Watch Out for Tiny Business Expenses That Add Up Quickly

Aug 23, 2019 • 5 min read
Reviewing expenses
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      As a wise entrepreneur once said, “The most costly expense isn’t the biggest one; it’s the one that’s repeated over and over again.” 

      Small business owners often sit on dozens of these small expenses. None of them will ever break the bank on their own, but they maliciously combine to make a real impact on the bottom line.

      Trimming your unnecessary expenses takes effort, and it’s not something you expect to accomplish overnight. You just keep chipping away, regularly looking for new ways to save. Each expense you eliminate keeps a little more money in your bank account and adds wind to your sails on your journey of finding new ways to save.

      Here are 4 areas where business owners can often save money:

      1. Shipping

      Many small businesses use shipping in their operations. But necessary evils don’t have to be unnecessarily expensive. You can immediately start saving money by being selective in your shipping options. For packages under 2 pounds, USPS is often the cheapest. With heavier packages, you’ll usually save money with UPS or FedEx. The point is that it’s rarely economical to use the same shipper for all of your packages. 

      Another easy way to save is by reusing your boxes and packing materials. Every time you receive a shipment, keep what you can for the next time you need to send something. Not only is this a great way to help the earth, but it can cut the daily expenses that impact your finances. 

      Of course, reused packaging materials aren’t a silver bullet. You’ll still need to purchase shipping materials, but when you do, try to do it in bulk. Do a shipping audit to figure out how much you’ll likely need for the year, then make a bulk purchase to enjoy the associated savings. You’ll be amazed at how much this strategy can lower costs.

      2. Automation

      You can save time and money each day by implementing automation tools. Your required day-to-day tasks will still be accomplished, but you won’t need to worry about them.

       “Saving is the name of the game,” said Entrepreneur. “Your time is valuable. Certain processes are cheaper, more efficient, and effective when automated.”

      A popular example of a cost-saving automation tool is Deluxe for payroll. It can help you eliminate errors and save money. You can also use Quickbooks for your mileage tracking and expense reporting, Quip for workflow management, MailChimp for email efforts, Hootsuite for correlating your social media efforts, and Marketo for integrating your digital, mobile, social, and email marketing initiatives.

      3. Marketing

      While some marketers still think of full-page magazine ads as the purest form of advertising, times have changed. Research from the United States Chamber of Commerce shows that social media has become the most effective way to promote your business.

      Among the various social media channels, Facebook is usually best for small businesses. It has a user-friendly interface and makes it easy to spread the word. According to the Chamber of Commerce data, small businesses leverage the platform for a host of marketing purposes:

      • 70% use it for attracting new customers
      • 56% use it for increasing their sales
      • 52% use it for expanding their reach
      • 42% use it for attracting new employees

      Luckily for you, it’s also one of the cheapest options. If you implement Facebook into your marketing, you can dial back your more expensive channels. Every ad you don’t run on a more expensive, less-effective channel is money saved.

      4. Taxes

      According to research, up to 57% of people say they pay too much in federal income taxes. One of the best ways to amend this is to use the small expenses that add up throughout the year to your advantage. The experts at the Small Business Administration recommend tracking your payments for costs like educational resources, magazine subscriptions, and petty cash purchases.

      As long as you’re carefully documenting these expenses, your various tax write-offs will help you be in better shape when tax season rolls around. Your tax advisor can help you hone your strategy, but the best plan is always to over prepare. Keep everything related to business expenses as though your life (and tax return) depends on it. 

      Every Little Bit Counts

      Running a small business takes discipline and tenacity. As you pay closer attention to your small expenses, you’ll begin to see more and more areas where you can make improvements. The savings might be subtle at first, but they can add up to a significant impact.

      About the author
      Grant Olsen

      Grant Olsen is a writer specializing in small business loans, leadership skills, and growth strategies. He is a contributing writer for KSL 5 TV, where his articles have generated more than 6 million page views, and has been featured on and Grant is also the author of the book "Rhino Trouble." He has a B.A. in English from Brigham Young University.

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