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 â‚¬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.