Your Frugal House: Five Ways to Save Money in the Home Office

by Kelly · 11 comments

in A Frugal Home,Series

This is the fifth in a five part series entitled ‘Your Frugal House: Five Ways to Save Money in the…’. We have looked at five different areas of the house and at five different ways to save money in each area. I hope you have enjoyed this series and found some frugal ideas!

1. Use a laptop

Energy savings can be up to 80% if you use a laptop computer instead of a desktop. And if you spend even an average amount of time on the internet (for say writing your blog on frugality, for example) those savings can quickly add up. Laptops are now quite affordable, comparable to desktops in price. Not to mention that they’re portable, so your home office can be found in the middle of your bed if you wish. Unplugging the computer and peripherals will reduce costs and consumption even more.

2. Don’t use the printer

In fact, it’s best if you just get rid of it. We haven’t had a printer for at least four years. When our old one died, we were reluctant to replace it for a combination of reasons: lack of space and the expense of buying ink cartridges. I can’t say that we miss it. There are very few documents that we have to print out, compared to what you might think, and those are either printed by my husband at work (with his boss’ approval) or I print them at the local copy shop. We now print an average of two pages a month, and not having a printer saves us €30 a month, on average.

3. Reuse paper

OK, so those refrigerator magnet notepads are awfully cute, and the refillable system at the back of your handbag organizer is just begging to be refilled, but these things cost money. And the back of your phone bill is free! No, don’t use your phone bill, you should hang on to that for at least three years, but you can use the back of paper that’s already been written on.

Here’s a way to make those photocopies practical as well as economical.  Cut 8.5 x 11 sheets into four pieces. Once you have a stack of papers your desired thickness, then dip or paint one of the shorter edges into white glue.  Once there is a nice thick coating put it aside to dry. Voila! Instant notepad!

4. Repurpose material from elsewhere

Looking for a trashcan for your office? Don’t buy one, try using a basket, or a large coffee can covered in decorated paper instead. After all, most office trash is fairly clean. I have a friend who uses a beautifully decorated flowerpot as her office waste bin. Clean glass jars can be used to hold paperclips or pens; cardboard boxes of different sizes can be used as drawer dividers.

As far as seating goes, office chairs can cost an arm and a leg (a-hem). I have found that an armchair is much more comfortable than a classic rolling desk chair. Not to mention that at a hardware store you can buy rolling casters to attach to the feet… and with a little bit of work, you now have a super comfy rolling deskchair.

5. Schedule your time

Using your time wisely and well means that you require less time to accomplish a task, giving you more time for other things. Scheduling your time can help you accomplish this goal. When I set my daily schedule, I try to think about when I am most productive, and when I am most likely to do more chore-like activities. For example I am writing this blog post late at night. I have had all day to worry it over in my head and by the time I actually sit down to write it (in bed on my laptop) it practically writes itself.

On the other hand, while I’m on autopilot and waiting for the coffee to brew in the morning is when I am most likely to do simple household tasks like unloading the dishwasher, so I save those duties for before I’m fully awake.

What are your frugal tips for the home office? Share them with us in the comments! And thank you for following this series.

Previous Installments

  1. Your Frugal House: Five Ways to Save Money in the Kitchen
  2. Your Frugal House: Five Ways to Save Money in the Bedroom
  3. Your Frugal House: Five Ways to Save Money in the Bathroom
  4. Your Frugal House: Five Ways to Save Money in the Living Room


1 Meegan August 22, 2008

Thanks for the series Kelly. I’m kind of sad that it’s finished! I think I’ve taken at least one thing out of each of the five parts and that makes it a worthwhile read and perhaps re-read for me.

As always, looking forward to your next installment of Almost Frugal :o)

Meegan’s last blog post..A new way to shop for gifts online

2 Denise August 22, 2008

oh yes, our printer has been without ink for at least a year. Funny, we have managed without it for sure. I have also been using glass jars that I picked up at a garage sale for many different uses. Good Series!

Denise’s last blog post..gathering…little by little

3 Wendy August 22, 2008

Thank-you for this series of useful tips! I was curious as to why you keep your phone bills for three years? I currently keep most bill statements for a year before shredding them. I would appreciate the advice!

4 Kelly August 22, 2008

In France it’s recommended to keep phone bills for three years. I’ve read that you should keep phone bills for five to seven years, but that seems a bit extreme to me. Some people say that you need to only keep them until the next one arrives, but that doesn’t work for me either!

5 Jennifer August 22, 2008

Great ideas! Thanks!

6 penguinlady August 22, 2008

I’m a big fan of using glass jars for other purposes. I painted the inside of a glass salsa jar and use it in my kitchen to hold small trash (tea bags, plastic tags, the end you pull off to open a bag of grated cheese). I glued fabric on another that holds random change. Altoid tins are another favorite re-tasker; they’re great for keeping paperclips and jewelry.

7 Uncommonadvice August 22, 2008

There are tow office items that you should never buy: elastic bands and paper clips. Just make sure that whenever you come across one of these items you slip it into your drawer and save it for a rainy day. You’ll soon find that you have an office full of them.

Uncommonadvice’s last blog post..Increase the chances of your property selling by 100%

8 Sara AKA "Deal& August 23, 2008

So I gave you an award because I love your blog so much… come here to see it!

9 Miss Thrifty August 23, 2008

I agree re. the laptop – I think that new laptops are pretty pricey though!

This week I posted the final part of a two-parter on thrifty shopping for a new laptop:

Miss Thrifty’s last blog post..FRIDAY BARGAINS: Hot Fuzz

10 Lucie August 23, 2008

I made the notepad last night out of some old paperwork I needed to get rid of and it worked great!

Lucie’s last blog post..When Do You Become a Family?

11 Wendy August 23, 2008


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