When you are preparing to equip a home office, there are many things to consider. Here are a few ideas that will help you as you buy home office supplies:
- Assess your needs. Do you need everything from a desk all the way to paper clips, or are you just in the market for a good deal on computer paper and printer cartridges? Depending on your needs, you may be able to get all that you need at your local office supply store. If you need an office overhaul, however, you'd be wise to put some thought into your purchases.
- For a large project, be sure to start with a budget. There are some things to consider when deciding on how much to spend. The first, of course, is simply figuring out how much you can afford. You should only spend what you can afford, whether or not you'd like to throw caution to the wind. Once you've got a dollar figure in mind, you must prioritize your purchases. Again, there are some considerations. Is your home office going to be for your use only, or will you be seeing clients there? If you will be the only one in the office, the atmosphere is less important, but if you are setting up a place in which you'll do business with potential customers, you want to be sure to present a professional appearance.
- If you are adding office furniture, be sure to take note of your room measurements so that you buy pieces that will work with your existing space. Visualize where you plan to place the desk, file cabinet, copier, and any other equipment that you will need. Write down the maximum dimensions that these items can be.
- Make a list and check it twice. Try to include everything that you need, even the small stuff. Once you have a complete list, you'll want to shop around to see that you find the best prices.
- Large office "e-tailers" often offer free shipping with a minimum order (typically only $50). Take advantage of low and no-cost conveniences.
- For items that you will be restocking on an ongoing basis (paper, pens, staples, tape, etc.), try a warehouse store. Although you may have to purchase a larger quantity (a full case of computer paper or pens by the dozen), the unit price on these items is often considerably cheaper than at small office supply stores.
- Check your local newspaper for bargains. Sometimes, when a business closes down, they sell their office furniture and electronics at very low prices. Also check garage sales, moving sales, and estate sales. You just might come across a beautiful, antique desk for the price of a new, but lower quality piece.
- Online sources shouldn't be underestimated. Go to your favorite search engine and type in "office supplies" along with the name of the nearest large city near you. If you are willing to look at used office furniture and supplies, type in "used office furniture" and "refurbished electronics." Companies that sell refurbished electronics will usually include a short-term warranty.
- If you are in the market for a new office computer, try not to get too carried away. Computer technology has advanced by such leaps and bounds in recent years that the top of the line (expensive!) computer is likely to be way more than you need. Often, one of the bargain-priced, low-end models is more than enough to do all of your office tasks. Remember, today's top of the line model will be tomorrow's bargain.