Being a successful executive assistant often means being a super-shopper, too. Finding the best deals on office supplies can make you a true office hero.
Saving money may require negotiating abilities, super Web-surfing skills, and plenty of math savvy. As a successful assistant, you probably already have these talents in abundant supply. It’s just a matter of fine-tuning them for bargain-hunting.
Office Supply Savings? There’s an App for That
Office supply prices change frequently thanks to sales or stock rotations. That 40-pack of permanent markers you saw at the wholesale club last week could be gone now, never to return.
Rather than trying to keep track of the best prices online or at stores near you, download a deal-hunting app. Free apps like ShopSavvy, BuyVia, and Mycartsavings, all available for Android and iOS, will show you the lowest prices in seconds. You can either scan a barcode — which is great for ordering replacements of frequently used items like ink cartridges or paper — or enter a product name in the search bar. Mycartsavings also uses voice recognition to make searching even easier, but the app is somewhat limited in the stores it searches, while ShopSavvy searches the whole Web. It will also check for stores that offer price matching for an item you found cheaper through the app.
Set It and Forget It
If going “app-happy” sounds exhausting, you can enjoy discounted prices by establishing auto-ship for recurring purchases through Amazon. Great for ink, paper, and other consumables, auto-ship will give you the lowest prices Amazon offers. Use your Prime membership for free shipping and pay with an Amazon or Discover cashback rewards card to earn points on every purchase, which you can use on your next Amazon shopping spree.
Don’t Pay Retail When You Can Buy Wholesale
Did you know Jet.com offers wholesale prices on a wide variety of office supplies? The thing we love about Jet (aside from its superhero-like name!) is that the more you buy, the more you save. Every purchase over $35 gets free shipping, with no membership fees required.
If you’re confident in your purchase, you can opt out of returns and get an even steeper discount.
Wholesale clubs like BJ’s, Sam’s Club, and Costco may also offer prices lower than retail outlets, but compare unit prices and make sure you really need a bulk quantity of the item you’re purchasing. Maybe you only need three whiteboard markers, not 30.
Surf for Savings
If you’re looking for a specialized product, such as promotional USB drives, water bottles, or pens in bulk, sometimes it’s easiest to search Google. This will let you compare pricing, quality, and different models of similar items to see which is best for your company.
If you’re placing a bulk order or plan to become a repeat customer, call the company directly and see if you can negotiate an even better deal.
Leverage Rewards to Earn Money Back
What could be better than showing the accounting department — and your boss — a hefty cashback bonus after you’ve shelled out thousands of dollars for office supplies?
Pay for your purchases with one of the best rewards credit cards for office supplies and you can do exactly that.
The Chase Ink Business Cash credit card gives 5 percent cash back on the first $25,000 at office supply stores and on Internet, cable, and phone services at the end of each account anniversary year.
The Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard delivers 3 percent cash back gas and office supply store purchases monthly, with an annual cap of $250,000 each calendar year — and 1 percent after you hit that max.
Both cards have no annual fee, so you don’t have to wait for the card to start “paying for itself.” The savings are immediate.
Don’t forget to present any loyalty cards for specific stores so you can stack your rewards.
Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment
While it may be tempting to put all your office supply purchases on autopilot or turn to tried-and-trusted stores and websites, you may not maximize your savings that way.
Consider office supply shopping an adventure where you can use your superhero skills to explore strange new worlds of savings. Track your results so your boss can see the ROI on your time and how much you’re saving the company.
Share your super-shopping successes with us on social media and don’t forget to sign up for the Office Heroes League newsletter for more money-saving tips.