When I need to procure anything for business- supplies, postage, travel, etc- I look to fill that need and do some good with the money at the same time. Here are a few things you should consider doing around the office, small changes that have big impacts.
1. Buy Postage Stamps from Island Post Offices
Here in Maine, our small post offices are endangered. Sure, they don’t have a terribly huge amount of mail running through them, but they’re important to the communities on these islands. The Island Institute has this great form you can fill out for your next order of stamps. I’ve visited some of these small outposts, and I have to say, they’re really great and deserving of your support.
2. Develop a Relationship with Your Local Office Supply Dealer
In Portland, ME there’s Wigon Office Supply. In Portsmouth, NH there’s Hoyt’s Office Products. In your town, I bet you’ve got one of these creaky-floored, lovingly-maintained office supply joints. They order from the same exact catalogs that the bigwigs order from, and you can get everything you’d ever need in about 24 hours lead time. Furniture takes a little longer, but that’s no big deal. Stay with them for a little while and most likely they’ll extend you a 20% or more discount on your office supplies.
I used to call my gal up at a small place in Dover, NH back when they were an independent. Every time I moved to a new office, they’d extend me the discount at that new spot, too. The best part? I could call her for anything I needed, saying something like, “I need 300 envelopes that fit something with x, y, z dimensions but I can’t find it in the catalog.” She’d do the research, often pulling up some sale-priced thing that fit the bill and saved us tons. Relationships rule. The sale means the world to them, the service will mean the world to you.
3. Join the National Association of Railroad Passengers
NARP gets you cheaper tickets and gives you the opportunity to help rail. Amtrak provides convenient service between east coast cities in my experience. The service will only get better if we patronize Amtrak. No checked bags, no crazy fees everywhere, no weight limit to your bags, no creepy screening. GO RAIL!
4. Stop Buying Pink Crap
Please pardon this one negative item. Don’t buy that silly pink line of office products that says they’re helping to raise money for researching a cure to one of the plagues of our times. They’re not, here’s a little bit about why. A donation cup as you enter your office or perhaps a coworker team for the next interesting walk/run/bike event is better.
5. Consider Used, Rather than New, Office Furniture
So sweet on the bottom line and recycling in action. There are lots of showrooms that sell used office furniture, and sometimes you can snag a previously loved Herman Miller chair or a whole suite of matching pieces. You’ll save money and avoid throwing out more packaging into a landfill somewhere. Search it up- “used office furniture” plus your town’s name. Maybe try searching under chapter 11 clearing houses, too.
Well I hope these were helpful. I’d love to hear your tips, too!