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How a Deal-Savvy Office Manager Saved a Deal-Savvy Company Thousands
Small changes can have a big impact, especially when you’re buying for your business. The tips below are easy to implement, but they can make a big difference in your bottom line.
Before we really get into things, you should know a bit about my deal-savvy background. I’ve been a couponing shopaholic focused on finding the best deals on the web since way back, even prior to working at Slickdeals. I have absolutely no shame walking into a CVS Pharmacy with stacks of CVS ExtraBucks, discounted CVS gift cards and a bag full of coupons clipped from the Sunday LA Times. I don’t even read the Sunday paper! I only subscribe to them for the coupon inserts.
Through a referral, I landed a coveted job as the Slickdeals office manager -- even though I almost threw up on the office’s new polished concrete floor during the two-hour long interview (see my Tweet below… which was also a bad move since my boss found out about it upon hiring.) I think it’s safe to say I’ve made up for it since.
What does the Office Manager position entail? As with many techie startups, it means keeping a kitchen stocked with the most awesome snacks and beverages. And when any savory item hits the Slickdeals’ frontpage, you can bet that I’ll have it signed, sealed and delivered to the office; same for office supplies, cleaning supplies, etc. If there’s a Bounty paper towel or a Lysol wipe deal, I always stock up for the office.
— L T P (@LyndziTrang) April 12, 2014
Buying in Bulk
Amazon, Costco Business Delivery and Boxed.com are my go-to stores for our fresh groceries, while Kohl's, Target and Office Depot have surprisingly killer deals on K-Cups -- especially since they often have coupons or gift card-with-purchase offers, most of which are stackable. When getting a gift card with purchase, I try to find other deals that also offer gift cards with purchase and apply previous gift cards earned. It’s an endless, vicious and frugal cycle that saves us a ton of money.
Amazon is really handy due to Prime and their Subscribe and Save program. If you subscribe to five or more items, you get an additional 15% off your subscribed items. Having heavy cases of drinks delivered directly to your door at the same time every month is super convenient, and you can easily skip or delay your subscriptions if you have too many on hand. Amazon also offers coupons in the Grocery and Gourmet department. You can get select grocery items for up to 35% off.
Costco Business Delivery is a great source for the bulk basics: fresh produce, milk, eggs, bread and deli meat. Their free shipping threshold is only $250, and for a staff of 30, it’s pretty easy to meet the minimum each week. They also carry some unique snacks that our office is obsessed with, such as seasoned seaweed strips, guacamole and hummus snack-sized pods.
During the spring and summer, our office gets enough natural light that we don’t even have the lights on. Our kitchen and breakroom have light sensors, so when someone walks through the space, the lights will automatically turn on.
Our office also has a filtered water spout at the kitchen sink, which I switch out every quarter for $80.
For Earth Day 2015, we had custom Slickdeals branded Contigo water bottles made to encourage our employees to drink water from the filter rather than plow through bottled water. We switched to carrying Kirkland Signature bottled water (mainly for guests) that only costs $4 for a 40-count case.
The outcome: Since receiving our Contigo water bottles, our consumption of bottled water has dropped tremendously. In April 2015, we ordered 330 bottles of water for the office; and in May 2015, the Slickdeals office only ordered 96 bottles. That’s 70% fewer bottles!
Office Celebrations and Events
For birthday and party office decorations, the Dollar Tree and 99 Cents Only stores are my jam! I make sure to buy office decorations that are multipurpose. For example, patriotic decorations can be used for Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Olympics/world sports viewing parties. Our office caters monthly lunches, and I usually cater through services such as LABite or ezCater. What I like about ezCater is that each catering order racks up points that can be credited toward your next catering event. You can even convert these points to Amazon gift cards and cycle these through to office supplies and snacks.
Every quarter, our office hosts an auction of items that have been given to us from our partners, as well as one-time use items from events, or used office equipment that we had replaced. Slickdeals was one of the early adopters of having a hoverboard in the office. While we had a ton of fun whipping donuts in the office, we didn’t want to start an office fire, so we auctioned it to one of our employees for $50. We used the auction proceeds to buy more fun activities for the office, such as board games and company happy hours.
Office activities and team-building events don’t have to be expensive. You can find plenty of discounted gift cards on Slickdeals to buy movie tickets, restaurant deals, etc. Last year, a new mobile app called Gametime offered a $10-off promo code to new users on their first ticket purchase. Our office took advantage of the offer and applied it to nosebleed Dodger tickets that were only $9 -- so essentially, they were FREE tickets. We took the subway to the game ($1.75 each way per person) and comped everyone’s dirty hotdogs and sodas. It was a great experience for very little cost.
We also take advantage of the many hiking trails near our office. It’s a fun, free activity that gets you out of the office, and encourages health and fitness among colleagues.
Slickdeals has saved consumers $4 billion since 1999, and I think it’s safe to say that I have saved this office thousands. If you’re a business owner or office manager, you could be saving too. All you have to do is get started and be creative. The money saved means more profit for you and the business. Coming up with ways to cut your office budget might get you on the boss's good side, but thinking of ways to go green while trimming costs? That's just good business.
Any product or service prices/offers that appear in this article are accurate at time of publish, and are subject to change without notice. Please verify the actual selling price and offer details on the merchant’s site before making a purchase.