Save Money On Your Home Office

Sure, when you’re at the office you think nothing of printing out 50-page forwards or swiping entire cases of staples and pens, but if you work at home it’s time to get conservative.

Guest posting on the blog Poorer Than You, Tom describes ways to slash home office costs.

A couple of his best tips involve saving on ink and paper costs:

3. Consider Best Before Dates

While in some cases, it is advisable to buy in bulk to receive discounts, this isn’t always the case with printer cartridges – especially replacements and refills. These items only have a limited lifespan (many cartridges can only be refilled 3-4 times before they begin to lose effectiveness) and exposure to air over time can cause them to dry out. Therefore, consider your usage before stocking up and try to keep cartridges in their sealed packages until you are ready to use them.

4. Reuse Paper

It often isn’t until we begin working from a home office where we are responsible for office supply costs that we realize the significant expense of buying paper. When an employer is paying, those misprints probably go right in the garbage or recycle bin, but when you are footing the bill, it’s a different story. While you certainly don’t want to send professional documents on reused paper, if you’re only using the documents for personal purposes, why not use that blank side to print on as well?

Those are just two of the eight tips he offers in the story. How do you cut costs on your home office?

8 Ways to Save Big in the Home Office [Poorer Than You]


Edit Your Comment

  1. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Well, if your home is your office, you can make your own office supplies at home. That not only answers the question posed in the post, but also eliminates a bingo square.

  2. Dondegroovily says:

    Merely having a home office is cutting costs, since you’re not paying rent for an office someplace else.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Well, presumably, unless you’re a small business owner, you would either be occupying your own home, or someone else’s office space. So the savings would be in not having to get in the car, or take public transportation.

  3. captainpicard says:

    i can sum up the article for you, print smarter + take advantage of free stuff.

  4. Hoss says:

    Printer ink and ink cartridges are a huge consumer scam. The fact that a few ounces of simple ink cost as much as a gallon of paint is ridiculous. The selling concept is brilliant, but so are many evil concepts

    • henrygates3 says:

      But, it’s specially formulated.

    • diasdiem says:

      It used to be you could buy a really cheap printer at an office supply store for less than a replacement ink cartridge, so you could buy the printer and just use the cartridges that came with it. Then they wised up, and the cartridges that come with the printer have less ink.

      • henrygates3 says:

        What annoys me most is that now they make it deliberately impossible to refill some cartridges. And if you run out of yellow ink, your printer shuts down and won’t print in black either.

    • XTC46 says:

      Which is why for just about anyone who frequently prints documents, a Laser Printer should be purchased. that cost of a low end laser printer is like $200 (as low as 99…but they are crap) which is the same as an ink jet + a single cartrige replacement, and it quickly makes up for the cost.

    • Coles_Law says:

      To be fair, an ink cartridge is more complicated than a paint can-some of the cost goes to the container.

  5. CupcakeKarate says:

    How about scouting out local office buildings with unlocked supply cabinets? All you need is a basket with some wrapped sandwiches in it. Show up around lunch time and *presto* you’re knee-deep in pink post-it notes.

  6. RogerDucky says:

    #3 — It’s only applicable to ink-jet printers for the most part. If you’re buying one of those for your small business, you’re doing yourself a disservice by buying one of the more aggravating printer technologies in terms of lifespan of cartridges, maintenance, and cost per sheet. Lasers are great, and solid ink printers from Xerox is even better. I have a solid ink printer at home, bought a package of third-party ink packs, and has been printing ever since. Since the solid “ink” are made of vegetable oils with dye, it’s got near infinite shelf life.

    • diasdiem says:

      If you’re printing for in-house purposes and aren’t too concerned with quality, an old used laser printer is great. A friend of mine got like 20 of them at a municipal property auction for all of about $50, and he gave me one. Prints like a charm.

      • Torgonius wants an edit button says:


        My wife’s school was disposing of an old LaserJet 5 (with network interface card), and 5 toner cartridges.

        I picker her up from work one evening and saw their IT guy carting the stuff past her office. He knew I was an IT guy, too, and asked if I wanted the thing.

        Free printer, still have 3 cartridges left. Only cost for me was paper. Now the inkjet is rarely used.

      • Orv says:

        Agreed. I’ve always gotten my laser printers from either the local university’s surplus auctions, or the local computer surplus store. Workgroup laser printers are built pretty sturdily and hold up well in home use, and the cartridges last just about forever. (The ones for my current HP are rated for 8,000 pages.)

    • XTC46 says:

      The solid ink printers from Xerox are hands down the best printers I have seen for small/medium offices that need color prints. The print quality in both color and B&W is fantastic.

      I managed about 30 xerox printers at my old job, and as an IT guy I have a love for Xerox that can be compared to that of a bunny boiler. Seriously, they are amazing. Our account rep was absolutely stellar even tho we were even close to his biggest client, the techs were fantastic, and I will go to my grave recomending them.

    • Rachacha says:

      I have a B&W All in One laser printer and a color laser. The B&W printer is used for most of our prints, and the image drums and other consumables are cheaper than the color laser (even for just B&W). The Color laser is used only if we need color printouts, or if the B&W printer is not working correctly/out of toner.

      I also have a color Inkjet that is used for a very few specific purposes where we need photo quality prints that the laser printer can’t give us, but sees less and less use everyday.

  7. H3ion says:

    Don’t print anything that doesn’t have to be printed. You can go through multiple drafts of a document using only the electronic copy, circulate copies electronically and only use paper for the signature copy.

    Buy the cheapest copier paper for drafts and only use good paper for the final draft.

    Use pencils instead of pens until a manual signature is required.

    Use second day FedEx. It’s pretty rare that someone really needs something overnight in paper form.

  8. StanTheManDean says:

    IF you are worried about paper costs, I strongly suggest you find a new line of work.

  9. Noadi says:

    1: Open Source. I have yet to spend a penny on software for my office.
    2: Buy paper and other supplies in bulk, if you use a lot of it you can save buying larger quantities.
    3: Shop around for ink and buy it online. Also 90% of the time printing in draft mode is just as good.
    4: Look around for businesses upgrading their equipment, you can save a lot of money buying it used.

  10. malone9975 says:

    Print everything you think you may need into a pdf file. I use Primo Pdf, because it is a free download, and easy to use…and no I was not paid to say that.

    • stranger than fiction says:

      doPDF is another free option. I’ve been using it for a few years — it’s come in very handy when I want to save a copy for posterity, or just don’t have access to a printer right then.