Recession Survival Tactics – Economizing

Part 4 of a 6 Part Recession Survival Series

I live in a double wide mobile home. I do not plan to move any time soon. Why? Because in 9 months, it will be paid for. The house payment even now is low. The house meets our needs, houses our business, and does not interfere with our ability to succeed. Since our business is conducted on the phone, by email, or in person in other locations, it does not harm our business success. It allows us to reduce our operating expenses considerably.

When looking at where to economize, you want to make sure that the economies do not harm your ability to effectively conduct business. If we held appointments in our home, we’d have to have a better house. The point being, use what works for your business.

Here are some ideas, in no particular order:

1. Refill ink cartridges. This works great for color ink, for some printers. It does NOT work well for black ink, the refill ink tends to bleed and feather.
2. Buy in bulk where you can. Share purchases with another business owner if you need to.
3. Recycle shipping boxes and materials. Make it a badge of honor by creating a 3X4 label that says, “This box proudly recycled by (company name.”
4. Use flat rate long distance. Try Qwest for Small Business. Only use internet phone service if it is good quality with your connection.
5. Make sure your website is functioning in all the ways it can to save you money.
6. Review all of your utilities and see if there are ways to cut them. A little caulk or weatherstripping can save on energy bills.
7. Consolidate business travel. Keep trips to a minimum. Tell clients that you are combining appointments to conserve energy. They’ll get it.
8. Stock up on closeouts and sales of items you regularly need.
9. Look for alternatives for your most expensive supplies.
10. Buy more RAM for a slow computer, instead of getting a new computer. Get a pro to help you clean up the hard drive, trim down unneeded programs, or scan for malware.
11. Postpone haircuts for 1-2 weeks longer. Wear just a little less makeup. Use a dollop less shampoo. Wear pants an extra day before washing. All of these things reflect on business, even though they aren’t precisely business expenses, but they can often be nudged a bit without causing negative effects.
12. Go paperless as often as possible. You’ll save on paper and ink.
13. Look for Free and Open Source software first – There is a ton of really good free stuff out there, for basic business purposes, and specialized purposes. Try Open Office, NotesBrowser, Serif PagePlus, The GIMP, Inkscape, Scribus, Audacity, CamStudio, and much more.
14. Look for bootstrap options instead of debt. Debt places a burden on you each month, bootstrapping gets you profiting faster, by work and workarounds. As business grows, you can move from bootstrapping to a healthier cash flow based on revenues instead of debt.
15. Invest in things with reasonable assurances of returns. Don’t gamble, and throw away money in the hopes that it will yield a high return. This goes for marketing, buying more computer or web services than you need, and other business purchases.
16. Set up a support forum – you can reduce support costs this way, because even though you have to answer a lot of questions there, the answers benefit more than one person. Other users will come in and help you also.
17. Review your internet connection. Too slow a connection can cost some businesses more than the price of an upgrade. Faster speed for others mean only minimal compromises that do not harm productivity. Analyze your needs, and adjust your plan accordingly.
18. Save money in your home. If you can live on less, you can survive tough times better in your business. Our best advice for saving on groceries? Use your crock pot. Soups, casseroles, and roasted meals are easy to prepare, just a few minutes tossing ingredients in the pot, and you’ll have dinner 8 hours later. Combined with a bread machine, a crock pot can be a means of avoiding fast food and quick fix purchases. Since dinner can cook while you work, you save time, and avoid impulse purchases.

Look at your business with new eyes. Where can you find alternatives, cut waste, save pennies, and compromise without killing the essence?

Keep what truly matters. Take the cuts where they are less important.

Grow a Garden!

Gardening doesn't have to be that hard! No matter where you live, no matter how difficult your circumstances, you CAN grow a successful garden.

Life from the Garden: Grow Your Own Food Anywhere Practical and low cost options for container gardening, sprouting, small yards, edible landscaping, winter gardening, shady yards, and help for people who are getting started too late. Plenty of tips to simplify, save on work and expense.