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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?