Is money tight in your business during the holiday season? Holiday gifts for clients, employee bonuses, tips for service providers, holiday parties — that’s all extra spending. On top of that, if you are in retail or manufacturing, you may have needed to stock up on inventory and extra materials to meet customer demands. You also may be making capital purchases in order to maximize deductions in this tax year.
Some businesses, though, see year-end spending as an investment in their businesses. In fact, 40 percent of small business owners are planning for an uptick in business performance this holiday season compared to last year according to a recent survey by Ink from Chase .
But you don’t have to spend insane amounts of money in order to reap the benefits of the holiday season. Here are a few simple tips you can use to save money on holiday business expenses.
1. Set an Early Budget for Business Gifts — and Stick With It
Gifts are a controllable expense. Start by setting your overall budget for customer gifts and cash tips for service providers. Overspending often results from not setting a budget and instead leaving the amounts open-ended.
Some recipients even have limits to the value of gifts they can accept, so do some research. Remember that business gifts are often about the gesture more than how much you spend.
2. Shop Early to Save Money
Be sure to plan out business gifts early enough so that you can shop creatively and take advantage of sales. Nothing kills a budget faster than last-minute desperation spending and rush shipping charges.
Also, spread out your expenses as much as possible by buying some gifts early and some later.
3. Use a Business Credit Card
When you need to make extra purchases, why not use those purchases to earn rewards? A business credit card such as Ink from Chase  allows you to accumulate points that you can then use to reinvest in your business.
In fact, Ink  offers increased points for some of the things that businesses purchase the most. The card offers five times the rewards on mobile phone, internet and cable service, and office supplies. It also offers two points per dollar spent at gas stations, restaurants and hotels, and one point per dollar on all other purchases. Best part of all, since Ink offers flexible rewards you can use these points for travel, gift cards or cash back, to name a few.
4. Use Credit Card Points to Purchase Business Gifts
In addition, your business credit card could help you cover the cost of some of holiday gifts. If you’ve used your business credit card to make purchases throughout the rest of the year, you should already have some points that are ready to be redeemed. The holiday season can be the perfect time to do just that.
Gift cards are common holiday gifts, so consider using your points to purchase these for giving to employees or service providers as gifts. This can help you offset some of the added cost of the season and redeem some of the points you’ve accumulated during the year.
5. Look for Bulk Discounts
Whether ordering gifts, inventory or extra supplies, you can often find discounts when buying in bulk. Particularly during the holidays, you often have to buy more of everything. So shop around to see which providers offer bulk discounts for the items you need most.
6. Consider Sending e-Cards
In addition to gifts, you likely have a holiday card list for clients and customers. Mailing these cards can be another added expense of the season, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead of sending traditional cards, which require money and postage, consider sending e-cards instead.
Particularly if you do most of your business online, sending e-cards can be just as effective and far less costly. Just be sure that your message is appropriate and you still send gifts to the necessary people.
7. Think Ahead to Next Year
Directly after the holidays, many retailers offer huge discounts on holiday items. This means that you can get a head start on buying things like cards, decorations and entertainment supplies for the following season. You can save money overall using this method. And if your business usually experiences a bump in sales over the holidays, this can be a very cost-effective way to use those extra profits.
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