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    20 Replies Latest reply on Jun 7, 2008 2:45 AM by MYOB08

    What are people doing to save money?

    FCPainter Adventurer
      Each year at this time, we try to do identify ways our business can save money? I thought maybe I'd solicit/share ideas with this community. For example, historically we have saved money by:

      1. Reducing our suppliers of paint and negotiating deeper discounts
      2. Selling space in our own advertising to other businesses that we partner with (e.g. a carpenter pays us to be mentioned in our direct mail and street signs)
      3. Eliminating low performing newspaper ads
      4. Reducing the size of our yellow page ads
      5. Cutting back the number of hours a week we use an office assistant

      What do others do that they believe is a clever way to reduce their expenses
        • Re: What are people doing to save money?
          designer Tracker
          Hello. Your question is very thought-provoking! It is so easy to spend, spend, spend and much harder to "save". I like to actually make a little game out of not spending, it is so much fun. One way I can save money in my line of business is by cutting back on purchases of new materials and supplies unless I absolutely need them. I love to shop and have a big variety to offer to customers, but if you keep putting new product out, the regular customers will keep buying the brand new product and then you're still sitting on the older product. It takes discipline to try to make-do with what you have and let the inventory decrease over time. I have also cut down on on-line advertising. I really don't think there are too many more corners that I can cut, though. There's the old saying: "It takes money to make money". It's just a good thing to be smart about it to make every dollar count!
          • Re: What are people doing to save money?
            Lighthouse24 Ranger

            My three main tools for reducing business expenses are planning, flexibility, and renegotiating.

            Travel is a big part of my business, so advanced planning and purchasing on airline reservations can really save a lot (as opposed to booking trips at the last minute). At the same time, being flexible about where I stay can also provide big savings (for example, I book hotels in advance to ensure I have a room, but I also keep checking on-line deals and am willing to cancel my reservation and stay elsewhere if I find a better price on-line the day before. I also try to renegotiate things whenever I can -- health care premiums, web hosting fees, telecommunication services, building services contracts (security, custodial, pest control, etc.). Renegotiating doesn't necessarily result in a cost reduction, but it can head off a price increase for awhile since I make a good customer (long history of paying on time and never complaining unless there is a serious and legitimate problem).

            That, too, is probably a key for keeping our costs down -- we pay on time (avoiding late fees, interest charges, and price increases from suppliers). I guess that's really more of a cost avoidance than a cost reduction, but it helps us get the credit we need to take advantage of good deals like large quantity purchases on supplies or raw materials -- and that can help reduce costs.

            Good question -- hope the discussion continues from here . . .
            • Re: What are people doing to save money?
              What an interesting thought process. I am very fascinated by your actions regarding your marketing. How do you know the effect your cutting (ads), is having on your marketing and brand? How are you measuring this? What about the awareness you are removing by removing the ads? What effect does this have? Are your competitors reducing their ads? This is a really interesting topic, its fascinating to learn what different people do in business.
              • Re: What are people doing to save money?
                yMladenov Newbie

                Great topic you've started! Since I own my trading operation from just few months I haven't, yet, developed much cost-reducing practices.
                1) Since I am a retailer I save any boxes left from products I have recently sold (since I put them together into PC's my clients don't need the boxes) and leave them on my shelf with prices on them. When a client is interested they order it (deliveries in my case are on 12hour basis) instead of buying it. So far it sounds dull, but this way I have much more products to expose to my clients and I have more free capitals to work with. When boxes get outdated I collect them for recycle. With the money I cut off my monthly expenses on electrical power.
                2) Every effective office has a lot of tech in it. Cut electricity consumption with energy-efficient light bulbs and Class A (most energy-efficient class for electrical appliance by EU standards) products too.
                3) A lot of paper goes around for making offers, so to cut down on A4 paper expenses I reuse/recycle most of the paper that is left in the office.
                4) To keep myself organized I buy a lot of sticky notes, but I realized that having an "organizer" book can make things much more simpler and organized. Each new page is for the current day and so on. A simple notebook can do it. Near my place there is a "1 dollar shop" where I buy notebooks for cents. It costs 4-5 times less than a pack of sticky notes and has 5 times bigger capacity.

                Hope this helps!
                • Re: What are people doing to save money?
                  Iwrite Pioneer
                  I'm bartering as much of the services that I might need as possible. When done right both parties benefit greatly and we both save money.
                    • Re: What are people doing to save money?
                      TWheelwright Wayfarer
                      TAXES are the first thing that most business owners overlook, and above everything else it's usually the single most avoidable expense. If you are interested in learning more about ways to save $20,000 or more in taxes with your business, I am presenting a FREE teleseminar on March 18th related to saving thousands on your business taxes. You can find more details at our website ( under the seminars link. I hope you can make it! It will be well worth your time.
                    • Re: What are people doing to save money?
                      LUCKIEST Guide
                      What are people doing to save money
                      Drive less
                      Cook at home
                      Make your own coffee
                      Brown bag lunch
                      Make a list before grocery shopping
                      Pay your bills on time and avoid finance charges
                      Consolidate and pay off debt
                      Avoid overdrafts in your bank balance and ATM fees
                      Avoid impulse buying and comparative shop
                      Bottle your own water
                      Keep your car a year longer and carpool
                      Regulate your gas and electric use
                      • Re: What are people doing to save money?
                        RickFelten Adventurer

                        Great topic, especially in today's tough business environment.

                        Reducing costs in the wrong place can often cause more problems that it solves! Try looking at some of these suggestions.

                        1. Rather than beating suppliers for deeper discounts (you become a less attractive customer and may get poorer service) ask them for quicker delivery Just-In-Time for the next job. This reduces inventory and reduces your cash-to-cash cycle (the time between when you pay for the inventory and when you get paid).

                        2. Look at your estimate & job costing. How accurate is it? Can you recover the cost of poor estimates from the customer without creating an environment of lost trust? People are willing to pay (just making up numbers here) $100 if they know it will be $100. If the estimate is $75, they see a $100 invoice as being "ripped off" even if it was an honest mistake. This can cause "bad press" when their friends ask for recommendations.

                        3. Remember, the old formula of "cost + margin = price" does NOT work anymore. To a large extent the "walmartization" of the economy makes people shop around more. Your "price" will be driven by the marketplace. Quality is still important, but customers assume quality within a given price range and tend to go for the lower priced product/service within their affordable range.

                        4. Look at overhead expenses. Since these are "fixed" in your budget, every dollar you save goes right to the bottom line.

                        Hope this helps.


                        • Re: What are people doing to save money?
                          DomainDiva Ranger
                          Things have gotten crazy these days and I am now the technical department for two portfolios as well as doing the 'start up'. I try to be as careful of clients money as I am my own. When all of the HP Printer toner cartridges died I found an online retailer of toner cartridges at half the price of the office supply stores with free shipping and no sales tax. I saved 105.00 by placing the order online. Whoo hoo!!!

                          Don't forget to take your lunch to work as well!

                          We save money by using smaller off brand privately owned hotels happy for the business, guys sharing rooms, using airline miles, and refill ink cartridges. Also buying paper at Sams saves 25% over the office supply stores; we recycle file folders turning them inside out and putting new labels on them as well as binders, plastic document holders and other 'hard products'. If I am going to a seminar I try to find a less expensive hotel nearby and walk or ride the bus. Some hotels will give you a lift.

                          At home we use electrical surge protectors and then turn off the switch at night, especially for computers and tv entertainment centers. I have noticed that the electric bill is about 50.00 less a month. I also buy gas at 3/4 tank. Vehicles get better gas mileage when the tanks are full/nearly full. Having a front loading washing machine has been great too...saves water, washes larger loads and uses way less laundry soap and electricity.
                          • Re: What are people doing to save money?
                            puzzleman Tracker
                            I have taken my staffing and now have everyone on a part time basis. I found people who only want part time and can adjust my scheduling to meet production needs. My order input person works from their home and I pay her per each order put in. That way I am only paying for the actual work, not the downtime.

                            When I need items for the shop, I seriously consider used and try to make do with what I got. A lot of times we can work what we have or modify it instead of buying new.

                            • Re: What are people doing to save money?
                              Philip F Newbie
                              Hello FCPainter - I consult with a remanufacturing toner cartridge business ( In times of recession, during tax season, and immediately after, their business picks up dramatically. Depending on your toner cartridge models, it's amazing how much you can save in office supplies.

                              I think the loftiest goal for businesses is to consider looking at their office supplie budget more critically. Buying less pens, pencils, and erasers is usually the only scrutiny budgets like that get. But considering wholesale instead of vendors, BJs/Costco instead of Staples, and - of course - remanufactured over original can provide a tremendous savings to your monthly bottom line. It adds up and it's easy to nickel and dime a budget into going over.
                              • Re: What are people doing to save money?
                                LUCKIEST Guide
                                What are people doing to save money.
                                Today's Sunday New York Times, Business Section
                                "When the economy is falling down all around you, it is only natural
                                to protect yourself with some austerity measures"
                                "STOP EATING OUT. The average restaurant meal costs three times
                                as much as one cooked at home".
                                • Re: What are people doing to save money?
                                  Ed O'Gee Adventurer
                                  Good question Painter,

                                  My business partner has finally got me doing a few web based meetings. It is not the same interaction as meeting clients in person, so I generally do web meetings for follow ups with sales reps or reinforcement sessions, but if I am training new reps then I deal with the fuel expenses and meet face to face.

                                  My partner and I have also decided to reduce our personal profit sharing this year by 50% but our employees will remain untouched. The good news is that we are still on point for growth this year, but the bad news is that the economic outlook for 2009 doesn't look much better than 2008, so we are doing what smart squirrels do, we are stockpiling our acorns (cash) for when we may need them (slow down in business). We all know consultants are usually an expense that gets cut first.
                                    • Re: What are people doing to save money?
                                      Iwrite Pioneer
                                      Ed O'Gee,

                                      Wow. You are doing what a lot of business owners or executives ever think of - making the first sacrifice. I was just freelancing at a place that was going through lay-offs, and the employees were upset that leadership did not take a cut but were actually collecting bonuses as they were laying off. You can imagine what the morale in that place was like. Not to mention the turnover rate. People they wanted to keep are quitting at an amazing rate.

                                      When I come to Columbia, I'm going to have to treat you to a slaw dog or at least lunch at Lizard's Thicket!! LOL
                                    • Re: What are people doing to save money?
                                      Bridge Navigator
                                      I'll take a different approach here. I assuming that your goal of "saving money" means you want to make a larger profit.

                                      I have worked for both growth companies and helped manage companies to fend off bankrupty. You can never "save" your way to true profitability. Although it is always good to manage your expenses, make sure you spend at least twice as much time figuring out new ways to grow sales.

                                      Do you have any opportunities to raise prices? (when is the last time you raised prices?)
                                      Can you "sell" additional services or products to current customers?
                                      Can you expand your marketing efforts to attract new customers?

                                      In one of my first finance classes many years ago (20+), I still remember a professor saying there were two ways to make your "savings" goals, reduce your expense or make more money. I have always found it easier to make more money.
                                      • Re: What are people doing to save money?
                                        elevatingyour Wayfarer
                                        Get a sales force the easy way. Create strategic alliances.

                                        Only attend events where your ideal clients will be in droves.
                                        • Re: What are people doing to save money?
                                          MYOB08 Adventurer

                                          I recently had to have passport photos taken for a passport renewal. They cost me $14, which while not a lot of money, seems to be a lot for a small digital photo, especially when photo reprints only cost 20 cents these days. Since then I have stumbled across this site, which suggests you can upload your own digital images, and they will convert them to Australian passport quality for free.

                                          Let me know if you use it & it saves you money!