Cutting Expenses Ideas

I have had a few Homer Simpson-esque “DOH!!!” moments over the last month or two. I realize this is all Business 101 stuff, but sometimes we get so caught up in the everyday hustle and bustle, we forget to look at the little things we can do cut expenses. Maybe we can come up with some cool ideas that others arent thinking of.

  • I switched the phone company we had been with for 15 years. My bill went from $308/month to $127/month. Same phone numbers, no down time for the transition. It took about 1/2 an hour total!

  • Have 2 or more food vendors. I got a price listing from each of my 2 vendors last month, and made a few simple switches (Pineapple tidbits from Company B, Ground Beef topping from Company A) and I’m now saving just under $30/week.

  • I had a 2 door reach-in freezer in my back kitchen for easy access to wings, mozz stix, etc. It broke in November, and I replaced it with a commercial chest freezer. Its saved me $50/month in electricity through the 1st 2 months. Its a little less convenient, and it requires an extra couple trips to our walk-in freezer each day, but the electricity savings will pay for the chest freezer within a year!

Lets keep the hints flowing!

I’m in, this is where I have excelled in my business. The recipes were great, is was just the ingredients and operational costs that were all wrong. Synthetic cheese, throwing out good dough and turning on the oven an hour before needed were bad.

I audited what the previous employees were doing before we opened and found that one was coming in 1 1/2 hour earlier than needed and the second was coming in an hour more then he needed to (fired him for clocking in and then watching TV in the lobby or even going out on job interviews while on the clock).

Phone: Please, get some VOIP lines and have your main line forward to those. Now that Google Voice is legitimate, you could even drop your phone costs by half what you’re doing. I’m still trying to figure our the right process, but I think a simple 2 line system shouldn’t cost more than $40/month.

I heard an idea the other day where a pizza shop was using their scrap dough to make like mini donuts and selling them. He did that for a year and I think he said it ended up being 10% of his sales. The scrap dough went from the trash can to 10% sales!


What if you want 5 or 6 lines? Can you keep your main land line with the phone company and then have it roll over through the other 5 lines?

I would love to save money on my phone bill, but I will never, ever switch the main number from the company that actually owns & services the land line again. Huge mistake… I’m gladly paying a premium now for peace of mind.

Back on the main topic:

Rip out your old 3 or 5 gallon tank toilet and replace with a high-efficiency model. Paid for the toilet and installation in 4 months. Now putting $30-40 bucks in my pocket every month.

Use e-billing and automatic payment withdraws where you’re offer a discount for doing so. Save $5.00/month on my insurance and never have to worry about it lapsing with a missed payment. Works for some credit-card statements too.

Switch out halogen spots with LED ones (for accent lights mainly). Big up front investment but will save about $50/year when you factor in the life of the bulbs (AND you don’t have to change bulbs every 4 or 5 months).

If they aren’t already, install programmable thermostats. Use them if you got 'em. No reason to overwork your a/c and heat when no one is in the building!

Put timers on your signage so that they don’t get left on when you/managers forget to turn them off after close. Just bought programmable digital timers for my open signs so they always turn on and off at the right time… only real savings here may be your sanity.

In the works:

Add one of those motions-sensor light switches in the bathroom so that the light & fan isn’t on all day for no reason. This is one I’m going to do in the bathrooms, stairway and laundry room at home since I apparently the only one if the family that can flip a switch back off… grrrr.

  1. Eliminate dedicated fax line. Use your last regular line. Fax is a dinosaur and will be gone in another couple of years. Saves $600 per year.
  2. Eliminate dedicated CC line switch to slowest speed available for internet based CC processing over DSL on one of your existing lines. Saves $300 per year after DSL fees (and now you have internet in the store)
  3. Investigate whether your local chamber has a work comp risk limitation training that gets you a discount on work comp. Ours does. Saves us about $200 per year.
  4. Buy all advertising in bulk. Negotiate rates (ALL advertising prices are negotiable) for news papers, radio, printing costs. Make a 12 month or longer commitment in return for significant cost savings. In Radio look for prepayment premiums of 20% in additional spots. Don’t be afraid to walk away from one marketing activity and do more of something else or something new with the cash when you don’t get what you need on pricing.
  5. Shop your insurance at least every 2-3 years.
  6. Track the time your employees clock in and out ALL the the time. Pay bonuses to managers that save your labor costs. Believe me, they will notice. The diffference between doing an OK job and a great job on just the clockout time alone could easily be $500 on a two week pay period in many stores. Giving the manager $100 bonus when that is going well works wonders.
  7. Negotiate price of gasoline. If you have your own cars, you will save the money. If you don’t, your drivers will appreciate it. You can get a gas station to give you 3-5 cents per gallon, sometimes as much as 10 cents. You need to find an independant gas station to do this.
  1. Shop your food items every week between vendors.
  2. Stock up items like pinapple, art hearts, black olives etc when there is a deal that saves you a few dollars a case.
  3. When the food suppliers have sales contests for the reps they will give you deals to hit volume. I got an extra 5 cents a pound on cheese from a rep that wanted to win a trip somewhere. I bought a month’s worth and saved a nice chunck of change.
  4. Don’t run multiple ovens when you don’t need to.
  5. Turn OFF the central heating except when it is really cold out. The ovens will heat the place fine and it will save you hundreds during the winter.

I stock up on food items that last.for example I have enough flour to last some time,hopefully enough to get by without buying more untill it goes down again.I just wish I would have bought it a little sooner.the last time I bought mushrooms they were under 30 bucks a case on sale.
this may seem obvious but switch out your light bulbs to energy savers.we do some prep in a differant room,make sure lights are off in rooms not in use.
the automatic lights in the bathroom is my next upgrade.