Unfortunately, office products are a necessary part of every business. Let's face it, it's kind of hard to run a business without paper, pens, or printers. Even though it's a necessary evil, there are ways to reduce your office supply spending. Here are a few suggestions:
Use house brands of off brands - Instead of buying name brands, consider using a house brand or alternative brand. Most of these house brands are nothing more than the same product that has been re-branded. As they don't carry a "name" brand, you can generally save some money on these house brands, especially if you buy in bulk.
Track your office supply spending - While this seems like a basic suggestion, it's extremely important. Most every business will have an accounting entry line item that covers "office supply" spending. Unfortunately, most businesses lump the spending into a single entry. In order to reduce your spending, it's vitally important to understand the type, quantity, and frequency of the specific office supply items you are purchasing. It's also vitally important to establish a baseline average on this spending. Once a baseline has been established and you have some idea of what you are buying, take a moment to review that data. You may uncover some interesting trends that you can immediately impact. I had a customer who was purchasing paper by the case every week. Once they had an idea of exactly how much paper they were purchasing on a monthly basis, they were able to save some significant money by buying paper in bulk.
Buy bulk - Once you have an idea of where you are spending your money in office products, try to buy those same products in bulk. Buying in bulk gives you a nice discount as the costs (packaging, marketing, stocking, etc) are lower. For example, if your research indicates that you spend the bulk of your money on paper. Contact some vendors and try to negotiate a bulk paper purchase. Typically, the larger the bulk purchase, the more significant the discount. So, going back to my paper example, if you had the resources and space to purchase paper by the truckload, you could save several hundred or even thousand dollars over your typical purchasing. Note that any bulk purchasing will save you money, so don't think that you have to buy by a truckload to make any headway.
Incorporate coupons or promotions into your purchasing - While some people have problems using coupons, you can really save some money. The office supply industry is very competitive so a number of vendors offer some form of coupons or discount. Integrate these coupons or discounts (like free S/H) into your office supply shopping to maximize your savings. Every dollar you save can be spent in some other area of your office or home office. If your favorite office supply vendor doesn't advertise coupons, call and ask.
The key to reducing your office products spending revolves around knowing exactly what you are spending the money on. Documenting the spend then gives you the knowledge to make aggressive decisions to save money. The simple steps will get you on the right path.
For more information on office supply savings, please visit office products.com.