Anyone who operates a home-based business understands the necessity of saving money. When you are the CEO, purchasing manager, budget analyst and marketing VP all rolled into one, it’s important to track every expense and stay on top of spending. What’s the secret? Start-up experts and financial planners say the trick of keeping home-office expenses down is to know how, and when, to shop for key items. Here’s how to save money on your home-based business purchases:
Keep Every Receipt for 3 Years
In today’s cyber world, it’s easy to retain digital copies of records. If you are in business for yourself and work at home, it pays big dividends to retain every receipt for at least three years. This is a great habit to get into for numerous reasons, but for home-based workers, you’ll never have to worry about exchanges or refunds if you always have your receipts stored in a secure location, like on a thumb disk or in a hard-copy file.
Shop Where the Return Policy is Fair and Simple
According to the official Walmart return policy electronics are accepted with a receipt and as long as they’re undamaged. That can mean major savings for a business owner who plunked down several hundred dollars on a laptop that turned out to be unresponsive or a printer that didn’t print. Even if you are a telecommuter who works for someone else, but are based in your home, you’re usually on the hook for your own supplies and equipment.
Consider a Print/Copy Store
If you only need to print hard-copy documents on rare occasions or make duplicate paper copies now and then, consider using a retail printing center. Some home-based workers are virtually paperless and don’t even need a printer. But when the need arises to make copies, send a fax, copy a blueprint or something similar, head to the print center and pay for what you need. It will save you the expense of having to buy a printer, printer paper and ink cartridges.
Hire a Tax Pro
One of the smartest ways to save money in the long run is to hire a tax professional. This is especially important during your first year as a home-based worker. For a very reasonable fee, a CPA or EA (Enrolled Agent) can show you what deductions make sense, how to file taxes correctly and on time, various ways to minimize unnecessary spending. For example, recent tax law changes have affected the home-based worker’s ability to take the “office at home” tax deduction. There are a few ways to approach the new wrinkle in the law and a tax expert can guide you.
Outsource When Necessary
Visiting the local print center is one example of “outsourcing,” but there are many others worth considering. If you work from home but know nothing about marketing, for example, it might be a good idea to hire someone to do the bulk of your advertising and sales chores. Commonly outsources functions for home workers include tax preparation, advertising, printing, customer service phone response and more.
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