Frugal Money Saving Tips for Small Business Owners
Small Business Owner Money Saving Tips
When you are first trying to get a new business off the ground,
one of your number one priorities will likely be saving money. As
a small business owner myself, I remember spending huge amounts
of time looking for all the frugal money saving tips I could get
my hands on. Even as your business starts becoming more self sufficient,
the bottom line will always mean finding ways to ensure that profits
I asked a group of small business owners to share some of their
favorite frugal money saving tips. The number of responses was almost
overwhelming but with tips this good, I wasn't willing to leave
even a single one out. This article presents those tips, in their
own words. I hope you find a few that will be effective for you!
SEE YOU AT THE TOP!
Texas Web Designer and SEO Training Specialist
Owner GNC Web Creations and Online Photography Magazine
We saved a quite a bit of money setting up our own FedEx Ground
account rather than bringing our shipments in to the local hardware
store. With most of our shipments weighing around 95 pounds we are
saving approximately 40% on shipments having our own account. Add
to that the fuel savings and saving in time, it's great. An added
bonus is not having to handle the heavy packages one more time.
Everything is scheduled and the labels created online, it's very
-- Jim and Bonnie Kaczmarek
Lawn and Garden Equipment Shop Owners
Jim's Repair/Jim's Tractors
Hastings, Minnesota, USA
Because many of the items we sell are large and heavy, one of our
biggest expenses is shipping. Sometimes the shipping can be as much
or more than the product we sell. We've found that FedEx works best
for us. By paying for our FedEx charges with American Express we
get an additional 5% off.
Another benefit is that the American Express bill is so detailed
that it makes it easier to track the cost of individual packages.
-- Wesley Saxon, Business Owner,
Saxon Nursery, Inc.
As the mother of two young children, the best tips I have found
for saving money have been exclusively breastfeeding each child
- a year of formula would have cost around $1500 for each child,
and learning about cloth diapering. By using our reusable resources,
we figure we have saved over $1800 for each child in not buying
disposable diapers, and have felt good about our saving our environment
at the same time.
Having a set location to keep your bills saves money - no late fees,
lost or unpaid bills. We keep a notebook with a pocket in it on
our desk - when a bill comes in, it gets written on the notebook
- the date received, bill, amount due, date due. Then there is a
column for the date paid and the amount paid. The bill goes in the
pocket until it is paid, and written off as paid when it is sent.
The notebook is a plain spiral notebook with a pocket that we bought
about 5 years ago for $1, and we use a new page for every month.
It is simple, but we have not had a single late payment on our bills
since we started our system 5 years ago. Not a bad investment for
a dollar. I have a separate notebook for my home business bills.
-- Tara L. Guy
HypnoBirthing and Breastfeeding Educator
Rocky Mountain Baby
Pueblo West, CO, USA
I've found that the best way to save money is not to spend it!
Easier said than done? Not really. Other than our house and cars,
we have very little debt. We only have one credit card. We would
only accept a credit card from a company with no yearly fee and
an extremely low interest rate. We never pay the minimum payment
on our credit card. If possible we pay the entire thing off each
month to avoid any finance charges. If we want to spring for something
big, like a special vacation (we love to travel) then we save up
for the basic costs (transportation and motel) and use the credit
card for the rest with a goal in mind of paying it off within the
next three months.
The bottom line is planning and research. Know how much things cost
and how much you'll need to live plus x-amount to have fun with.
My husband and I have been married 6 years. We've taken vacations
to Atlantic City and a tour of the New England Coast (for our honeymoon),
Arizona (amazing scenery - part of it looks like you're living on
the moon!)- hubby had to go to a seminar there so his transportation
was paid for plus the first 3 days lodging, Bar Harbor, Maine (don't
miss Jordan's Pond!), two days in Niagara Falls and three days in
the Finger Lakes Wine country during their Oktoberfest festival
(hmmm don't remember much of that... kidding)
Las Vegas, another seminar - his transportation paid for, and
3 days accommodations at the Hilton PLUS an upgrade to a suite because
the first room they gave us a key to was occupied - we opened the
door and the person's laptop was open on the bed, the TV was on
and we could hear the shower running - yikes!, a cabin at a National
Park in West Virginia, and to Nashville, TN for three days of honky-tonkin'
(Great city!). Plus numerous camping/canoeing trips - hubby is an
expert white-water canoeist.
And no, we aren't rich. Hubby is a Crimes Analyst for our city's
police dept and I'm a medical secretary at the regional medical
center. So you see, you can have your cake and eat it too - if you
remember to save up the ingredients first.
-- Susan Hawthorne, Jewelry Artisan
Hawthorne's Handcrafted Gallery
I knit jumpers and cardigans, gloves, hats and scarves, as these
are cheaper than bought ones, and last much longer. You can also
alter jumpers and cardigans when you need for growing grand/children.
I also used to make clothes for them.
I make my own main meals. You can make three at once and freeze
two - thus saving on heat to cook and time. You know what has gone
into the meal - no preservatives and you can use fresh produce.
I also bake cakes and cookies, as again you know what is in them.
I try to purchase programs from eBay thus saving some money. I help
friends with their computer problems - thus saving them money and
they repay me by giving me home grown produce - which saves me buying
;-)) I email as many friends and relatives as I can, so that I save
time and money on stamps. I have a webpage of family photographs
for family to view, as this saves money copying for them all.
-- Jill Muir, Website Owner
Kingston Bagpuize with Southmoor W.I.
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK
Former Chef turned Work At Home Mom's Tips
I belong to Sam's Club. They just opened one closer to my house,
so now that I don't have to drive an hour to get there it's worth
it. I signed up for the Business Membership. Why? It was $35 and
the personal memberships were $45. I still got a second card for
my husband for free, so it didn't matter that it's the business
membership. I just have my company name on my card. Big deal. Well
it does get me extra perks like I can get in there at 7am to shop
and the personal membership members have to wait until 10am. I'm
sure closer to the holidays that will be worth it alone just to
avoid the crowds.
Since I joined there, we've been buying in bulk. Cereals that run
almost $4 a box at the grocery store I can get the jumbo box with
the equivalent of 2 bags in it for under $5.50. That comes in very
handy to save a few bucks since my oldest is autistic and HAS to
have certain foods in the house at all times or she flips out. Of
course she only eats a total of 12 different foods, so it's not
that difficult to arrange my shopping to make sure she has everything
she will eat in the house. With the buying in bulk from Sam's, our
grocery bill is down to $300 a month when it was getting close to
$500 before Sam's opened.
There I can also get the 9 x 11 disposable pans so I can batch cook
things in advance. Who needs expensive frozen dinners when I can
cook on a weekend and have pans of things frozen and ready to heat
and eat? Less sodium, less fat, and less preservatives too.
The most used appliances in my kitchen are the George Foreman grill,
the dehydrator, the slow cooker, and the vacuum sealer. The grill
is great for making grilled cheese sandwiches for the kids without
having to fire up the stove. That saves a bunch on the electric
bills and the kids love it. The slow cooker is great for making
dinner without needing much work. I check online for different recipes
and always find new things I can just toss everything into the slow
cooker and let it go all day. That's a big time saver, and using
the slow cooker I can use the less expensive cuts of meat that would
normally be too tough. Slow cooked they just fall apart in your
The vacuum sealer I use for everything from packaging bulk things
into smaller packs, to making cook in bag sandwiches, to making
up cutlery packs to toss into my husband's lunch cooler.
The dehydrator is just a dream appliance. I make our own jerky,
I can make fruit chips, fruit leather, and I've been able to take
left over gravy and dehydrate it down to a powder. I keep that in
a canister and just toss some into a pan and add water when I need
-- T. Wells, Business Owner
Mother's Unique Designs
Let me tell you about all of the FREE things you can do to save
money while building your business. Now I didn't mean "free from
headaches" or "free from long nights" or "free from complete disasters,"
but there really are lots of things you can do to save money when
starting your business. Remember these words: YOU can do it!
I am my own webmaster. I'm my own publicist, manufacturer, accountant
and secretary. I am even my own distribution center. You can do
it too. Use Microsoft FrontPage to build, design publish. own and
control your website.
Donate new products to charity auctions and send free samples
to local reporters, teachers, or civic organizations to spread the
word about your business. Ask or beg friends and family with graphic
design experience to create your logo, banners and site design as
an in-kind donation (be sure to recognize their work on your site).
Learn how to use
usps.com for free shipping supplies, free tracking and confirmation,
and you can quickly become your own packaging and distribution plant!
For priceless (and free) business advice sent directly to your inbox
every day, join Cricket's
SEO Class and join
MomPack.com. Remember: YOU can do it!
-- Sally Gemignani, Business Owner
Polka Dot Market
One of our best money savers is my trip list. I have a universal
"Trip List" that we use anytime we go on a trip for any length of
time or distance. We go down our list and either cross off what
we don't need or check items off as we pack them.
We usually pack moderate groceries, especially if it is place that
only wants you buy their food. If it is a long trip, then we will
stop along the way and eat. If we go somewhere that wants you to
buy their food, we eat before we go in and after we come out. Then
we don't have to buy all the food on location, maybe only the lunch.
This saves TONS of money. We only take items that are specific for
each trip. For instance, outside trips could require sunscreen and
my list reminds me. It keeps me from having to pay twice as much
on location, and no one goes home with a sunburn, unless we leave
it in the car. If we won't be outside then I cross it off the list
and don't take any.
I carry a small shoulder pack with most of the items that we might
need so that we don't to buy the items on location. I have had people
around me say that I must have the kitchen sink in my bag because
I had 2-3 things that they were looking for. I try to have pens,
band-aids, wipes, a small snack, basic wallet requirements, tissues,
emergency rain ponchos (if rain is possible) and other items in
my bag for convenience and so that we don't pay high prices. I try
to pack things light and small so that it is not much heavier than
a purse. If you have a black shoulder book bag, even teenage boys
will carry it. Make a list for yourself and change it as you go
along or see my trip list as a base and then add your own ideas.
I have saved so much money not buying things at premium prices.
-- Tina Gibson, Business Owner
One thing we do that's always helpful is to shop for toiletries,
towels and such at the local discount stores that sell items for
a dollar or at significant discount. We even buy treats for the
boys at one of them - they have a lot of the stuff they like at
a much cheaper price.
We're able to find quite a few of the non-perishable and seasonal
goods we need at these places - snow shovels, garden tools, hoses
etc. There's two stores within a two minute drive from our house,
so even the trip is cheap!
-- Dan Reinhold, WAHumorist
Duxbury, MA, USA
Buy clothing for the current season towards the end. Plan in advance
and put it away for next time the season rolls around. You will
pay up %80 less this way. For example we bought my daughter a new
coat that she can grow into for $6 in February.
Learn to cook from scratch. Buying packaged foods and eating out
costs significantly more than making it yourself. You can duplicate
many restaurant foods at home without the extra fat and who knows
I make my own breads, crackers, cookies, and rice mixes to name
We make all of our cards and make an occasion of it. We all get
together with the kids and pull out all the cardstock, stamps, glue,
pens and spend a holiday making birthday cards, anniversary cards
etc for the upcoming celebrations. A good time to get some scrapbooking
out of the way too.
-- Kemi Quinn, Website Owner
One of the biggest money savers is paying off the mortgage early.
Any money paid toward principal will help, especially early in the
loan. I’ve calculated the interest rate per year that one pays on
a 30 year mortgage – it is beyond belief. Now I know why everyone
wants to lend mortgage money.
I have lost my hard drive a few times. Fortunately, I had nearly
a full backup (I lost some artificial intelligence programs) and
was able to recover easily. Adding up the time and money invested
is incalculable if everything was lost. One never knows when a computer
will fail. Or a nasty virus strike. Or a natural disaster. Or burglary.
I always keep backups off site, just in case.
-- Doug DePrenger, Business Owner
Home Computer Security Center
Business cards are an important part of your professional image,
but having them professionally designed and printed can be a significant
investment. I create my own business cards and either print them
on heavy business card stock that you can buy at office supply stores
and then tear apart, or have them printed by one of the online printing
companies that can do this pretty cheaply. If I purchase stock to
print myself, I always use the stock with clean edges, not perforated
ones, which look homemade and unprofessional. Some of the online
printing services offer very inexpensive promotional specials on
a regular basis, and they offer very nice quality printing and card
stock. I always opt to upgrade to heavier card stock. The additional
cost is more than worth it for the added professionalism.
There are templates for business cards available from most of the
online printing services, or you can use a design application to
create your cards. Most of the online services also include dimensions
for your artwork if you supply your own vs. using one of their pre-fab
template designs. If you are using artwork that will extend to the
edges, be sure to allow for "bleed" (i.e., extend the artwork beyond
the dimensions of the card so that you won't accidentally get a
white edge if the cutting is slightly off). The services will provide
dimensions for the final/cut card size as well as the "bleed" size,
which will be the full size of the artwork you need to provide including
the extra margin of error.
-- Margaret R. Schindel
Handcrafted Jewelry Designer
Polished & Put-Together
Chestnut Hill, MA USA
The very best way we have found to save money is to pay ourselves
first. That is to say, we put money into savings before we spend
money on anything else besides basic necessities. The first thing
we do at the beginning of each year is write out a budget for all
our basic needs; food, rent/mortgage, gas, utilities. Then we include
all the expected expenses for necessary items, like school, clothes,
toiletries, etc. . We add the basic needs and necessary items and
then determine how much we have to spend and how much we can save
reasonably. The leftovers are added in to cover all the other discretionary
spending like entertainment, vacations, etc. By paying ourselves
first and saving for our future we are taking care of the biggest
stressor in our lives.
Creating a budget at the beginning of the year helps us to see what
our basic needs will be and to know that they will be covered. We
are also excited to see how much money we will be saving, knowing
that is being set aside for our future.
-- Anne Warrington, Gift Website Owner
Gifts By Delivery
When I got involved with the Internet 10 years ago, there was no
way I could afford to hire someone to design a website for me (I
can't afford that now, either!) So what I wound up doing - after
messing around with free website hosts and their web-page building
software - was to pick up a book on HTML and teach myself how to
program a web page. When CSS came along, I did the same thing: found
a book on CSS and taught myself.
Now I am the webmaster and designer of (currently) 8 different sites,
and my only expenses for website design have been the cost of those
two books plus the website hosting fees and domain name registration
(for my own sites - my clients pay for their own). I use a free
text editor to lay out my pages. I did have to pay for a decent
graphics editing program and a scanner, but I had those anyway for
my work as an artist.
-- Jeri Woods, Virtual Assistant
Virtual Secretarial Support
Lacombe, Alberta, Canada
Saving money at my house is very important. I clip coupons and go
to stores that double them. Not only do I save on my grocery bills
but the store I go to offers a special where for every $100 spent
on groceries I get a .10 cent discount per gallon of gas off my
next fill up. In addition, I try to cook as much as possible and
not eat out.
Most Sunday’s I spend the day cooking several meals of various
types. I then make my own Quick Dinners and freeze them in the freezer.
During the week I grab one and take it to work for lunch.
When it is time to run errands I plan where I need to go so I
hit one location after the next. This gets my errands done quickly
without having to spend too much in gas.
-- DaNel Resha, Business Owner
Smyrna, TN USA
I saved upwards of $25,000 last summer, by selectively choosing
which parts of a project to do myself and which parts to hire qualified
help for. We (my teenaged son and I) did a major renovation turning
a plain unheated garage into a studio/shop with heat, electricity
and running water. By hiring out the electrics, plumbing, heating
and drywalling and doing all the rest myself I saved half of the
contractor's quoted price. I also saved the cost of moving a household
from one town to another by driving all our worldly goods over in
my pickup truck 1-2 loads a day for several months.
Admittedly, that is a rather large sum of money, but what did I
lose by doing this? My website was neglected for most of last summer
and fall and contains items that have long since been sold. I produced
no new crafted works for my business and did no shows, generated
little income outside of what came in from internet/website orders
. My inventory and other business data was never brought up to date
and needed a major sorting-out. I ended up exhausted and burnt-out.
So , the next time I have an opportunity to 'save some money' I
think I will pay more attention to what the real cost of the saving
is, because sometimes $25,000 saved, isn't really.
-- Renate Hotchkiss, Business Owner
TidesWell Cottage Artist Studio
Williamsford Ontario, Canada
With two small children in school, snacks and lunches can get pretty
expensive. Our family saves a lot of money by avoiding prepackaged
snacks such as juices, chips, cookies and fruit snacks. You can
literally cut your snack/lunch bill in half by training your children
to take snacks and lunches from home. We buy bulk snacks for our
children to take to school and repackage them in Ziploc bags or
containers. We have one "treat day" a week (usually Fridays) that
the children can buy their snacks and lunches at school so they
don't feel deprived.
-- Vanessa Tucker, Children's Boutique Owner
Little Angels Boutique
King's Point, NL Canada
Our two biggest expenses were mortgage/household and food.
We made the difficult decision to sell our very nice, large turn-of-the-century
charming house in a trendy part of town and buy a 1940’s fixer war box in a
quiet, off-the-beaten-path neighborhood. We went from 3 bathrooms to 1 with a
growing family! The house lacked charm and storage but we put all the cash from
the first house into the new one and swore to only make updates as we could
afford to pay cash. By doing this we not only reduced our environmental
footprint but we have less decorative and other household items to buy, a small
utility bill to heat in the winter and the mortgage is next to nothing. And by
making an extra mortgage payment or two each year we keep our interest payments
over the lifetime of the mortgage very low.
We have managed to reduce our grocery bill substantially by making some changes
that require discipline. Rather than buy very expensive organic vegetables at
the grocers we joined a CSA (community supported agriculture) program. We
receive a weekly box of organic, local, and seasonal fruits and vegetables for
next to nothing. When we get surplus crops like zucchini or cucumbers we make
pickles so we don’t have to buy them at the grocers. We pick wild berries to
make jam. These items double as Christmas and hostess gifts that we no longer
We try to eat minimal processed food like breakfast cereal and crackers,
opting instead to cook oatmeal or other grains or eat home-made granola for
breakfast. We don’t drink soda or eat candy or smoke. We buy a case or two of
young red wine from a local but excellent winery and let half of the bottles age
so we aren’t tempted to buy more expensive older wines throughout the year.
We plan our menu around several seasonal ingredients to reduce waste. This means
one week is Mexican week and I buy chiles and fresh cilantro, black beans, that
50 pack of corn tortillas that you wouldn’t otherwise finish, etc. The next week
might be Italian week and I buy fresh olives and basil, mozzarella balls, etc. I
found that if I was cooking Indian and Mexican in the same week I ended up
throwing out extra fresh herbs or other random ingredients. We buy large cuts of
meat and re-use them in many dishes. A large beef pot roast might become
tomorrow night’s shephard’s pie or burritos or Philly cheese steak sandwiches.
We also plan our weekly menu and make a list before heading to the store. We all
vote to add one thing to the list which we decide on ahead of time. That way we
feel like we get a treat without buying impulse items. That also ends any debate
about candy at the checkout line.
We have formed several types of exchanges with neighbors and friends. We have a
monthly “month of meals” club where we all bring a semi-prepared meal to a
gathering once a month in enough freezable containers for everyone. When you
leave you take home a shopping bag of meals to fill your freezer. These would be
mostly prepared and ready to freeze. Later you simply take them out of the
freezer the night before and bake or grill them, adding last minute touches to
them to make them taste fresh. It is much less expensive to buy enough food to
make 20 – 30 servings of the same item than it is to buy 7 meals for one family,
each meal containing different items. We also have a sitter exchange in our
neighborhood. One night the neighbors go out and my husband or I sit for them.
Another night it is our turn.
We have cancelled all subscriptions, cable TV and long distance phone service
using a calling card instead, use my son’s paintings as wrapping paper and
cards, and only shop for new personal items every other month which cuts down on
impulse personal shopping.
Before I buy large items, I look on free websites and check
www.craigslist.com . We cloth diaper and
These things require a lot of discipline but offer an amazing amount savings.
-- Annette Cottrell, Owner
My best Money Saving Tip is to “Cut up Your Credit Card”. That way
you are not tempted to buy things that you “want”, but are “not
necessary”- things that take you a long time to pay off and cost
you a lot of extra money in interest. I have found that saving up
for items makes you appreciate them more, and makes you think more
carefully about your purchases. There’s nothing like the feeling
of freedom from debt!
-- Margaret E. Dunbar, Artist, Photographer.
Find creative ways to advertise your business at little or no cost.
I have approached non-competing small businesses that I have used
(i.e., the florist who supplied my wedding flowers, the convenience
store just down the road where I sometimes shop, etc.) and asked
if they would let me display one of my products along with a supply
of my business cards.
I found that this generated more new customers for me during the
holiday season than the $400.00 to $600.00 I customarily spent on
advertising in the local newspaper.
-- Elaine McCool, Proprietor
I have several ways to save money.
- I am married to a computer guru, he takes total care of my
computer. Well that is my biggest savings, as I crash my computer
at least once a week.
- I save all those little film canisters, I use them for any
manner of things in the computer room such as saving paper clips,
keeping lead for lead pencils and so forth.
- I also use the canisters when I do my watercolor painting
to keep a little sudsy water in to wash out my brushes. These
little canisters are virtually leak proof.
- I save on gasoline for my car by having my Husband stop and
pick up things on his way home from work, (he drives right past
the various stores) so I don't have to make an extra trip. This
alone has saved us several hundred dollars.
-- Sandy Woods, Owner/CEO
It sounds counter-intuitive, but sometimes the best way to save
money is to spend it. Weigh carefully the pros and cons of hiring
someone to do something you need done before tackling it yourself
"to save money."
For instance, I have a relative who works on cars for a living.
He has offered to fix the brakes on my car for me, for "free:" all
I need do is supply the money for the parts. However, he lives in
another town, so in order to do this "simple job," he'll come visit
for the day, bringing his wife, their kids, and maybe their dog.
- Cost of brake job at the auto shop: $200
- Cost of relatives visiting for the entire day: $550
That's two meals for four extra people, the extra bowl of dog
food, the cost of the brake parts, the extra beer we'll need to
buy and the extra cost for electricity and water during the time
they're here. It does *not* take into account my time lost from
my business, or extra expenses if he breaks something while working
on the car.
My tip: Carefully check all hidden costs for any outside services
jobs, especially the "free" ones.
-- Michelle Hakala, Professional
The Desk Drawer
My household money saving tip involves those dreaded trips to the
grocery store. I recently had the pleasure of grocery shopping without
the company of my nine year old daughter. Not only did I make it
through the store in record time, I also spent a lot less money
than I would have if she had been with me. I had a grocery list,
and stuck to it. Extra items didn't mysteriously appear in the shopping
cart at checkout. While it won't always be possible to shop by myself,
I vow to always have a grocery list to at least limit that mindless
wandering throughout to store.
Next week, I bringing coupons!
-- Teresa Lamb, Owner
Fly By Nite Creations
Seminole, Florida, USA
There are many ways to save money if you're willing to put in time
and effort. One way that I have saved money is by learning HTML.
To get started I borrowed "The Everything" Build Your Own Home Page
Book", and "HTML 4.0 fopr Dummies" from the library. I also searched
for HTML tutorial sites online and went through several of those.
Learning HTML hasn't been easy, but at the same time it hasn't been
as difficult as I thought it would be. Actually, I'm enjoying the
challenge of trying to code correctly - in some ways it's like a
puzzle. Best of all, I have control over my site and save money!
Another way I have saved money is by bartering my products for goods
and services from others. In the past few months I've traded products
for 50% of this year's hosting fees, in exchange for a banner design,
and in trade for some cute pants for my son. Bartering is an especially
effective way for both parties to save money because the items offered
in trade usually have a lower wholesale value than their retail/trade
value, so both parties save.
You can save money on advertising by donating items to charity auctions
and by being active on relevant discussion boards. Most charities
will list your business name as a donor, and some will ask for advertising
materials to distribute. One charity I recently donated to asked
for 200 business cards or brochures to place in "goody bags" for
all attendees. That's cheap advertising!
Some discussion boards will let you put a link to your site in
your signature for free, others charge a small fee for such advertising.
In order to be successful advertising through a discussion board,
you need to take the time to get to know the forum, the people there,
and to be an active member of the community. Most people will be
able to tell if you're just there to sell your site.
Saving money in your business isn't difficult if you open your mind
to new ways of doing things, and are willing to put in time and
-- Amy S. Nogar, Business Owner
Zany Zebra Designs
In our disposable world, I've found that recycling can save a lot
of money. I print out a lot of information, emails etc from the
internet that are of short-term use. I've created a stack of these
so that I can reuse the paper the next time I need to print something
for short-term use. I recycle my printer cartridges by returning
them to Office Max. They give a free ream of paper in exchange for
each cartridge. I haven't bought paper in a long time. Since I'm
in the gifting business, I use lots of pull bows. The strings, that
you pull to make the bow, are put into a box to be used to tie off
the cello on gift baskets -- saves buying curling ribbon for that
I stick a new label on office folders that are no longer needed
as originally intended. Leftover pieces of cello or wrapping paper
go into a drawer to be used to wrap smaller gifts. Funky furniture
is recycled as display pieces in my shop.
In our household, leftovers go into a plastic container in the refrigerator
and are made into a wonderful soup once a week. If I know I'm not
going to make soup that week, they go into the freezer for use later.
With the high price of natural gas, we have installed a timed
thermostat and set it to come on a half hour before we get up and
go off a half hour after we're up. We use a wood stove for the rest
of the day and a down comforter at night. The wood stove is fueled
with wood that we cut and collected during the summer as well as
scrap wood collected, with permission, from the discard bin where
custom homes are being built.
These things don't take a lot of time and only save a few pennies
each. But pennies add up to dollars.
-- Joyce Reid, Gift Shop Owner
Creative Gifts To Go
Having a home-based business in itself has helped us to save
money in many ways. There is no need to get dressed in corporate
attire every morning (easily a savings of $500 per year minimum!);
There is no rush to get out the door therefore eliminating the need
to ever run into a coffee shop for that coffee and muffin breakfast;
We spend less on transportation costs (bus fare, gas) as we remain
in our home for the day.
Our childcare expenses are virtually non-existent, as we have
our children under foot and close supervision as we go about our
daily tasks (a challenge in itself, but that’s another article!).
A few other ways we’ve manage to save money with our home-based
business are by using the business postal account to mail our personal
parcels throughout the year for birthday and holiday gifts going
out of town, and every time our computer needs something new (a
new program, an upgrade) the expense can be written off as a business
expense. In having only one phone line with call display and identity
rings for both personal and business use, we’ve saved money. With
only one phone bill, this is a big savings! If you are unsure as
to whom the caller is, be sure to put on your professional hat and
answer the phone in your business manner.
-- Tamara Champion, Natural Family Boutique Owner
Parenting By Nature
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
There are several ways that I have found to get the most from the
money I spend and to not spend more than I need to for that which
I need in my life. Because I am a single person, buying groceries
in bulk makes absolutely no sense. If it's fresh fruit or vegetables,
it's going to go bad before I can finish it.
On the other hand, certain supplies that I use a lot of I do
buy in bulk - and that nets me a wholesale price instead of retail.
One needs to know when buying in large quantities makes sense and
when it does not.
I gravitate to open software generally under Gnu public license
(or copyleft as they like to say). As two examples, I use free versions
of TreePad (a sort of electronic notebook or organizer of notes
and thoughts) and I use the freeware version of AVG and stinger
for virus control. Of course it helps that I am very careful about
what I download.
For clothing, except my saris and antiques, I hit a particular Good
Will Store on Reisterstown Rd. Not only do they have great prices,
but I've found terrific shoes and clothing there!
-- Patricia C Vener, Artist and Entrepreneur
Silver Dragon Creations
My husband and I always shop for groceries on Sunday morning at
our local super Wal-Mart. This has been a tradition for all the
years we have been married. One of the best money saving tips we
can offer, is to keep a shopping list on the refrigerator.
Every time we find that something is almost gone, whether it's
paper products, frozen vegetables, or cleaning supplies, it gets
listed immediately. Then, of course, the list comes with us, and
we purchase everything on the list. This method has saved us a lot
of money over the years, as we don't have to make quick trips to
the grocery store for those items we forgot to buy - saving us gas,
and keeping us from buying all of those extras that always seem
to find their way into your shopping cart!
-- Sandi Myers, Business Owner
For us packing peanuts are a huge issue. We use a lot of them. Many
of our items are fragile and need to be carefully packed. It is
good business to use new packing supplies, but they were killing
We then found a few different candles stores in the different
malls around that were throwing away their packing peanuts every
week. So we asked them if they would be willing to let us pick up
their peanuts after they receive a shipment. The deal we have with
them requires that we pick up the peanuts the day of the shipment.
We found that they get their candles in boxes that are then packed
into larger boxes surrounded by packing peanuts. We get large amounts
of peanuts that are clean and do not look used at all. This saves
us money in packing supplies and saves them the chore of having
to find a place to get rid of them.
-- Cherish Dudley, Co-Business Owner
Cherish's Country Store
Thompson Falls, Montana, USA
Being a stay-at-home mom I have learned that there are many little
ways to save money that will really add up by the end of the month.
- Make a list throughout the week of any groceries, household
items and office items needed. Then take one trip out and buy
everything. This saves money for gas since you will not always
be rushing out to buy small purchases.
- On the first of the month I take out a set amount of cash
from the ATM and that cash lasts for the next 30 days - no more
multiple ATM fees!
- Buy meats in bulk at you local wholesale store. Bulk meat
is sold at huge discounts plus no more running out for small purchases!
Just separate and package in your freezer when you get home.
-- Andrea Brogle, Business Owner
Bloomingdale, IL, USA
Something I've recently discovered that is sure to save me money,
as well as time and space, is a flash drive. Flash drives are the
tiny (smaller than your index finger) computer storage devices that
plug directly into a computer's USB port. All you do it plug in
a flash drive and move files to it, and then you can take those
files with you anywhere - and access them simply by plugging the
flash drive into any computer's USB port. For around $50-$75, you
can purchase a flash drive with 1GB (gigabyte) of memory. My flash
drive takes the place of several other storage solutions: memory
cards for my digital camera, CDs, extra memory that has to be installed
into a computer, etc. It could even take the place of a laptop for
people who need to be able to bring work home with them - just save
the files, put it in your pocket, then plug it in to the USB port
on your home computer.
I like to save a recent website backup on mine, so that if anything
were to happen to my site, I could easily reload it from any computer
with a USB port and Internet access.
-- Leah Hitchcock Ybarra, Designer and Jewelry Maker
When we send materials to the printers (brochures, postcards, etc)
we put a lot of work into thinking ahead so that we only need to
use the printers once or twice a year. This means that for example
even our Christmas cards may be printed early in the year for the
Also we may create 4 different postcards suited for 4 different
occasions even though we may only need one of the types of cards
at the time of printing.
-- Rikke V. Landi, Business Owner
Ugly Duckli LLC
New York, NY
It all starts at home. We use a lot of organic, all natural, etc.
We always shop the outskirts of the stores first, getting the fresh
food, produce, etc. For fun and easy food items, I’m a member of
a natural food co-op, so I buy in bulk…20lbs of pasta, cases of
mac and cheese, etc. I get all my milk fresh from a local farmer
through a co-op so it ends up being less expensive than the store.
I then make my own yogurt, ice cream and cheese with the milk, which
saves tons of money. I buy all my beef by “splitting” a cow with
several families every few months. If I need something and I know
someone who sells or makes it, I’ll offer to trade them my goods
for theirs. It’s a very common practice in the diaper making world,
but it extends beyond that. I’ve gotten soaps, candies, clothing,
website graphics, etc. More often than not I actually MAKE money
doing this because I get a repeat customer.
Another way to save money is memberships. I’m not talking about
Sam’s Club and Costco (although sometimes those can be great money
savers), I’m thinking about other things where either paying, having
a free membership, or subscribing to a newsletter saves you money.
For instance, there is a local oil change place where you pay $5
for a coupon book and each time you take your car in for an oil
change you save $2 off the change and can get up to two free services
as well. Alternatively I will only buy fabric from stores that have
sent me a discount code and/or are having a sale. I buy direct when
I can and when I cannot, I buy from co-ops. Some memberships are
free trials…so I use them until they expire. One example is auction
stealing websites. If I see a good deal on an item on EBay that
I need, I’ll use a free auction sniper tool to bid for me at the
last minute. It means I sometimes don’t get it, but only because
someone else wanted to pay more for it. In fact, I always check
eBay first for anything I have to buy.
-- Reb Abraham, Business Owner
Reb's Tie Dye
San Antonio, TX
Fire your customers! Wait a minute...what did you say? I said to
FIRE your customers, the non-profitable ones that take up too much
of your time and time is money. I just fired 2/3 of my customers.
Yes it was scary, but after studying how profitable or I should
say non-profitable they were, it was easy.
I'm amazed after only 2 1/2 months how much money and time I have
saved. The obvious, no more rent and extra utilities as I closed
the brick-and-mortar store and moved my business home, to the not
so obvious tons of paper and ink!
The much needed extra time has been focused on attracting profitable
customers who take up little time which in turn bring in more money.
So how am I attracting more profitable customers? Focusing on my
website and SEO techniques! It works!
Janice Dortch, Business Owner
Hickory Ridge Designs
Watching our electric usage is one easy way we can save money. Switch
from standard 60watt electric light bulbs to 14watt compact fluorescent
light bulbs. These light bulbs give out the same light as a 60watt
bulb but only use 14watts of electricity compared to 60watts. The
ones I use, are guaranteed to last 9 years so you save money on
electricity and on replacement bulb costs. I recently purchased
twelve 14watt compact fluorescent light bulbs for less than $5.00
so they are very affordable.
You also need to be aware of phantom loads. Phantom load means that
some appliances actually use electricity when they are not in use!
You know that fancy digital clock your microwave has on it? That
means it uses power even when you don't have the microwave on. The
same will hold true for your VCR / DVD, your stove, etc. To save
money, connect these appliances to a surge protector with a switch
on it & turn them off at the switch when they are not in use.
-- Ellen LaFleche-Christian, Business Owner
Moonlight Creations Jewelry & Gifts
1. Save money on groceries, eye glasses, multi-function printer/copier/fax
and other computers/electronics through specials and weekly coupons
at Costco warehouses. Meats (including choice grade), fresh fruits
(pineapples) and vegetables (asparagus) and baked goods are above
average in quality and lower in price than regular stores. Examples:
in-store-baked chicken pot pies have very large chicken chunks;
muffins are huge. I've spoken to restaurant people who buy items
and ingredients here to resell.
A licensed optometrist and staff dispense prescription glasses at
less than 50% of my regular optometrist's and are made of equal-quality
materials with all the coatings. Employees are especially friendly
and helpful, and are well paid by their employer. Different membership
levels (at a cost) provide rebate checks annually.
2. Save 10% on office supplies using an Office Depot Advantage card
obtained at no cost (not a credit card). Teachers can qualify (at
no charge) for 5% rebates on all purchases at Staples.
3. Some of the lowest prices regularly in computers and electronics
are available at NewEgg.com. Shipping is fast and customer satisfaction
ratings are higher than many other online sellers.
4. Inexpensive identity-theft insurance that includes administration
of "solving the problem" if it happens, can be purchased from Pre-Paid
Legal Services, Inc. Services are provided by well-established law
firms throughout the country. Covered services include a number
of free document reviews. Identity-theft can be a huge drain on
financial and time resources when it occurs.
5. Savings of 50% and more on quality men's clothing can be obtained
regularly during frequent sales at Joseph A. Bank, a nationwide
men's clothier. A no-cost corporate membership insures email notification
of sales and printable coupons.
6. Huge savings on men's and women's designer and quality clothing
can be obtained at many resale shops near affluent neighborhoods.
A fine wool-lined and collared men's trench coat purchased for
$12.00 about 12 years ago still looks good. Cuffs, pockets and the
remaining fabric still appear unworn and fresh after annual cleanings.
The button-hole thread became warn last year. A tailor shop charged
$35.00 for a professional redo. The coat still appears as fine as
a $200.00 new one. My spouse frequently finds beautiful name-brand
and designer-label clothing in like-new condition at the same shops.
-- Spencer Darling
Internet & POS Service Company President
One of my favorite ways to save money is by bartering. When most
people think of bartering they tend to think of one end of the spectrum
or the other: as simple as neighborly farm folk trading a dozen
extra eggs for a sack of corn; or as a complex as some of the commercial
"bartering services" that have sprung up, requiring "memberships,"
extensive "point calculations," etc.
For most of us, something in between is easy, effective, and
can save a LOT of money. For example, my web designer has been paid
entirely in soap and other body products I make. My entire cash
outlay, not counting raw materials, for a multi-page site has been
$36.95 (for name registration and web hosting). There is still much
work to be done on the site but it's up and running, has made me
a considerable amount of money already, and the designer is willing
to continue to work on it to my specifications in exchange for additional
The two things that need to be kept in mind are (1) virtually any
product or service you offer is suitable for bartering; (2) it never
hurts to ask if someone is interested (after all, the worst that
can happen is that they say no!). When I first became a professional
soap and body products maker I was hesitant to approach people to
barter (fear of rejection, I suppose). Luckily, lots of people approached
me, and I now feel perfectly comfortable inquiring if nearly anyone
who has a product or service I need is amenable to a bit of trade.
Virtually everyone I've approached has been thrilled with the idea.
In addition to my website, other recent barters have been for
my daughter's wedding photography, and custom made hiking clothes
for my son. Barters can also be small (I've traded a single bottle
of lotion for a lovely pair of earrings). It all saves money, and
frees up your cash for non- barterables such as the electric bill.
Hmmm... I wonder if someone at the power company might need some
soap or lotion...
-- Olga M. Jones, Business Owner
Garland Road Soap Company
The following are ways I have learned to save money as a work at
home mom of two:
Save ALL clothes and shoes from my oldest son, to pass down to my
youngest (They were born in the same month 2 years apart so this
works out PERFECTLY for us! When one outgrows something, the next
is almost ready to wear it, and the clothes are always in the right
We buy almost ALL store brand foods (we shop at the Super Wal-Mart),
and have found that some of it is even better than the name brand
so that you are only paying for quality not a name!
We grow our own vegetables and hunt for certain types of meat.
We also make our own Alcohol and Soda from scratch
I taught myself how to create my own website and do all of my own
Advertising, Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, ETC through
free online courses and networking with people who were more knowledgeable
in each subject.
-- Jessica Tracy, Business Owner
Hummingbird Gifts & Goodies
Mercer, Maine, USA
We all know that we are supposed to drink a lot of water if we
want to be healthy. We also realize that our tap water is not sufficient
for drinking. Since the most pure form of water is distilled water,
and lugging gallons of water from the store is not only a pain but
also expensive, we purchased a home water distiller.
After hearing stories of some water bottling companies bottling
tap water, we felt relieved to know for sure that we drink water
that is pure because we distill it ourselves. We save 70% over bottled
-- Evie Maddox, Business Owner
For a professional look and to save money on packaging, I use Priority
Mail because they supply various shapes of boxes for no cost. I
also save the packing peanuts from shipments I receive and recycle
them in the packages I ship out.
For postage, I also use the
US Postal Service website to pay for and print postage labels
and then request package pickup from my carrier, saving myself the
time and expense of driving to the post office.
Regarding business mileage, I plan my trips carefully so that I
may combine personal errands with business ones. Perhaps I personally
need something at the store that I'm driving to for business. Maybe
I need to stop somewhere right on the way to a business destination.
Not only is it an efficient use of time, it also save me money because
I don't have to make a separate trip.
-- Angie Cavaiuolo, Bath & Body Company Owner
Handmade Natural Beauty
La Crosse, Wisconsin
I own ONE credit card and it saves me money on travel each year.
My husband and I have been able to fly to Barbados twice ($850 per
person), plus some other small flights within the past 5 years by
earning airline miles with American Airlines. We have a Citibank
MasterCard that we earn points each time we purchase with the card.
I charge everything to the card such as groceries, gas, supplies,
household items, etc. On average I earn about 35,000 points per
year which equals one domestic flight free.
The KEY is to PAY OFF the card balance EVERY MONTH. I do NOT pay
finance charges. That is a waste of money. When I make a purchase
with my card, I simply log that purchase in my checkbook and us
CC as my check number. This way, I do not spend money I don't have
and I am able to pay the entire balance in full when the statement
comes. This tip will help you save money on your travel expenses
when vacationing or visiting loved ones.
-- Kim Bagley, Business Owner
Mom's World Online
We try to find ways to save money that can also save time. My biggest
money/time saver is making sure to save up errands for one day based
on location. I go to the pet supply place, craft store and clothing
store all on the same day because they are all within spitting distance
of each other. The next day I head to the supermarket, shoe store
and hair salon because THEY are close together. The bank, wine shop
and bakery are close, so I save those for Friday! This plan saves
time because I know where everything is and how long it takes to
get there and don't have to shoot back and forth to different areas
and I save money, both on gasoline and because time IS money!
I also will occasionally clip coupons and I wait to purchase certain
items until they go on sale. I research like crazy online for big-ticket
items (TVs, appliances), find the retail price, the best price and
finally the sale price. When buying supplies for my business, I
always buy in bulk, much cheaper, and if I don't use it now, I know
I will find a use for it eventually and will be happy that I don't
have to go out and hunt for the particular item again, only to find
that it's either no longer available or that the price has increased.
Finally, in the summer we grow our own vegetables, which saves us
quite a bit of cash. They also taste better and are more satisfying
because we grow them ourselves. Digging in the dirt also saves our
sanity by getting us away from business for a few hours each week!
-- Carolyn Shea, Designer
SheaShells® SeaShells & Silks
New York, New Jersey
In my country, where small businesses are greatly affected by inflation
and devaluation, we really need to save a lot on our money. These
are the means we employ in order to save on money. One way is to
reduce all our fixed costs. Of the fixed costs we have and maintain,
when we discover a service that has lower maintenance costs, we
change to that service.
Second, we avoid capital expenditures when our working fund is
low. We stick for the meantime to present computer systems, telephone
services, mobile phones, or faxes and make new acquisitions when
our working fund is high again.
Third, as regards our variable costs, we reduce these expenses
as much as we can, so as to prevent the financial erosion of our
working fund. Fourth, and this is what makes the difference, we
seek assistance from our mutually supportive business network, which
need not be financial, and they help us a great deal in things that
often help us save much time and money.
-- Dennis-Emmanuel Cabrera, Website Owner
Catholic Internet Mission
When I got married, my husband and I really struggled with the concept
of finances. He was a saver and I was a spender. Mind you, I didn't
want to generate debt, I just wanted to spend what we had. My philosophy
was, "why save for a rainy day when you don't know that the rainy
day will ever come?" I have come a long way in the last 5 years.
Now that I am at home managing the day-to-day finances of our household
and running a small business, I have changed my position.
I am always looking for ways to save money because if the car
doesn't break down this month, the heat pump will need service.
I have found that the easiest way to save money in my household
finances is to keep track of what I spend. Whenever I come home
with a receipt whether I bought gas, groceries, ate out, went to
the MAC machine or took the dog to the vet, I enter it in a spreadsheet
I have created for that purpose. We have a budgeted amount for every
possible type of expense and this allows me to keep track of what
is going out. When I wasn't doing this, I would sit down at the
end of the month and say, "where did all the money go?!" Now I know!
-- Alicia Staz, Owner/Designer
Dillsburg, PA, USA
I realized fairly quickly that being able to accept credit card
payments was crucial to the success of my online business. I researched
several options. At the time, you were required to have a PayPal
account to make a payment and many people were not interested in
opening a PayPal account. My website is built on the Yahoo shopping
platform and I felt I really needed a way to accept credit cards
that work well on this platform. All of the options I researched
seemed so expensive for the amount of income I currently had. I
finally found Propay. There is a yearly fee but there are no monthly
fees other than small transaction charges similar to PayPal. I chose
this option to help save money while still allowing me to accept
customer orders charged to credit cards. It has been a great option
for me and I was even able to upgrade to a package with a larger
-- Debra Killen, Business Owner
Personalized Gifts and Custom Embroidery
Like many entrepreneurs, I started my online business with a wealth
of enthusiasm, creativity and determination *and* a slim budget.
The best tip I can share is -- Don't pay others for products
or services needed to run a small business. Learn to do things yourself.
1. Clueless about business start up, taxes & accounting?
Check out your local college. Most have a small business development
center that offers seminars on all aspects of running a small business.
In my area, many of the workshops are free. Recent topics include:
The First Step Pre-Business Workshop, Basic Financial Statement
Analysis for Small Retail and Service Businesses, and Basic Recordkeeping
for Small Retail and Service Businesses. And as you become acquainted
with instructors and attendees, these workshops offer a gold mine
for networking opportunities.
2. Need professional product pictures?
My business is strictly online, so having quality pictures of my
products is key. Unfortunately, I had no camera skills and my start-up
budget wouldn't stretch to include the fees of a professional photographer.
But technology is our friend here. I taught myself to use a digital
camera and a photo editor. I found a table top photo studio for
sale on eBay, which allowed me to produce photos that sell my work.
3. Have items or products you use all the time in your business?
Comparison shop and buy in bulk!
Use the internet to find the products you need and compare prices
with local providers. I live in a rural area and do most of my shopping
for components online. eBay is also a source; many of their product
categories have a wholesale section.
Most companies offer a bonuses for buying in bulk, usually with
a sliding scale that saves you more money when you buy over a certain
amount. I had to get over a reluctance to do this. Ordering by the
case, rather than by the each, was a struggle at first. Must be
from a life time of retail shopping!
4. Have no HTML skills, but you need a website?
Find a website provider that offers store templates. With these,
all you need to do is plug in product information and upload pictures.
A user interface that makes it simple to change information, yet
still allows you to maintain control over your website. And if you
have any HTML knowledge, you can go customize the look of your site
and produce a very attractive online store. A Google search of "website
providers" will yield a host of alternatives.
5. Need a business brochure, booklets or business cards?
Take advantage of all the features of Microsoft Word. You can buy
blank business cards and glossy paper and make them yourself. Companies
like Paper Direct offer a range of colorful theme papers and cards
that give your publications a custom, polished look.
6. Groaning and saying you have no time for any of this?
The time investment is worth the savings. And if you budget 30 minutes
out of your day to research or learn new skills, you'll be surprised
how quickly that skill is learn
Ruth Ellen Kostic, Owner & Artisan
The Crystal Cloister
For me and my family of seven, the biggest monthly money saver
is planning a weekly menu and creating a shopping list from this.
Because the grocery bill is one of our biggest variable expenses,
I know that it is one that can be managed and controlled.
I have found that by creating a shopping list from my menu I
can really reduce my grocery bill. I try to create my menus with
my grocery bill in mind. For breakfast, it's a lot cheaper to feed
my family pancakes and eggs than it is cold cereal. My husband makes
a big bowl of pancake batter that will last two or three days. The
total cost for that is probably around $2.00. I can get an 18 count
carton of eggs for $1.49 and this will last us one week. Of course,
milk is the most expensive item, but because we're aren't using
it in seven bowls of cereal, it lasts much longer.
For dinner I try to use chicken twice per week, beef twice per week
and a meatless meal one or two times per week. Every other weekend
we order pizza or eat out, and weekends are also good for leftovers.
I've been doing this for the past couple of years so now I know
what my family likes and can pretty much predict what our grocery
bill is going to be every month. I do try to keep a little extra
money budgeted in our grocery bill for when meat or other items
go on sale. Then I can go and stock up.
-- Shannon Jarvies, Broker
Consolidation Debt Free
Link to Frugal Money Saving Tips
Business Owners Share Money Saving Tips
If you feel that this article, has been helpful to you and that
it may also be beneficial to others, please consider adding it as
a resource link on your website or blog!
Link to Frugal Money Saving Tips
Frugal Money Saving Tips
The information contained in this article is not a substitute
for professional advice you would receive from an accountant, attorney,
or qualified tax preparer. The information is offered in good faith;
you do not have to use this information. Any decisions you make,
and their consequences, are your own.
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