5 Ways to Save Money on Your Office Supplies List

Small changes in how you procure goods for your office supplies list can add up to big savings on procurement. Use these tips to realize savings now.
Written by:  Bridey Joyce
Published:  December 18, 2023
manager observing supplies for office

Inflation has taken a bite out of revenues for the past 2 years. This reality has many businesses looking for areas to optimize spending and realize better value for their investment. The first place many organizations look to save money? The supply closet. 

While every office must maintain the essential items on its office supplies list, there are plenty of opportunities to save money and make ordering easier. This guide looks at the top ways to streamline your office supplies and ordering process, plus offers tips to ensure you pay the best prices for the supplies your staff needs to succeed. 

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5 Questions to ask for better office supplies ordering

There are many places to find a one-size-fits-all list of essential office supplies online, but the best way to streamline ordering (and indirect procurement costs) is to focus on what the office needs and how staff prefer to work. While most office workers use between $50 to $100 in office supplies per month, knowing where to trim can significantly save money. 

Look to the answers to the following questions to reveal ways to streamline the ordering process and reduce waste and supply duplication.

Who does the ordering for the office? Does the office have a central ordering system and point of contact for getting supplies, or do employees self-serve their needs? Consider how the office places orders and how it manages the procurement process. As a company grows, the process for requesting and ordering supplies might change. 

How many full-time employees are on site? Ordering for a handful of employees isn’t the same as providing for the needs of 100 or more staff members. Consider ways to make the ordering process scalable and efficient as the company expands. What worked for 10 or 20 team members may fail to be efficient as the headcount increases.

Do remote employees require supplies support? Remote and distributed organizations face different procurement challenges than their on-site counterparts. Consider the best way to serve remote employees, whether through a supplies stipend, expense reimbursement, or a centralized ordering system with home delivery options. Factor in the onboarding process, including how employees receive company-issue laptops, office furniture, peripherals, and other job necessities.

What industry do you serve? Consider the industry-specific needs of the organization or department. For instance, a sales-centric team requires support both at home and abroad. Stocking essential items for field visits or trade show appearances (such as portable projectors, incidentals kits, extra computer peripherals, etc.) makes life easier for everyone.  

How “digital” is your office? Some organizations, like software or consulting firms, may prefer to handle documentation in the cloud. Others, such as law firms and environmental companies, may require hard-copy document production. Be sure ordering aligns with the way the organization does business.

Service industry and retail-focused office supplies 

Service businesses and retail storefronts often have different needs from the standard corporate office. Fortunately, virtually every supply is available through a procurement platform. Based on the answers to the above questions, these are the most popular supply needs for service businesses like healthcare offices, spas, gyms, hotels, wellness centers, and dispensaries: 

Cannabis (front and back of house)

  • Gloves
  • Fertilizer
  • Thermal Labels
  • Masks
  • Shopping bags
  • Organizer trays
  • Non-cannabis food products
  • Cannabis accessories
  • Branded merchandise
  • Order kiosks/tablets


  • Masks
  • Gloves and hair coverings
  • Sanitization supplies
  • Paper gowns
  • Absorbent sheets
  • Roll paper (for covering patient room seating)
  • Medical tape
  • Bandages and gauze
  • Personal care items
  • Consumable medical supplies (needles, swabs, etc.)
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Gyms, spas, and wellness

  • Cleaning supplies
  • PPE
  • Gloves
  • Paper products
  • Beverages
  • Towels
  • Combination locks
  • Personal care products (shampoo, body wash)
  • Aromatherapy products
  • Oils and lotions
  • Robes
  • Blankets

Hotels and resorts

  • Linens
  • Towels
  • Robes
  • Snacks
  • Beverages
  • Furnishings
  • In-room convenience items
  • Shop items (OTC medicines, laundry items, incidentals)

Essential office supplies list for every organization

Regardless of where individual employees work or which industry their organization serves, most team members reach for a certain set of basic office supplies during the workweek. Establishing bulk ordering and discounts for these essential supply categories saves money and prevents the frustration of an empty supply shelf.

Printing, publication, and mailing

No matter how often we hear of the joys of a paperless office, printing and publication will always be necessary for certain situations.

  • Printer paper
  • Specialty papers (graph, tracing, or carbon)
  • Card stock
  • Manilla mailers
  • Interoffice envelopes
  • Thank you cards
  • Business cards
  • Official letterhead
  • Postage
  • Envelopes
  • Mailer labels
  • Shipping supplies (padded mailers and boxes)
  • Staplers
  • Binder clips
  • Ring binders
  • Rubber bands
  • Paperclips
  • Tape (cellophane, packing, masking, or duct tape)
  • Glue

Writing and notetaking

Handwritten notes and reminders help everyone to keep track of tasks and conversations. 

  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Erasers
  • Markers (permanent and dry-erase markers)
  • Highlighters
  • Rulers
  • Correction tape and fluid
  • Stamps and stamp pads
  • Desk and wall calendars
  • Planners
  • Whiteboards
  • Wall calendars
  • Clipboards
  • Post-it notes
  • Notebooks
  • Legal pads
  • Sticky flags

Organization and storage

A physically organized space makes the work day easier and more productive.

  • Bulletin boards
  • Pushpins
  • Desktop organizers
  • Document sorter/holder
  • Supply trays and containers
  • Desk drawer organizers
  • Inboxes
  • File folders 
  • Portfolios

Furniture and equipment

Physical offices need comfortable and functional options to create a welcoming and productive workspace.

  • Reception furniture
  • End tables
  • Desks
  • Desk chairs
  • Sideboards
  • Filing cabinets
  • Lunch tables
  • Cubicles and flexible seating
  • Paper shredder

Computers and peripherals

Technology is the cornerstone of productivity for in-person and remote workers. 

  • Desktops and laptop computers
  • Tablet devices
  • Phones
  • Surge protectors
  • Keyboard
  • Mice and mouse pads
  • Routers and switches
  • Storage peripherals
  • Printers and copiers
  • Toner or print cartridges


Remote workers need to stay connected to their on-site colleagues; great collaboration tech makes this process easier.

  • Interactive whiteboards
  • Teleconference equipment
  • Projectors
  • Presentation supplies (poster boards, easels, trade show signage)

Cleaning and kitchen supplies

Keeping a space clean and tidy also keeps it healthy and happy. 

  • Hand soap and soap refills
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Paper towels
  • Tissues
  • Air freshener
  • Electronic-safe cleaners and pressurized air
  • Bathroom and kitchen cleaners
  • Window cleaner
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Sponges
  • Brooms and dustpans
  • Garbage and recycling bags
  • Breakroom supplies (cups, cutlery, etc). 
  • Coffee maker and tea kettle

What office supplies do remote workers need?

In the age of remote and distributed work, organizations should consider how to meet the everyday needs of off-site workers. Over 80 percent of remote employees work from a home office rather than a co-working space or public venue. While many employees use what they already have in the house, employers that opted to retain remote work models after the pandemic have considered supporting remote workers with equipment and supplies delivered to the home office. 

Whether handled through direct ordering and shipment or establishing a remote work stipend, remote workers need the following essential items and office equipment to complete their work successfully: 

  • Computer
  • Peripherals like keyboards and mice
  • Desk (standard or standing)
  • Desk chair
  • Printer (bonus points for a scanner combo)
  • Printer ink
  • Webcam
  • Headset for teleconferences
  • General office supplies

Consider incoming remote workers’ roles and responsibilities when creating their onboarding package or stipend. Use a standard baseline to outline a remote worker procurement budget or a supplies and equipment list to help remote workers be successful, expanding it for more specialized roles.

5 Ways to save on office supplies

Even small offices can save considerable money on office supplies by employing simple strategies. Consider incorporating the following practices into your procurement process to optimize indirect spend: 

Take advantage of bulk orders: Streamline ordering with a few preferred vendors to create higher order volumes with each vendor, which may unlock bulk discounts. This type of strategic vendor sourcing also reduces invoice volume and accounting work at the month's end. Some companies accomplish this through a group purchasing organization (GPO), but there are better ways to realize procurement savings with bulk and contracted pricing.

Compare vendor pricing: Benchmarking and price comparisons are powerful tools for helping businesses save money. By researching typical product prices as part of supplier information management and vendor evaluation, businesses can compare options to guarantee the best prices. Price comparison also identifies potential discounts or promotional offers. 

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The Procurement Strategy Playbook for Modern Businesses

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Streamline SKUs: Ordering several versions of the same product introduces variability in the purchasing process. It may increase costs for shipping, create redundancy in ordering, and reduce spend visibility. Redundant orders also create multiple invoices, introducing additional paperwork and accounting costs. To prevent these issues, find a competitive price on a single product SKU and use that SKU for ongoing replenishment.

Use a rewards program: Many vendors offer benefits like percent discounts, cash back, or other loyalty rewards. Research potential rewards and use these benefits to save money on the products and office supplies the organization uses most. 

Consider a procurement platform: A procurement platform helps organizations save time and money by simplifying and centralizing the order process. It also allows Finance to track every purchase, ensure every order uses cost-effective SKUs and vendors, automate the ordering process, and reduce invoice volume. 

How Order.co streamlines your office supplies list

Procurement management with a platform helps organizations better manage indirect procurement costs, from office supplies and equipment to consumables. Centralizing procurement with Order.co allows the finance and accounting teams to take control of budgets and spending, visualize every transaction and spend category, ensure vendor and spend compliance, and capitalize on the wealth of information residing in your purchasing process. 

Order.co offers organizations from small businesses to enterprise-sized companies a comprehensive suite of tools to manage the procure-to-pay process, including: 

  • Centralized requisitions, order processing, reconciliation, and payment 
  • Spend visibility and reporting features
  • Automated general ledger (GL) coding for every line item and transaction
  • A curated catalog of items to ensure spend compliance and make purchasing easier
  • Multi-location ordering and payment to support staff wherever they work 

To learn more about streamlining your office supplies list and procurement process with Order.co, schedule a demo today

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