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10 Budgeting Tips for Handling Home Office Expenses


If you are setting up a home office, you may be in need of budgeting tips to slash your expenses. After all, when starting your own business, you want to spend as little as you can to maximize your profits. Fortunately, there are many ways to cut your costs while maintaining the quality of your work. Here are 10 money-saving tips for your home office budget:

1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Try to reduce your paper use by printing on both sides of the page. Reuse old printed pages as scrap paper. Recycle the scrap paper by passing it on to your kids for scribbling. Try to get as much use out of paper as you can--not only will you reduce costs, it's good for the environment.

2.  Use Copy Paper

Copy paper is much more inexpensive than printer paper.

3. Use "Print Preview"

Take a few moments to check the "print preview" before printing something out. This will ensure that you are printing only what you want, and it will cut back on paper and ink costs.

4.  Use the Draft Setting

Use the black and white draft setting on your printer for all your daily print jobs, saving your expensive printer ink.

5.  Shop the Sales

Back-to-school sales are perfect for stocking up on items like pens, paper and other office supplies. If possible, shop the tax-free weekends to save even more.

6. Shop Around

Sometimes your best bargains can be found online. Other times, you can negotiate good prices with local stores. It's worth it to your bottom line to shop around and get your best deals.

7. Save on Printer Ink

Be creative with your printer ink: use refills or refurbished models, and use store brands rather than brand names. Some retailers even offer a "core charge" refund when you bring your old cartridges in, so make sure to check. That alone could save you a couple of dollars.

8. Reduce Your Electricity Use

Use surge protectors to help even out your electricity use, and turn everything off at the source at the end of the day. Anything left running, even in a low-power state, creates a "phantom drain," meaning electricity is still being used. So it's worth a few moments of your time to turn everything off at the end of the day.

9. Use Free Software

If possible, check online for free or open-source software to replace expensive programs. There are alternatives out there to Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop and Dreamweaver, as well as many other regularly used software programs.

10. Bundle Service Options

Many communication companies offer bundling services for your phone, cable and other service needs. It's worth checking around, as some of these services can save you quite a bit of cash, and some even offer extra services like voice mail.

With these tips and a little creativity and common sense, you can improve your money management while still maintaining your business needs. Make budgeting for your home office a key part of your personal finance regimen, saving money in the short-term to maximize your profits in the long-term.


Sarah Baker is a documentary filmmaker and writer currently living in New Bern, NC. Her first book, Lucky Stars: Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell, will be published December 2009. Read more about her.

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