Saving Money in the Office

Want to put some extra money in your pocket? As Benjamin Franklin said, “a penny saved is a penny earned.” In these tough economic times it behooves us all to look at what we are spending money on and cut back where appropriate. Not only will that help the bottom line, but it will free up some of the cash you may need for areas that need bolstering such as web marketing, employee benefits, or computer service.

To that end here are nine simple things that will cost you little or nothing that can net you some significant returns in the long run.

  1. Cleaning – What does cleaning have to do with saving money? Other than age and power surges, the biggest killer of computers and printers that I have seen is heat. That heat is caused by the ventilation being blocked by dust, pet hair, or other debris. Once every few months take the time to make sure the fans and vents on your computer, monitor, and printer are unobstructed. If you keep your equipment clean it will run cooler and therefor last longer. And the longer it lasts the less often you have to pay to replace it – or pay for someone like me to come fix it.
  2. Faxing – Not sure if you want to buy a fax machine or replace that old one? Well don’t! Most companies are using email not fax these days, and those that aren’t should be. Not only are emails easier to keep track of but they save time and paper. But what if you need to send a fax? Go down to your local office supply store and they will charge you a small sum to send it, or you could just do it from your computer. Online services like FaxZero.com will let you send small faxes for free and longer faxes for a minimal fee. So there is absolutely no reason to have that expensive fax machine sitting around gobbling up power.
  3. Electricity – And while we are talking about power, let’s talk about all those cell phone chargers, sleeping printers, and other dormant equipment you have around. Each of those devices is drawing current even when you are not using it. How can you tell? Is the little light on? Are they warm? Is that power brick humming? Then it is drawing power. If you aren’t going to be using the device for a while, then unplug it entirely. Or just plug them into a power strip and turn that single power strip switch off. Not only will you be saving electricity, but you will be adding extra insurance against power surges and voltage shocks.
  4. Upgrading Software – About to upgrade to the newest version of Microsoft Office? Ask yourself, “Why?” If the current version is serving you fine now, what feature is it that you are paying for? If it is just to get compatibility with the new file formats, consider downloading the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats. With it you can open, edit and save documents, workbooks and presentations in the file formats new to Microsoft Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint 2007. With other software, ask the same questions – “why am I upgrading this” and “is there a free update or patch that will let me do most of those same things?”
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Microsoft Vista and Office 2007

Ok, lots of questions asked about these two products. The basic answer is that they are both good but not overwhelming. There is nothing wrong with either one of them. Both work just fine. And there lies the problem. The are “good”, “ok”, “fine”. They are not “amazing”, “revolutionary”, “compelling”, or even “must-haves”. At the moment at least, there is nothing that you can do with either of these products that you can’t do right now. Maybe the new software will allow you to do it in a different manner or with a prettier interface, but you can do it none-the-less.

Which then begs the question of why should you shift? If you are buying a new computer or have a way to get a free upgrade, then it is always cool to have the latest and greatest. But if you have a machine that is working just fine now and you would have to shell out your own hard earned money for that upgrade, there really is no reason to do so.

This is what most reviewers, businesses, and consumers all think. And besides, who wants the first iteration of a software release anyway?