7 Tips for Cutting Business Expenses
Whenever I suggest a new program or service to a client, the first thing they ask is, “How much is it going to cost?”
As a small business owner myself, I completely understand. Cost is one of the first things I consider when evaluating business tools.
The second thing I look for is a discount! I am always searching for ways my clients and I can save money on subscription costs, office supplies, shipping fees, etc.
Here are 7 techniques I’ve found to help business owners cut their expenses by saving money, finding discounts, and earning cash back:
1. Get the Annual Subscription Discount
Whenever you sign up for a new service, such as Zoom, Zapier, Quickbooks, etc., chances are you’ll have the option to pay monthly or annually.
For example, Zapier currently offers their Starter plan for $29.99 per month if you pay monthly, or $19.99 per month if you pay annually. This is a savings of $120 per year if you choose the one-time annual payment over the monthly payment.
That being said, I recommend utilizing a trial period or paying for one month of service before committing to a full year. This allows you to test out the program and make sure it fits your needs so you don’t end up wasting money.
2. Earn Cash Back or Points for Online Shopping
When you shop online, you may have the opportunity to earn cash back or bonus points through an online marketplace, such as Rakuten, Shop through Chase®, etc.
These online marketplaces can be standalone like Rakuten, or tied to a credit card or travel company. They will offer you a certain percentage of money back, additional airline miles, or bonus credit card points, for using their referral link to place your online order.
Let’s say you wanted to order more pens and paper from Staples. Instead of going directly to the Staples website, you would visit the Rakuten website first, and then search for the store at which you’d like to shop.
If the company is partnered with Rakuten, you’ll see their name listed, along with the percentage of cashback they’re offering. Click on the “Shop Now” button (aka their referral link) and you’ll be taken directly to the Staples website to complete your purchase as you normally would.
Once Rakuten verifies the purchase was complete, you’ll see the cashback deposited into your Rakuten account - easy as that!
3. Earn Cash Back on eGift Cards
Similar to using a marketplace for online shopping, there are also some online marketplaces that offer cash back on gift card purchases.
The two marketplaces I use are Ibotta, a cell phone app that has a “Gift Cards” cash back category, and Rakuten, which has its “Rakuten Gift Card Shop.”
Both of these are great ways to get a little something back when you’re rewarding an employee, thanking a client, or buying a gift card for yourself to make a future purchase.
4. Get a Discount on USPS Shipping
For almost anything larger than a postage stamp, PirateShip is a free website that can save you money on shipping fees with the United States Postal Service.
There are no strings attached, no minimum shipping requirements, and no monthly fees.
You simply create a free account on their website, type in the information about your package or envelope and where it’s going, and it will show you options (if available) for different prices and shipping times.
Whether it’s one Priority Flat-Rate package, or you want to import all of your Etsy store orders, PirateShip can offer you a discounted rate on your shipping costs.
Plus, you can pay for and print the postage/shipping label from home and drop it in the mail. They can even send your recipient an email with the tracking number to let them know the package is coming.
5. Use Your Association and Membership Discounts
If you’re a member of a group or part of any professional association, check to see if they offer any member discounts.
For instance, as part of the California Bar Association, lawyers can access discounts on payment processing programs, legal software, and insurance, as well as things like hotels and rental cars.
A few other places that offer personal and professional discounts include AAA, Greek Life, and Costco, but these are just a few I know about, not an exhaustive list. It never hurts to log into your membership or association website and take a look around.
6. Look for Coupons and Promotions
Almost all companies will offer promotions and discounts from time to time. Whether it’s a new product launch or a Black Friday sale, it can be a great opportunity to save big money.
For example, Wix offers a 50% discount on new premium website subscriptions for a few days every week. Whenever a client is about to start a new subscription, I always make sure it’s during one of Wix’s promotional periods so they save the most money.
To make sure you’re notified about these types of deals and discounts, join the company’s email list and/or follow them on social media. This is how they most often market their promotions and make announcements to their audiences.
7. Join Loyalty or Rewards Programs
Last but not least, I always encourage you to sign up for a company’s loyalty or rewards program if you plan on shopping with them often.
At Best Buy, their rewards program allows you to earn points on each purchase, which can add up towards Best Buy rewards certificates.
If you do a lot of printing and/or ink purchasing, you’ll love the Staples rewards program. They offer you a percentage back in Staples Rewards on all ink purchases, plus a $2.00 reward for each ink cartridge you recycle (limits apply).
Nearly all loyalty and rewards programs are free to join and can usually be done online, so for places where you spend a lot of money, these programs are definitely worth looking into.
Be sure to bookmark this post because these tips for saving money, finding discounts, and earning cash back can be used any time you are considering a new service, program, or expense for your business - all with minimal effort on your part!
Have you used any of these tips before? Do you have any others to share? I would love to hear from you in the comments below.
If you would like help assessing potential new products and services or reviewing your expenses and seeing where you have opportunities to save money, please schedule a free consultation.
Please note, some of the links in this article may be referral links, which means I may earn a little something if you use one.