Living On Less: Tips for cutting costs in your home office

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frugal home office

Running a home office can be costly, with expenses such as utility bills and office supplies quickly adding up. However, there are simple ways to reduce this expenditure when you’re looking to live on less. Read on…

How to reduce costs in your home office

1.  Use energy-efficient equipment and appliances
2.  Turn off electronics and lights when not in use
3.  Use natural light instead of artificial lighting
4.   Repurpose household items to use in the office
5.  Buy office supplies on sale or in bulk
6.  Use digital communication tools to reduce printing and mailing costs
7.  Use reusable cups and containers instead of disposable ones
8.  Use a programmable thermostat to regulate heating and cooling costs
9.  Consider alternative service providers for cheaper deals on monthly utility bills
10. Use open-source or free software

That’s ten! But there’s more…

By being mindful of your expenses, you can create a more efficient and cost-effective home office in your move to live on less.

For example, turning off electronics when not in use and using energy-efficient lighting can lower your electricity bill.

Also, purchasing supplies in bulk and taking advantage of discounts can save you money in the long run.

Making these small changes can help you maintain a productive home office while also keeping costs down. See also my article on 101+ ways to cut spending and live more sustainably.

Home office set up

You can easily set up a frugal office. Here are some ideas.

You can repurpose items from around the house. For example, a mason jar makes a great pencil holder.

I’ve used shoeboxes, covered with repurposed gift-wrapping, as an attractive storage container for my yet-to-be-entered-and-filed receipts.

I take advantage of natural lighting. I schedule most of my work for during the day and my desk is located beside a window.

I also, where possible, I use open-source or free software, which helps further cut costs.

If you’ve taken the leap and left that high paying job and are now setting up your office at home, try these to save on costs…

  • Buy pre-loved furniture or repurpose old furniture or items instead of buying new ones for your office. Look for second-hand furniture online or at thrift stores.
  • Use free software or online tools instead of paying for expensive ones
  • Shop around for best service provider deals
  • Utilize natural lighting instead of buying expensive lamps
  • Use storage solutions like shelves and bins that you can repurpose from elsewhere to keep the space organized and clutter-free
  • Consider using a room divider or curtain to separate the office space from the rest of the room
  • Use a standing desk converter as an alternative to buying an expensive desk
  • Shop for office supplies during back-to-school sales or at discount stores
  • Use free software or cloud-based programs instead of purchasing expensive software

Monthly bills

To trim costs, start by examining your monthly bills and identifying areas where you can cut back.

One example: Consider switching to a cheaper internet service provider.

Others include, insurances, phone, and electricity.

I tend to avoid subscription services in terms of office software. Instead, a free option I like is LibreOffice, which is an open source system. Also, if you’re a fan, there’s Google docs and spreadsheets that a lot of people use.


Going paperless will reduce your printing expenses. But if you need to print, consider saving on paper and ink. Examples:

  • Set printer properties to fast or draft quality to save on ink costs
  • Set printer properties to print both sides of paper to save on paper

Here are some additional tips to help you save even more money while being eco-friendly:

  • Use a print preview before printing to avoid mistakes and wasting paper
  • Consider investing in a refillable ink cartridge instead of constantly buying new ones
  • Encourage others in your home to follow these practices

Remember, small changes can make a big difference when it comes to saving money and reducing our impact on the environment.

stationery costs

Reducing stationery cost for your home office can be a great way to save money.

By adopting a few simple strategies, you can cut down on your stationery expenses while still maintaining a well-equipped workspace.

Here are some simple ideas to think about to reduce bought office supplies and some possible substitutes or alternatives:

  1. Only purchase essential stationery items and avoid buying unnecessary supplies
  2. Use generic or store-brand stationery instead of branded products
  3. Buy stationery items in bulk to take advantage of discounts and save money
  4. Recycle envelopes, old calendars, and blank backs of pamphlets for note paper
  5. Use digital tools instead of physical paper, pens, and notebooks
  6. Use reusable and refillable pens and markers instead of disposable ones
  7. Print double-sided and use smaller fonts to save paper
  8. Use email or digital collaboration tools instead of printing and distributing memos
  9. Use electronic signatures instead of printing and signing paper documents
  10. Use electronic filing and storage instead of physical file cabinets
  11. Use online resources and databases instead of buying books and manuals

By adopting one or more of these strategies, not only will you save money, but you’ll also contribute to a more sustainable and eco-friendly approach to your work.

Energy efficient workspace

Here are some energy efficiency tips for your home office:

  1. Use natural light whenever possible and turn off lights when you leave the room
  2. Choose energy-efficient electronics and appliances, such as computers and printers with Energy Star ratings
  3. Set your computer to “sleep” mode when not in use and turn it off at the end of the day
  4. Use power strips to easily turn off devices when not in use
  5. Keep your workspace clean and free of dust to help your electronics run more efficiently
  6. Consider using a smart thermostat to regulate the temperature and reduce heating and cooling costs
  7. Use a laptop instead of a desktop computer, as laptops typically use less energy
  8. Install energy efficient lighting

Making these small changes can add up to significant energy savings over time, which not only benefits the environment but also your wallet. And, it’s also about self care, about you feeling less shackled…

Take number one for instance. Research shows not getting enough natural light exposure leads to elevated cortisol levels and lower melatonin at night. The culmination of having these chemicals in our bodies out of whack leads to “depressive symptoms and poor quality of sleep”.

Other money saving tips I use in the home office

  • Use eucalyptus oil for removing sticky residue from labels
  • Use a reusable water bottle instead of buying bottled water

See also my article on ways to save on your food bill.