Some ways to cut costs in your home or home office

Monitor closely energy consumption. Track and cut waste. Use auto-setback thermostats and automatic light switches. Savings can be dramatic.  

Used office furniture stores or office equipment leasing companies typically have quality desks to sell at reduced prices; quality filing cabinets might be more difficult to find. Shop around for price and quality. Visit the local thrift shop and read the classified ads for sales, auctions and liquidations.

No matter the savings, don’t buy your chair used. A good, and reasonably priced, ergonomic chair can be found at the office superstore or even a warehouse club for less than $200.

Know anyone in a business? Sometimes businesses preparing to upgrade their furniture would part with it cheaply.

Go to a local retailer to find out when they’re going to replace their furnishings and displays, which often make good, sturdy office hardware (for bookshelves, storage areas and filing racks).

Monitor your use of long-distance calling, and invoice clients where appropriate (remember also to charge clients for the taxes related to the long-distance calls you made on their behalf). Call long-distance at off-peak times and enroll in long-distance-calling programs. Also remember that rates change frequently, so call the providers to get the best rate. Don’t be afraid to switch, or to threaten to in order to secure a better deal.

Do not order a “business” telephone or fax line for the home office. A residential telephone line can be one-fourth the cost of a “business” line and serve the same purpose. Also, call your phone company to see if you can bundle long-distance, cellular and even Internet access into one, less-expensive package.

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