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December 04, 2021

How to save important cash running a home office

Anyone who’s worked in a major office knows waste is pretty much religion.

Left your 47th pen of the week on the bus this morning? Ah, grab another box from the stock room. Lost your notepad somewhere between the conference room and cafeteria? Go on, swipe a few more. Heading to the washroom? Sure, print out that 15,000-word Malcolm Gladwell feature from the New Yorker website.

You’re not footing the bill anyway, right?

Well, technically, no. In most cases, you are not. But for people that run a home office – or the increasing number of small businesses forced to move home because of the downturn – there are no fat cats upstairs to cover the throwaway costs of day-to-day work.

So it stands to reason a blog post like this might be helpful to many. The people at Poorer Than You have come up with eight helpful ways to save big if you operate a home office.

Some of the entries are a bit petty (invest in paper clips so you don’t waste $$$ on staples) and obvious (reuse paper), but there are some legitimate gems in amongst them.

Here’s the list, with my favourite two highlighted:

1. Refill printer cartridges: Simple advice, but really – who actually does this? According to Poorer Than You, a new cartridge often sells for “several times” the price of a refill. And with ubiquitous chains like Staples offering refill services at every corner, you might be crazy not to take advantage.
2. Print in black and white
3. Consider best before dates (on printer cartridges)
4. Reuse paper
5. Make smaller copies
6. Recycle notepads and scrap paper
7. Use paper clips
8. Pens and notepads: Expanding on entry no. 6, this one promotes borderline larceny, which is always fun. Poorer Than You suggests you swipe as many Post-it Notes and writing utensils as possible from hotels to pad your collection at home. And why not? With this method, you’re not footing the bill anyway.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...