80 Ways To Reduce Expenses, Part 2

Can you cut back on office supplies?

6. Require sponsors of special events to provide equipment and supplies. This can work as an alternative to #5 or in conjunction with that strategy. Additionally, ask that the equipment and supplies be donated at the conclusion of the event. The additional resources may be utilized in upcoming activities, or provided to other community agencies.

This can become a challenge for special-event organizers, so be sure this practice is explained fully to event stakeholders.

7. Utilize “just-in-time” management. Avoid over-purchasing–buy only what you need. Save money by not paying for unnecessary equipment and supplies. The ripple effect of this approach shows savings by reducing unnecessary storage, reducing employee or customer theft, etc.

Be aware that some employees may resent this effort, claiming that buying in bulk reduces the risk of running low or running out of certain supplies (e.g., fertilizer, paper products, non-perishable food, etc.).

8. Train employees to conserve on supplies. In difficult economic times, many employees understand the need to conserve on household supplies and expenditures. It is of the utmost importance to instill a conservationist approach in the workplace by encouraging employees to continue to do the job right, but now adhering to a no-waste approach.

Purchase only recycled printer cartridges, eliminate printing unnecessary documents, and if necessary, print unofficial paperwork on those stockpiled reams of colored paper.

Employees may complain colored paper is not what they are accustomed to, so be prepared to communicate the rationale for conservation and the use of available resources.

9. Include equipment in grant proposals. The need to research, and submit grant applications is not only highly competitive, but extremely important in funding projects, activities, etc. Too many proposals are hastily written without including the need for specific equipment, or justifying the need for the equipment once the grant has expired. Give adequate attention to determine the realistic equipment needs based on grant longevity, and include within the application.

Note: Some supervisors may not authorize time allocation of employees to develop such a proposal.

10. Maintain equipment. Reduce expenditures by first determining whether to fix or repair equipment rather than replace it. Make use of a maintenance-management system not only to maintain warranties, but to plan for and conduct regularly scheduled service. Maintenance is critical, especially for the safety of all who utilize or rely upon its continued functionality.

Determining which equipment to repair or replace can be overwhelming. Additionally, you may have a wave of repairs that may not be a bad thing, provided you have an employee with expertise.

11. Examine any discounts for early payment of bills. Limit unnecessary charges or penalties by taking advantage of early or on-time payments. Many manufacturers and suppliers appreciate good customers by rewarding those who pay in accordance with the discount structure of the contract. When striving for savings, such discounts from early payment warrant this approach.

Keep in mind some people will not be able to take advantage of savings due to other expenditures, requiring scheduled payments over a period of time.

12. Consider co-op purchasing with other agencies. Seeking to obtain the optimum deal has reinstituted the concept of “co-op purchasing” among agencies that previously might not have desired business dealings with those outside their respective authorities. For instance, when negotiating for price-point discounts for solar panels, co-op purchasing can lead to lower rates and better installation fees.

However, be careful when attempting this–some agencies may think you are getting a better price/rate than they are, or that you are micro-managing the co-op purchasing relationship.

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