7 Ways to Cut Cost on Your Office Supplies

Save on your office supplies! Churches and nonprofits everywhere are struggling and looking for new ways to cut costs.

Here are some great ideas to help you cut down on your supplies cost with discounts, coupons, and even some free stuff!

Purchasing office supplies...

Saving on office supplies

1. Shop Online:

Most online office supply chains offer free shipping, if you spend a certain amount.

Check discontinued and online specials before heading to the store. Online stores typically offer deeper discounts than they do in their walk-in stores.

When you order online, Staples, Office Depot, and Office Max typically ship from local stores and you can usually get supplies and furniture (in stock) delivered to your office or home in 1-2 business days.

This How To Book for Churches is packed full of tips for: 

  • setting up internal controls,
  • cash out-controls for debit/credit cards
  • setting up an effective fund accounting system,
  • handling and tracking contributions,
  • setting up compensations for a minister,
  • handling a payroll for a church
  • preparing nonprofit financial statements,
  • and much more.

Read more!

2. Discount Warehouse Stores:

Warehouse stores like Costco and Sam’s Club may sound like a great place to buy office supplies cheap but you can usually find better deals at other stores and online.

Look for special buys at warehouse stores for the best deals. Items that are stocked on a regular basis are usually not discounted enough to warrant buying 5 cases of paper clips. Costco only marks up prices no more than 15% (Sam’s Club does not publish their price structure) but that price markup is on what the store paid – if they did not get a great price, neither will you. You also need to pay an annual membership fee.

Remember, just because something comes in a larger package does not mean it is cheaper. Stores are notorious for charging more per unit or weight in “economy” sized packages than they do for the smaller packages. Before you purchase any item in bulk compare the bulk price to the smaller package prices. You may actually find it is cheaper per unit to buy 10 small packs of 10 pens than it is to buy 1 box of 100.

3. Dollar Stores:

Most items in dollar stores are “off-brand” and may not be the best quality. (the same is also true for stores like Big Lots.) But dollar stores also buy up products that have been discontinued, have packaging problems, or were not selling somewhere else.

They purchase these products from name brand manufactures for pennies on the dollar and these savings are passed along to you. It may not be worth the time and gas to make a special trip to dollar stores, but if you pass by one when you are already out shopping for basic office supplies, you might want to stop in and check for discontinued name-brand supplies. Just be sure to stick with names you recognize - off-brand products in dollar stores are sometimes very poor quality!

4.Get Free Stuff From Freecycle:

The Freecycle Network is a grass-roots nonprofit organization with 4,674 local groups and 6,393,000 members around the world. Freecycle is a great place to get things for free, or to get rid of anything you no longer want or need.

Membership is free.

To join, just find a group in your area and subscribe to an email list. If there is no group in your area, you can start one (again, for free) with the help of Freecycle moderators. Although you are permitted to inquire if anyone has certain items, this is generally discouraged.

Join a Freecycle list (for free) in your area and watch the list. People give away everything from shoes to computers to cars.

Another way Freecycle saves you money - forget paying a salvage collector to pick up your unwanted stuff - advertise it free on Freecycle. Chances are pretty good someone will take it!

5. Buy Supplies without Paying Sales Tax:

Don’t forget to take your a copy of your tax exempt letter anywhere you shop for office and business supplies! Nonprofits that are tax-exempt and churches do not have to pay sales tax for goods purchased for their organizations. Your tax exemption applies to office supplies as well as business equipment and computers and any other goods that are used exclusively for your organization.

Note: Not all states exempt churches and nonprofits from paying sales tax. In Louisiana, churches are not exempt from sales taxes, but are exempt from income tax. So check with your state's tax commission office before assuming your nonprofit is exempt from taxes. Thank you, Ruthie from LA, for providing this information.

6. Reward Savings Cards:

If you shop at Staples, Office Depot, Office Max, or Best Buy sign up for their free reward savings cards. With each purchase you earn points that can be redeemed for discounts and will also get coupons in the mail.