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It is possible for small companies and individual business people to cut costs without sacrificing quality. Keep these 10 budgeting tips in mind when purchasing goods and services.
1.) Buy in bulk, but compare prices.
Sam's Club and Costco cater to small businesses and have good deals on bulk-packaged items. Know the sale prices at discount retailers and grocers, though. Sometimes you can do better there.
2.) Travel Frugally.
With some flexibility you could save up to 75% or more when traveling. 50% is common. Search for air fair and hotels on discount sites such as Expedia.com, Travelocity.com, Hotels.com, and Priceline.com. At Priceline you can submit your own price. Don't be intimidated if you get a message saying your bid is likely to be rejected because it is too low. Give it a shot anyway. Lowball bids are often accepted ($35 for a $139 room, for example).
3.) Look for closeouts / clearances.
Shop big retailer's regional warehouse or clearance store, where they ship rejected or overstocked merchandise. The items are primary large-ticket, such as furniture and appliances, that have been damaged in shipping. Keep your break room/kitchen configuration in mind when shopping. Look for items dinged and dented on sides that will be against the wall or hidden by cabinets.
4.) Buy used vehicles.
As soon as a new car leaves the lot, it drops in value. Look for dealers that need to move inventory, individuals with cars coming off lease, and other unusual situations. If there is high demand for the vehicle you are looking for, try shopping outside of your immediate area, where demand may be lower.
5.) Purchase business wear from consignment and non-profit stores.
Shop at the better consignment stores that carry only new looking, brand name items. Also, try non-profit stores, such as Goodwill, for business casual attire. You not only get a good deal, you support charity as well.
6.) Shop around for the best price.
Combine Internet and "real world" shopping to save money. Before purchasing an item, research current sales and rebates in three ways: 1) Research local sales at ShoppingList.com, 2) Compare online prices at MySimon.com, and 3) Search individual Web sites such as Sam's Club, Costco, and Wal-Mart. If you are purchasing items to resell, don't forget to use your tax ID.
7.) Recycle and refill.
Come up with creative ways to save on office supplies. Purchase ink refill kits. You can refill an ink cartridge for a fraction of the cost to buy new. Look for refill kits at your local office supply store or search for "Ink refill kits" in an online search engine. Use both sides of the paper. Instead of throwing away paper, print drafts on both sides. When printing out drafts to proofread, chose "draft quality" printing. It not only saves ink, but prints faster as well.
8.) Buy refurbished or previously used furniture and fixtures.
You can often get used and/or refurbished items at a price less than new. Search local online portals and business directories for companies that refurbish and sell business furniture. Also, if you know you are going to need replacements, keep an eye out for liquidations, auctions, and going out of business sales. Fixtures are often sold along with other inventory.
Look for bartering networks, where members help each other by trading goods or services. You can also approach businesses and freelancers on your own with a win-win proposition.
10.) Save on marketing costs.
Rather than outsource all your marketing to an agency, learn to complete some tasks in-house. Join marketing newsletters, purchase how-to guides, and read articles written especially for small businesses.
Bobette Kyle draws upon 12+ years of Marketing/Executive experience, Marketing MBA, and online marketing research in her writing. Bobette is proprietor of the Web Site Marketing Plan Network, http://www.websitemarketingplan.com, and author of the marketing plan and Web promotion book "How Much For Just the Spider? Strategic Website Marketing For Small Budget Business": http://www.HowMuchForSpider.com
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