As a business owner working from home, you strive to make a profit. Your choices for coming out in the black are to either increase income or reduce expenses. As an independent contractor working online, your income varies week-to-week or month-to-month. Because of these fluctuations in income, you want to save as much money as possible on tools and resources.

Regardless of your status, working at home has is perks. But, as many of us know, cash flow crunches are common. These dry spells tend to make us more resourceful and frugal. As a basic rule of survival, you quickly learn what is important to keep you working. You watch every penny and eagerly accept money saving ideas.

Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to saving serious money.

Buy Used
Office necessities such as furniture and computer equipment can be purchased used from many different sources. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much you can save when buying used versus new. Check out furniture consignment shops for a desk and chair – or a decent table in lieu of an actual desk. For computers, printers and digital cameras, check out discount stores such as Walmart and Target. Many computer repair shops also sell “gently used” refurbished computers at low prices.

Comparison Shop
It pays to shop around for the best deal and work-related supplies are no exception. The smaller, more specialized office supply stores tend to be more expensive, so shop at the big chain stores for deals. Often, the super-center-everything stores have the best prices, and a pretty good selection, of everyday office supplies.

Buy Just What You Need
Make a list and stick to it. Don’t fall for the impulse items in the check-out lane. Don’t buy a ton of fancy post-it notes when the plain yellow ones work just as well. There’s really no need to get six reams of paper when you can go months with three. Believe it or not your savings will stack up. This also goes for meals and entertainment. You work at home so there’s no need to go out for lunch every day. You buy groceries for your family, so eat what you have at home.

Consolidate Your Errands
Not only is running around town taking care of errands time consuming, it’s expensive. Especially if you’re in and out several times during the day. Consolidate your errands so you spend less time going back and forth. Route your trip prior to going out so you can plan the shortest trip, making the best use of your time and gas.

Ask For A Better Price
Don’t be afraid to do this. You’ll be surprised how many companies will agree to lower their price if you give them a good reason to do so. You may have to be prepared, though. Many stores will meet, or exceed, their competitor’s price, but you will have to have a copy of the sales ad showing the lower price. Sometimes, asking the simple question “is that the best you can do” is all that is needed to get a lower price.

Take Care of Your Computer
Install and frequently use a good anti-virus software. This will not only make your computer run more efficiently, it will save you time and money in trying to clean it.

Use Free Tools
Business related software is expensive. Spreadsheet, word processing, and photo imaging tools are typically not included in a computer’s original (less expensive) home edition software package. Google Products offers a ton of home and office items such as Docs (share documents and spreadsheets), Talk (IM and make calls through your computer), and Voice (enhance the existing capabilities of your phone). An extremely useful and complete tool is the Open Office suite, providing the ability to create spreadsheets, text documents, and presentations similar to the high-priced programs.

Kathleen Lewis, founder and owner of, is passionate about helping individuals find online jobs from home. Out of necessity, she turned her desire to help others into a thriving business.

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