free antivirus software. If you keep an eye out for deals and rebates, you will likely find yourself eligible for free supplies. You can also find free stuff right in your office. Print on the back side of old memos and paper to save trees and expenses. Reuse supplies, such as binders, folders and even boxes or bubble mailers. Try setting up a reusable supply station, where people can drop off and pick up supplies.
  6. Cut printing costs – Between the heavy price of ink and rapid use of paper, printing costs can add up. A few smart computer settings can cut down on the costs. Printers usually have an economy setting that will print documents using less ink. Note that the image and text quality will be slightly lower, but you may not need anything fancy for most of your printing purposes. Other ways of cutting printing costs include double-sided printing, using scrap paper and focusing on electronic communication.