Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Jan 7 2013 15:27:26

Don't Steal Your Daughter's Stapler to Save Money

By: Ina Steiner

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FedEx is running a funny ad to remind businesses they can save money using its shipping services. The ad is a twist on Dilbert-style "stealing office supplies" - Mom catches Dad as he's running out to work with their daughter's pink stapler and other supplies in his pocket so he can save his business money.

FedEx tweeted a link to the ad, called "Caught," and asked followers, "tell us your craziest ways to save."

For online sellers in particular, saving even a small amount on postage for each package sent can add up to big savings, whether it's FedEx or another carrier. And there are other ways to save money.

Sometimes it's even worth thinking of ways to spend money to save money. If you can make more money on product-sourcing, listing or marketing activities than on other more mundane tasks, it may make sense to hire an assistant or outsource some of your tasks.

Small business owners are pulling together 2012 numbers now to send to accountants for tax time - do you spend some time reviewing your expenses looking for ways to save money?

Share with us the ways you save money, including your "craziest ways to save," and any favorite videos you've seen targeting online sellers and small businesses.




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Don't Steal Your Daughter's Stapler to Save Money   Don't Steal Your Daughter's Stapler to Save Money

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Mon Jan 7 19:18:07 2013

Gotta laugh.

It is a big goofy world.

The spectrum runs from the anal-retentive to the air-head.

If you are prosperous with your procedures & methodology and are satisfied - who gives a hoot?

Then again, if you are on the lookout for improvement, the posts following should be enlightening.

"Out of the fog, into the smog"
Nick Danger, circa 1969

Peace, love & Cherry Garcia,
Al G

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This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Mon Jan 7 19:20:39 2013

PS.
I've spent half an hour trying to trim down 1 Oz of weight to save on shipping.

And said "no way", just get it done quick.

Bi-polar: see Great Northern Railway electric locomotives.

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Mon Jan 7 21:54:50 2013

How to save: recycle, recycle, recycle. I save every box, every piece of bubble wrap, every "peanut." I try to buy envelopes, sealing tape and printer toner when Staples has sales or discount coupons.

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by: indomama This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 7 22:03:38 2013

Dumpster dive for boxes, save all my shredded paper my product comes packed in to use as stuffing. Collect out of date free local newspapers for stuffing.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Sales Smith

Mon Jan 7 22:34:04 2013

Around five years ago, we started shredding all the unusable cardboard for packing material. Paper we still recycle but the cardboard is made into packing material.

We had to buy a decent shredder to do cardboard. The first one, a ''fellows'' brand only lasted around a year. We switched to ''simplyshred'' brand and have already had over two years of use.

We added a second unit to increase shredding speed and reduce the chances of overheating a single machine while shredding larger batches of cardboard.

$200.00 for each shredder and all the cardboard we used to have to pack up for recycling is all made into packing material which works better than any packing material we have ever used. Due to it's increased density, I believe it has reduced parcel damage also. Zero merchandise has been damaged in transit since we started using this packing material so it serves more than a single purpose.

The only drawbacks would be the added weight of shredded cardboard over peanuts and possibly the mess created from shredding; since we use mostly flat rate boxes, the added weight is not a problem.    

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by: Paul W This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 8 09:10:27 2013

I save by using all new packing materials and envelopes and enclosing my products in high-end thank you bags with a thank you note and samples, thus generating many repeat sales.  

If you really want to be taken seriously as a business, you don't wrap your products in sCRAP you pulled from a dumpster.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Tue Jan 8 09:18:05 2013

Like the others, I recycle packing materials. I even use old (clean) padded envelopes to wrap some items (like bubble wrap). I also use a credit card with points and/or discounts (my Amex has both) whenever I buy anything for the business. Store rewards programs or frequent buyer plans can save a bundle with discounts, sales, and coupons, too. Most of those things don't take a lot of time, so it's worthwile to use them.

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by: Red Ink Diary This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 8 10:58:42 2013

A lot of my suppliers use brown paper off a roll as packing. I have been known to iron it, just takes minutes. Re-roll, recycle. No it doesn't look awful.

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by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 8 11:35:39 2013

I love funny ads and the toilet paper was the perfect touch to this ad.  

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by: Michael in BC This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 8 13:47:34 2013

Buy discount postage at stamp shops.  They get tons of this from estates on a regular basis. If you deal with estates directly, even better.  In some cases, the person who's passed away has bought sheets, panes and booklets full of every stamp issued for years, the inheritors want to get rid of it, and you can pick up a shirtbox full for $20. As long as you know postal rates and have a scale, and don't mind using stamps, you can save anywhere from 20% to 50% on annual postage costs.  This works best for small packages, bubblemailers and lettermail.  

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by: femmefan1946 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 8 14:06:06 2013

If there is a stamp dealer (or even a regular stamp show) in your town, ask about discount postage.
I sell Canadian mint, never hinged postage at 20% off face value and do not add sales tax or shipping.
Stamp dealers buy lots of postage from casual collectors. Neither the USA nor Canada have demonetized postage in the past 100 years.
And a bonus, studies by charitable organizations have shown that a stamped envelope is more likely to be opened than a metered one.
Downside, the stamps are likely to be older and several stamps needed to make the current rate.  

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by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 8 21:53:33 2013

I "Spend to Save"  by buying one of the only "new" packaging items I use---POLY MAILERS.  Cannot beat them for non-breakable items.  AMAZON always has someone with a low cost or combined "free" shipping---just shop for the best COMBINED cost be that "free shipping" or not.  

I recycle EVERYTHING else and have people save stuff for me like bubble wrap peanuts envelopes cardboard boxes and yes I DO dive for boxes!  I even have some local retail store workers who will happily pull flat boxes for me off their recycling pallets if I need them---they don't have to PAY to have stuff hauled away then.

I have used such things as foam mattress padding (new cut offs) for sending china lamps; capped empty cleaned soda bottles for padding out corners or large voids in boxes; plastic grocery bags crumpled and wedged for packing---the more "filled" the box the less likely things are to shift and break.  

That said a relative of mine drove from Arizona to NY with a TIFFANY LAMP (the real deal not some look alike) in an OPEN card board box (no top) with a large STONE statue ROLLING around on the floor of a van;  the item was "padded" with a loose "net" pattern crocheted SWEATER.   Shockingly this and several OTHER items inc a glass fronted Stickley cabinet with NO padding AT ALL arrived perfectly intact.  And this guy was the WORST driver I have EVER seen.  I removed my kids from his RV after he hit not ONE but TWO overhead SIGNS while driving thru a local town.

So ya never know!  

I also get plenty of items I have bought from brick and mortar stores via the Net packed in recycled boxes.  To me if it helps keep the cost of shipping down and keeps trees growing it is a WIN -WIN situation.  It's a LABEL people not a religious choice.

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This user has validated their user name. by: permacrisis

Thu Jan 17 13:33:48 2013

@ Paul W:
Done right, no one knows it's recycled.

____________________

When saving dough, nothing comes close to changing how most folks print.

Right straight off the bat I would say moneysaver number one is LOSE THE INKJET. That thing is putting you in the poorhouse.

Buy a black 'n' white laser printer from the mid-2000's instead (new enough for USB, old enough that drums are cheap, and cartridges aren't microchipped).

Then whenever you see a cheap toner cartridge, grab it and dump the toner into a honking big pretzel tub, to use later in your cartridges. Doesn't hurt to pick up a couple extra dead ones that fit yours, and practice recharging them.

You just pull the white plug, fold a paper plate 4 times and cut the corner for an instant funnel, and fill 'er up. A little goes a long way.

Avoid the newer models- their cartridges are programmed to die at a certain page count, whether they're empty or not. Should be illegal, but we know all about that here...



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