Saving Money In Your Home Office: 10 Useful Tips

Tens of millions of us work in a home office. In addition to wanting our home office to be as pleasant and efficient as possible, it’s also crucial that we spend the time to think about how to make it as cost effective as possible. There are a multitude of ways to do exactly this. Sometimes the cost savings comes in the form of upfront costs, other times we can save by paying on a fixed instalment basis. This article will explore 10 useful tips on how to save money in your home office.home office

  1. Turn your computer off at night – When we’re busy and working in our home office, the last thing we want is for the electrical power to go out. We want every switch, every button, every gadget to work at a simple flick or press. And thankfully it usually does. But there’s a time when we should indeed want the power to go off: when we’re not working. By unplugging the entire office at night or whenever sixteen or so hours exists that we’re not working, we can save a considerable amount of money.
  2. Don’t buy branded cables – Every home office worker requires quality electronic connecting cables for their computer, printer, monitor and so forth. But with the price of an Ethernet cable at Best Buy costing upwards of $30 what can we do? Easy. Choose to purchase your electrical cables at a place like eBay. The very same cable might only set you back a paltry five bucks for the same exact brand.
  3. Buy recycled paper, and print on both sides – Paper is the very fuel that energises all that we do. Without printing paper, where would we be? But paper can grow into one of the biggest expenses. What’s there to do? Start by purchasing recycled paper. You can still buy quality 20 or 24 lb. bond white, 81/2″ x 11″ standard letter-sized stationery but it will cost you up to 30% less at discount office chains like Staples and Office Depot. Also, don’t forget to run each printed sheet back through the printer on the flip side so that you now print on both sides, getting two jobs done for the price of one.
  4. Situate your workspace in direct sunlight – Our most expensive hourly and daily cost in a home office is electricity. The less of it we have to use the more we save. Why not position your work area under the sunlight near an open window to save big on electricity. It’s important to move around both your work desk where you look at the computer and type, as well as a separate area that you use just for reading and sitting. You could also invest in longer lasting light bulbs for a small, fixed, upfront expense.
  5. Consider investing in used office peripheral furniture – This includes your shelves and other tables, a used printer, and used table lamps. Plus, you can pick up all the other small utensils that every home office needs at a yard sale for pennies. This includes a stapler, scotch tape dispenser, pens, paper clips, even a clock radio. The only item you should never buy used is a monitor. An inexpensive monitor is probably not in very good condition to begin with and it’s likely going to be one of those antiquated, 15″ deals that’s too hard on your eyes.
  6. Use local services, such as the library – When you see that you’ll be needing specific books on a regular basis, visit your local public, private or academic library instead of buying online or in a brick-and-mortar store. If you regularly need a high quality dictionary, thesaurus or geographical dictionary, for example, simply rent them out each month for a fraction of what you’d pay to purchase.
  7. Make your own bookcases – On the contrary, if you already have a wide assortment of books that you’re about to move into a new home office, consider using cinder blocks and planks for the sturdiest bookcases you’ll ever find. Don’t purchase cheap paperboard-type bookcases instead because they don’t have the physical strength that heavy books require. They’ll only collapse. And solid walnut bookcases will set you back hundreds of dollars.
  8. Start using Skype (& other VoIP phones) for calls – You can utilize Skype with the iSkoot platform. The cost can be as low as 1.2 cents per minute if you sign up for Skype’s monthly plan. For more information contact skype.com. It’s best to use Skype for all your outgoing calls and then use your cellphone with a free incoming minutes call plan.
  9. Save big with a low cost computer – For as little as $300 you can purchase a brand new, top quality PC from Office Max. It’ll come with a keyboard and mouse. You really don’t have to waste your money on a $1,000+ machine for it to be every bit as efficient and fast.
  10. Don’t be tempted to splash out on a desk – All home office work revolves around your work desk. You probably sit at it at least eight hours a day. Why not purchase a low-cost desk? After all, the only weight on it will be a lightweight LCD, flat screen monitor, a keyboard, some paper and your mouse. Just make sure the height is comfortable for you and you’re good to go, saving you hundreds over a brand new oak or pine model.

What are some of your favorite frugal home office tips?

About 

James Adams, a writer at an online print cartridge store specialising in supplying franking machine ink for entrepreneurs.

56 Comments (click here to leave a comment)

  1. As they say, making money is also by “not spending money” and these are excellent forms of doing just that. At the end of the day, one can get surprised as to just how much we can save by following “some” of these money saving tips. Great!

  2. James, these are good tips. My favorite is the eBay tip. Thanks for that one!
    I’d like to point out a warning about tip #3: If you are using an ink-jet, this tip should be fine. However, reusing laser-printed pages can cause the toner to remelt on the drum, smearing the next pages.

    Instead of reprinting, here’s how I used tons of old laser-printed paper from when I worked for the city:
    1. Give it to the kids for drawing, cutting, etc.
    2. Make your own “memo” pads by tearing paper in half cross-wise, and use it for grocery lists
    3. Keep a stack handy for good old scrap paper notes, just be sure to put the notes in your computer before you lose them :)
    4. Scoresheets for Scrabble and other games

    Since I worked in a large office, the pile of paper became a nuisance and I ended up throwing a lot of paper out before re-using it. But for home offices that don’t print too much, these ideas may be manageable.

    Cheers,

    Mitch

  3. Patricia

    Hi James

    All very practical and mostly environmentally friendly tips for us to save money. Well done. Mostly I have done all of these. Although I did buy a new laptop when starting my blogging seriously as my old computer died.

    A friend who knows about these things got me an excellent deal and I did save heaps by him coming with me while I bought it. My bookcase was given to me as a gift and my desk is very old but still functional. I always recycle paper too. T

    Thanks for giving us a reminder of how we can easily save money Adam. Much appreciated.

    Patricia Perth Australia

  4. Excellent tips James, people don’t realize just how much turning off a few extra things really means. I challenged my family to turn off lights and extra “background noise” TV’s for one month to see what would happen, we ended up saving $300 off of our electric bill the first month we did it.

  5. James – I am definitely interested in having my own home office, but right now I just don’t have enough room in my home at the moment to make this happen. However, I loved your tips. About the tip on not buying branded cables, you can also find some very affordable cables for your home office at Home Depot or Lowes. I also loved the tips on running each printed sheet back through the printer on the flip side and positioning your work area under the sunlight near an open window to save money on electricity. Brilliant. Will definitely keep these in mind for when I finally make some room to get my very own home office space.

  6. Rahul

    spending money is easier than earning it, and saving it from wasting is more crucial. your 10 awesome tips can save 40% of expenses. and very effective and practical for anybody. so these are most helpful. thanks, for sharing such techniques of saving money.

  7. Times are hard nowadays and any chance that we can save should be done. I always do use recycled paper. Using recycled paper would help the environment a lot as well as lessen trees being cut.

  8. Dennis Edell

    Overall, a decent plan. You have the basics down nicely.

    Me being me though, loving a healthy discussion/debate, I’d like to point towards some possible flaws. :-)

    1-2-3-5 absolutely. :)

    4- Situate your workspace in direct sunlight – I’d say the main reason we don’t is that ever annoying glare. Not just a ‘trade-off either, as many times it can produce headaches as well.

    The longer lasting light-bulb along with turning it off every time you get up is good idea.

    6 – Use local services, such as the library – Cars and condos are one thing, but books? Guaranteed if you use them regularly enough, renting or leasing certain things will cost lots more then just purchasing outright.

    7 – Make your own bookcases – An excellent idea if you can DIY.

    8- Start using Skype (& other VoIP phones) for calls – Never used myself, but I’ve heard the sound quality can be horrific on some.

    9- Computers – spend what you need to spoend to have one for a few years with little ugrading.

    10 Desk, chairs and so on – I can’t stress this enough. Spend what you must to ensure both comfortability and years of use if possible.

  9. In Arizona I have the opposite problem in the sun, my 4 computers in my office generate so much heat that my A/C bill skyrockets and it is always like 82-85 in my office from the heat. Even in winter my office is warm. You are right about cheap cables, as even HDMI cables PC World found that cheap $5 hdmi cables work just as well as the $80 Monster HDMI cables.

  10. Hey James,

    Interesting point of view on working from home. Turning the PC off overnight is the best thing you can do to keep expenses lower. After all loading it up again the other day takes like two minutes. It’s not that much of a headache and still many people neglect it.

    Skype is a great way to keep connected with people and it is an amazing way to save money of phone bills. These days pretty much everyone out there has a PC and internet, so making an online calls shouldn’t be a problem. I’m using the software for more than 3 years now and it is definitely great. The quality of the calls is at a respectable level as well.

  11. You can get good cables for fairly cheap online. I wouldn’t buy them in a brick and mortar store for sure. As for books, I agree that the local library is an often overlooked resource. Although if you are doing research and can’t find what you need at the library, you can still go to the local bookstore and look up what you need without purchasing the book.

  12. Finally, I have my office room in our house. Absolutely much better when I was working in my room. Seeing a bed can be so distracting because I always felt sleepy. Now, my office room is more organized, all I can see are my only needed stuffs. Almost all of the items here are old tables that we actually convert as a desktop table.

  13. Buy your own coffee machine, instead of going to Starbucks. Further, buy that coffee in BULK, because you know you’re going to need it at some point. Send emails and pay bills online, that way you save paper as well!

  14. James,

    Thanks for the tips. I just bought new cables and did not think about ebay…and I am an ebay fan.

    I also just purchase an infrared heater to heat my office space. I like keeping warm and this should help save on energy.

    Like you I like used furniture. We have a great local thrift store. I have been able to complete my office for under $75.00.

    But when it comes to computers I save my self time and frustration with buying the best. My desk top is top of the line and my lap top is a refurbished top of the line computer.

    Thanks for the tips…turning my computer off at night now.

  15. Thanks for the tips, James. It seems that many of us neglect to turn our computers off :)
    I recently got rid of my landline, which has resulted in a decent cost savings.

  16. Great tips James!! Not only do we save for ourselves but we also help our environment little by little, just like the use of paper. Use them back to back, maybe if we have no use for them anymore, we can recycle them too. :)

  17. Hello James!

    Thanks for sharing your ideas with us. It really gives me more idea about saving money whether it is a home office or not. The things you’ve discussed are usually a small things that we don’t bother but you are correct that even on that small thing, we can also save our money through giving attention on it. You have a good suggestions, i will really try it. Keep up your good work!

  18. Hi James,

    If your desk is anything like my desk, your advice not to spend a lot of money is right on. Mine is so covered with books and papers, you can’t really see it anyway :-)

    Double sided printing is my default.

    I may disagree about the PC price. My experience is that quality counts. I always insist on Intel CPU, Chipset, and Motherboard. The cheapies may have Intel CPU, but if the chipset is NoName, you can get some squarely things happening, which origins are difficult to trace. I used to be corporate PC support and have a lot of experience with various computers. I have to never hold back on those.

    Solid advice, overall though.

    Rick

  19. Loved the post. I am setting up my home office at the moment so I really needed some of these advices.
    I do plan to buy a bookshelf in Big Lots, they carry some great low priced ones, of course I am not talking about shelves that need to put up with 1000 pounds of heavy books :)
    The most important thing I believe we need to invest money in is a good chair. Spending so much time at the desk typing and being on a computer can damage your back. So I am going to put some money in the chair and save some of it using your tips.

  20. Hi James,
    Your tips here are very practical ways on how to save money while working at home. I usually do some of the things you mentioned above such as working at a well-lighted area (without turning on the lights), turning off the computer when not in use, and using recycled paper. Thank you for sharing this post!

  21. Jake

    Some great advice on saving money with a home office. We just purchased a computer for our home office. May not have all the bells and whistles, but it is perfect for what we plan on using it for. We also use Google Voice for long distance savings.

  22. Mike Ramsey

    Thanks for the post, it was really very helpful to me.

    Your all 10 tips for saving money was really very appreciative.

    However, some of them, I was already following but I need to follow all these steps to use money in the right direction.

  23. Basam

    People are not too caring about switching off computers and gadgets at night. This is very good strategy for saving.

  24. One other way to save a lot of money at tax time is to make sure you’re counting all your deductions. We get really busy like I’m sure you guys do too and sometimes we’re not the best at recording all the expenses that are for the business. That’s one of the things that we’re planning to be more diligent about this year.

  25. I’m gonna have to disagree with #9. Getting a computer with a good processor is key if you’re going to do any work with graphics or any work that requires you to have multiple programs running at once. If you do all your work primarily through cloud computing on the internet, that’s different. But as a web designer, I have found that when I cheap out on a computer with an inferior processor, my work suffers big time. The slow downs are not worth it. I always fork over an extra few hundred dollars for a good computer because the productivity gains are well worth the minimal up front investment!

  26. Skype is a big risk when it comes to communicating with clients. I have found Skype’s overall service, especially during conference calls, to be weak and patchy connections.

  27. Alan

    Some of the other suggested buying your own coffee machine instead of going out to get coffee. I suggest giving up coffee altogether! Why make that an expense…

  28. Thanks for the great ideas…we’re in the processing of organizing our home office,so your tips will come in handy.

    One thing I found really nice is having some sort of bookshelf/shelving unit in the closest in the office…

    Thanks for sharing this great post,And wish you good luck!

  29. Hi Ileane,

    Great article as always, very informative and quality content. 1st points – yes, that’s a very good advice, I follow this advice to, turning off your computer at night is very good and healthy. You also need to let the PC ‘rest’ and cool down. Don’t overuse the PC or it might get a little ‘sick’. 2nd point – buy branded cables, hmmm… I agree, I do that too, buying same stuff but cheaper things from Ebay is great, I do it almost all the time when buying something. 3rd point – buy recycled paper and print on both sides, yes, this is a great way of helping both the environment and your pocket. And the rest of the points are ok aswell. Thank you very much for sharing this great content!

    Best regards,

    Maria

  30. This is what I need. Thank you blogger and now I’m just beginning to implement your tips in my home office and I hope I could save money and energy somehow. Now that my responsibility is getting wide this is the right thing to do, to save money. My point is that a little saving could be a great help especially to those having a big family. Even if you’re from a well-to-do family this tips really matters. Thanks again and I really appreciate it.

  31. those are great energy saving tips, i think a lot of new small business owners could learn from a few of these, where and how much to spend on certain things is a really big help.

  32. Good tips!! I usually leave my PC on 24/7 because I hate waiting 10 mins for it to start up but in hard times ever cent counts. From now on I’ll turn off my PC when I’m done with work.

  33. Very practical tips and very easy to follow. I have already used few of these and must say, these work superbn in saving so much. Well written and keep posting such good tips.

  34. Spending money is quite easy as compare to earning it, and saving it from wasting is more critical. Your 10 overwhelming tips can keep 40% of expenses and very effective for anybody. Quick Loans

  35. Thanks for this informative article. I think it really helps put things into perspective with priorities when starting a new office, or working from home. You have highlighted some good ways to stay ahead, as well as cut down on costs. Thanks! Keep up the good work.

  36. this is now the first time to realize that small things matters when it comes to using office utilities or resources.

  37. Alice Dunn

    A friend of a friend of mine always says: “a penny saved is a penny earned.”. I completely agree with him

  38. Danny

    Great tips!
    I just bought a new tv (I know this has nothing to do with saving money haha) and I needed a new hdmi 1.4 cable.
    When I was still in the Netherlands I would pay €40 for a gold-plated high quality hdmi cable. If I would look around on internet and be smart I would end up buying an unknown brand cable for a little over €10 .

    But because I am in China I can go to the store and buy that €40 cable as well. For the equivalent of that price in rmb. Or I can be smart (and that’s what I try to be most of the time) and go on to the internet and search for a chinese deal.
    Now I get a Philips cable (no clue if it really is Philips, that’s just what is on the cable) good quality 2meters for €2.- including delivery. Works just as well as the expensive one that I brought from the Netherlands. That was around €38 more expensive.

    But when saving money sometimes you should not go for the cheapest. Look at the long term cost. You can buy a cheap airconditioner but it will probably consume an insane amount of electricity and you end up telling your employees not to turn it on unless it’s over 40 degrees celsius (sorry don’t know fahrenheit). Or you can spend a little more and get an energy efficient one that your employees or you can actually use without going bankrupt.

    Same for a printer. If you print a lot then why not invest a little more and get a laser printer, it will earn itself back as you use it.

  39. Great tips. One can also consider using a laptop computer instead of a desktop computer. Laptop computers use far lesser electricity than their desktop counterparts. One can also unplug all the power cords from the wall outlet. You may be surprised how much electricity you can save by simply doing this.

  40. Steve

    I like your suggestion to use the library for resources. Entertainment and electronic media is easy to obtain legally and for extremely low prices today. Getting audio books from the library is a free way to get an education while you travel or commute. Pod Casts are also very useful.

  41. Great tips, I’m sorry to say I’m guilty of not doing hardly any of them. Guess I need my workplace to impress my office visitors. Situating your desk in a sunlit area is also good Feng Shui.

  42. Thanks for the advices, I think it’s very important to get to know more about saving money because it’s really necessary knowledge in our daily life!

  43. James these are some really excellent tips! I believe in being very environment friendly, hence I use recycled paper and print on both the sides. Also, I only print if its a very important document. Rest, we just use mail sharing info.

  44. Technology makes life easier but it also make people keep on spending more. that is why sometimes you could wish it never existed.

  45. Unfortunately the room I work in is at the back of the house which is rather dark! When winter rolls around it feels twice as dark. I’m looking into getting dynamo powered lamps to reduce use of electricity.

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