Pens, paper, paper clips, and pencils. Though they do not cost a lot individually, they are items you buy repeatedly and use in large quantities-especially if you have children in school, homeschool, or have a home-based business-which means there is potential for huge savings. For instance, if you add up the amount of paper you use in a month, a 50¢ difference between the name-brand and generic brand may save you $50 or more per year. That is why it is especially important to examine these expenses regularly and to keep looking for cheaper sources. A few tips to save:
phone: (800) 788-8080
fax: (800) 995-9644
web site: Officemax.com
Shipping & Handling: Free next-business-day delivery within delivery area with a minimum order of $50. Under $50, costs $12 to ship. Delivery area determined by proximity to stores.
Penny Wise Office Products
phone: (800) 942-3311
fax: (800) 622-4411
web site: none listed. Have your modem dial (800) 752-3012.
Shipping & Handling: Free delivery within the continental US on orders over $25-a significantly lower minimum than most mail-order companies.
Comments: With the sales flyer, I received a coupon for $5 off my first order of $25 or more. If you order via computer, you can take an additional 3 percent off of the price. There is a $25 minimum order. One advantage of Penny Wise is that you do not need to buy in as large of quantities as you do with most mail-order office supply companies.
phone: (800) 789-8965
fax: (800) 789-8955
Shipping & Handling: Free on most orders over $45 in the contiguous 48 states. Quill charges a $2.50 small order processing charge for orders under $20.
Comments: I received a coupon for 20 percent off my first order. And Quill advertises several special sales. For instance, if you buy 12 rolls of Scotch tape for $16.68, you get a 5-pack of colored Post-it Notes for free. (The Penny Wise catalog lists those 2 items at a total of $19.13-a savings of $5.29.) Quill has its own line of office supplies that are guaranteed and cheaper than the name-brand. With my first order I received several samples of Quill brand supplies and I was pleased with them.
phone: (800) 333-3330
fax: (800) 333-3199
web site: Staples.com
Shipping & Handling: Free on orders of $25 or more ($2.83 on orders less than $25).
Wholesale Supply Company
phone: (800) 962-9162
fax: (800) 962-4FAX
Shipping & Handling: You pay. There is a minimum $25 order.
Comments: The catalog is illustrated completely in black and white drawings so you have to look closely at the products to ensure you are ordering the right color and size. The prices, though, are clearly displayed. Some of the products are listed as "Name Brand," but the brand will vary based on the market price at the time of your order.
10. Maintain a catalog library. Once you have sent for all of the mail-order office supply catalogs, keep them on hand. This is an easy way to compare prices quickly. Toss the old ones as new ones arrive.
Office supplies is an area in which foresight yields substantial savings. Don't overlook where you can save a few dollars or cents-it adds up quickly!
Kathryn Tyler, M.A. is a freelance writer and co-author (with Jay Conrad Levinson) of Guerrilla Saving: Secrets for Keeping Profits in Your Home-Based Business (John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 2000; $19.95). Kathryn and Jay interviewed 64 experts and home-based businesspeople for the book, including Gary Foreman, editor of The Dollar Stretcher. To order copies of the book, contact the publisher at 800-225-5945 ext. 2497. Excerpts are available on Kathryn's website at Kathryntyler.com.
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