How to lower your bills: 12 ways to reduce monthly costs

Here is the scenario: You sit down to review your company’s spending over the last few months and you see numbers much higher than you’re used to. You wonder right away how to lower your bills. The good news is that it can be done and will likely not be as hard as you think.

From adjusting how your team uses your office to smarter business credit card use, there are changes you can start making now. Below, learn how you may be able to lower your bills regardless of whether your business is new, growing, or mature.

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12 ways to lower your bills

Keeping your spending habits in line is just as important to success as great customer service and meaningful solutions to your customers’ pain points. To that end, here’s some suggestions on how you can help to lower your business’s monthly expenses.

1. Refinance your debts

Maybe in the past you’ve taken out fast loans from online alternative lenders because you thought they could help you get financing quickly. That’s often true in the short term, but in the long run, their short repayment periods and high interest rates typically prove to be quite expensive. Refinancing or consolidating your debts can help. This typically involves lowering your loan’s interest rate – and with it, your monthly expenses.

2. Downsize your office space

The typical U.S. office size is 125 to 175 square feet of floor space per person. The typical U.S. office rent is between $8 and $23 per square foot per month. If your team is 10 people, that means you could be paying between $10,000 and $40,250 per month for your office. That’s a huge expense and downsizing may be necessary. This is especially true if you’re paying this much rent for a team of fewer than 10 people. But what if you don’t need an office at all?

3. Go fully remote

If your industry or business allows for it, you could think about a transition to remote work. You’ll likely save thousands – maybe tens of thousands – of dollars per month on overhead. After all, you’ll no longer have to pay office rent or utilities. You can also cancel any commuter benefits you were paying to offer your team.

Worried about losing that in-office spontaneity and team cohesion? Certain remote work solutions can make it almost feel like you’re still in the office.

4. Use less heat and A/C in your office

If you do stay in-office, then downsizing is just step one to cutting costs in your office. The next step is learning how to use heat and A/C more efficiently. To see why this might be an effective way to cut costs, think about your home’s spring energy bills as compared to your winter bills. Do the same for fall versus summer. The lower costs that come with less utility use can happen for your company too.

Admittedly, this can be a tricky one to pull off – you’ll likely spark an office temperature debate. Namely, some of your employees will prefer a colder room, whereas others will like it warmer. That means no matter how you set the temperature, some people will sweat and some will shiver.

Encourage your team to keep desk fans, sweaters, and the like within reach. Then, set your heat lower or your A/C higher. After all, one degree lower on your thermostat may save you up to three percent on your utility bills.

5. Turn off energy-intensive devices when not in use

The multifunction printer in the center of your office probably uses much more electricity than each of your team members’ laptops. But where laptops need to be on all day, the printer can stay off except when it’s needed. Keeping any energy-intensive devices turned off when your team isn’t using them can significantly lower your electric bill.

6. Review your office supply spending

Once upon a time, pen and paper were fixtures of an office. Computers and smartphones have changed that story, but you might still be in the habit of stocking the office with a bunch of paper-related supplies that you may not need.

To figure out whether this is the case, track your team’s office supply usage. Stop ordering items you don’t use, and see if you can find the other items in bulk. That could mean signing up for an Amazon® Business account to save money on purchases or buying from nontraditional office supply sellers. Either way, the goal is to buy - and pay for - only what you need.

7. Transfer your credit card balance

If your business credit card debt is keeping your bills high, a balance transfer can help. To start, open a new credit card that has a no-APR introductory period, then, transfer your current card’s balance to that card. Although you’ll pay a fee for this transfer, you won’t pay fees on your credit card debt until your APR-free introductory period ends. Lower bills will likely result during this period.

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8. Ask your credit card provider to lower your rates

When you’re expanding your small business, you might find yourself relying on your credit card to cover purchases you can’t yet afford. If your credit card balance goes unpaid for long enough, you’ll also owe fees on it. To lower these fees, ask your credit card company to lower your rates. They might say no, but if they say yes, you’ll see lower monthly bills moving forward. It’s worth a shot!

9. Choose the credit card with the best cash back program

There are many credit cards that earn you cash back with every purchase. Certain cards, though, may earn you significantly more money when you spend. For example, maybe a certain card offers you five percent back when you spend at restaurants. You can use that card to pay for dinners with clients. Or maybe another card offers you twice as much cash back at grocery stores. You can use that card to stock up for the company holiday party.

Once you’ve earned your cash back, you can deposit it into your business bank account. Or, to more directly lower your monthly bills, you can deduct your cash back rewards from your monthly credit card bill.

10. Track all your company’s spending and earning

Keeping good business records has long been among the best practices for any company of any size. That’s true for tax and spending purposes (though bookkeepers and accountants are different). Good bookkeeping can generally tell you which bills are unreasonably high or simply not necessary.

When you identify monthly expenditures you don’t need, you can take the necessary steps to change the picture. Start by canceling any subscriptions you don’t need. Then, see if you can find vendors who might charge less for your most expensive items. That’s a helpful way to spend less money per month.

11. Look for lower insurance premiums

Certain types of business insurance are required, and that requirement typically adds to your monthly expenses. But it can add less money to your bills if you choose the right insurance company. Try to compare quotes from many insurance providers to strike a reasonable balance between monthly costs and the extent of coverage. These types of comparisons may potentially lower your monthly bills by hundreds of dollars.

12. Choose the right loans from the get-go

As your business grows, you’ll need additional funds to cover your various initiatives. However, at times, new products or business lines can cost you more than they earn you right away. Small business loans can bridge that gap, especially if you opt for low-cost, high-quality loans from the get-go.

SBA 7(a) loans, for example, offer up to $350,000 with lower interest rates than other types of loans. These loans’ long repayment terms also keep your monthly payments low. The result is a much more affordable loan than, say, merchant cash advances, which may have effective APRs of well over 100%. Over time, the initiatives you fund with your loan may earn your company more than enough money to cover all of its bills.

Apply for low-cost loans with SmartBiz

Smart loan choices may help lower your monthly bills – you should always consider choosing loans that will result in low monthly payments. SBA 7(a) loans are a great example, and you can apply for them through SmartBiz. If you don’t qualify for these loans, you can also pursue bank term loans and custom financing. Check now whether you pre-qualify* for all kinds of loans that keep your monthly bills lower from the start.

*We conduct a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, in processing your loan application, the lenders with whom we work will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and happens after your application is in the funding process and matched with a lender who is likely to fund your loan.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The SmartBiz® Small Business Blog and other related communications from SmartBiz Loans® are intended to provide general information on relevant topics for managing small businesses. Be aware that this is not a comprehensive analysis of the subject matter covered and is not intended to provide specific recommendations to you or your business with respect to the matters addressed. Please consult legal and financial processionals for further information.

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