4 Easy Ways to Save

21 April 2009, Comments: Comments Off on 4 Easy Ways to Save

In tough economic times, it’s tempting to stop spending, hunker down and wait for the storm to pass over. But your organization can’t afford to slow down. So what do you do? The philosophy of a recession is another topic but as we see it, you can choose not to participate in it.

By figuring out how to decrease costs without screaming “uncle,” you might just find the extra cash to keep your organization moving forward.

Evaluate your technology:

Outside of payroll, one of the biggest expenses for most companies is the office equipment. Take a look at what you have and need, and see where you can cut costs.

  • Computers – many computer manufacturers, such as HP, Dell and Apple sell refurbished computers at discounted prices. When possible, buy a bigger monitor for your computer and a faster computer — both of these will save you time since you can see more and complete tasks faster.
  • Software – use free software alternatives for common applications. Most have at least free trial periods. Download.com offers a variety of programs for Windows and Macs. While the free programs may not have all of the same features as the paid ones, they can still provide huge cost savings. Here at WebMedley, we use the free ones when we can and buy one or two licenses for the paid version. As a comparison, Kompozer is a free version of DreamweaverPaint.net is a free alternative to Adobe Photoshop. (By the way, if you want to switch from Microsoft Office to Google Apps, let us know. It’s free for churches and non-profits, and only $50 per user/per year for businesses.)
  • Phones – if you’re dedicated to landlines, shop around for the best price among providers. Check out www.saveonphone.com (one of our clients) to compare long distance plans. If you’re looking for even more savings, think about a new phone system. We use Skype to make calls over the Internet and we use Onstate for our call center. It’s saved us hundreds of dollars a month compared to a fixed landline system.
  • Also take a look at your cell phones. Skydeck can outline your phone usage and find a plan that fits you best. This system is your cell phone online. All your calls, text messages, and cell phone voicemails are saved online and you can search, read, text, or call people back with this online system.
Work in Groups
  • Share – consider sharing office space with another organization. This can give your business a more professional atmosphere, and a lower rent.
  • Barter – instead of paying outright for a service, see if you can negotiate a trade of services. Both businesses can get what they need while saving money.
  • Ask – find out if your service provider will give you a lower rate. Whether it’s for a hotel when traveling, a cell phone service or an office supply company, businesses may be willing to give you a lower price if you request it.
  • Join a club – many businesses have rewards cards that offer discounts and rebates to their members. Office supply companies such as Staples, Office Max, and Office Depot send coupons and give special prices to rewards cardholders.
Give Yourself Credit
  • Are you making the most of your money? Mint.com can tell you how you’re spending it, and whether you can save money using different banks, credit cards, or mortgage companies. This can be used as a no cost alternative to Quicken or Microsoft Money. It can also help you plan your personal or business financial goals.
  • If you need to find the best credit card, another source is Lowcards.com (one of our clients). Lowcards, a leading provider of consumer information on credit cards, provides unbiased information on over 1000 credit cards. Review the site to see what credit card benefits best suit your organization.
Save Energy

Going green isn’t just good for the environment; it can also be a huge cost saver.

  • Take your business online – reduce the use of paper by doing business online. Move your printed newsletters online. If you have forms that customers or clients frequently need to fill out, put it online and let them print it out.
  • Turn your computers off at night. Be sure to adjust your Windows update settings to reflect when your computer is on, so it can properly apply those upgrades.
  • Stop printing blank pages. Printgreener.com can determine which pages in a document have useful information and which ones may be blank.
  • For multiple page documents try printing on both sides of the paper.

Remember that saving funds is only one part of a financial plan. Its opposite is growing your funds. Even when finances are tight, it’s important to think about how to do that, too.

For more ideas, search keywords “money savings,” “save money”, and “financial tips” on the Internet. You’ll find everything from personal to professional advice. Here are some articles to get you started:

“Best Money Saving Tips from Google Tip Jar”

“Get Outrageously Creative: Creative Tips for Saving Money and Growing Your Business”

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