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Lidl saved £150,000 a year on receipts

Do you have any business savings stories? Big or small welcome!

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Morning all,

The story in the Times yesterday (£ - sorry!) that switching to smaller receipts helped budget supermarket chain Lidl save £150,000 on paper costs caught my interest.

It reminded me of the story a few years back where a 14-year-old put forward an idea that could potentially save the US government $234m in printing costs by changing typeface on its documents.

Closer to home, have you or your clients put any simple measures in place that have saved a business ££? They don't have to be worth millions! Or have you tried something that ended up costing more?!

Thanks as ever,


Replies (19)

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By Roland195
18th Nov 2019 12:00

Did ye aye? - Are they accounting for the costs involved?

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Image PN
By Mr Hankey
18th Nov 2019 12:28

I don't like waste one little bit, so before I go away on holiday I go round and make sure to take all the batteries out of the clocks.

Thanks (3)
Replying to Mr Hankey:
By memyself-eye
18th Nov 2019 13:05

I take the battery out of my watch every night.

Thanks (1)
By Bob Loblaw
18th Nov 2019 12:33

I've saved an absolute fortune on social expenses over the years by being incredibly dull and not being invited out anywhere.

Thanks (6)
Hallerud at Easter
18th Nov 2019 12:38

My saving schemes are not novel or interesting, merely what anyone in the role does, every so often look at costs, so things like:

1. buy toilet roll and hand towels by the pallet, price is over a third less than we were previously paying on a local trade account, savings circa £1,000 p.a.

2. biscuits no longer provided in office for staff/meetings (I do on odd occasions buy a packet for particular meetings and we will likely be awash over Christmas), savings circa £1,000 p.a.

3. recent review of telephone land line needs discovered lines that really were no longer needed, savings look to be about £1,500 p.a.

4. general reviews of water billings and metering always ongoing as is tendering for gas/electric- hard to know what we would pay for these if we did not do this.

5. draft licences to occupy in house for smaller value routine/replicate style leases, saving solicitors fees on leases that are only 12 months long- saving likely > £10,000 p.a.

Catch is all the above are fairly routine, the innovative ones are say more designing property into individual units of a size so that tenants do not pay small business rates, fitting light sensors into corridors where we have the electric liability (inclusive rent units- payback was less than a year).

My favourite was not mine and was years ago- a client paid a fortune in cash handling to its bank in the early 1990s, turnover circa £1.5 m mainly cash back then (pubs) ,they opened a building society account who did not charge for cash re lodgements and every day banked all the takings in the B Soc and next day drew a B Soc cheque for the full takings and banked in the company bank account .

Thanks (1)
Replying to DJKL:
By Accountant A
20th Nov 2019 14:48

DJKL wrote:

2. biscuits no longer provided in office for staff/meetings (I do on odd occasions buy a packet for particular meetings and we will likely be awash over Christmas), savings circa £1,000 p.a.

I always remember some senior person sent a memo round saying they were stopping biscuits at staff meetings. The memo said something along the lines of "It will save £x pa, need I say more!.

He got the shove a few months later - presumably when someone realised they could make an even bigger saving by getting rid of him!

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By James Green
18th Nov 2019 12:39

Years ago my wife (who’s a nurse) said “why don’t you print everything double sided?”

Blindingly obvious, but I’d never thought of it.

Across the whole office it saved £7k a year.

(We now just pdf so saved the other £7k)

Thanks (1)
By Justin Bryant
18th Nov 2019 12:44

It makes you wonder how many £bns could be saved by making Government agencies like HMRC more efficient (there is virtually no incentive for them to be efficient). I would suggest they allow the public to invest in their big money tax litigation (given HMRC's 90% win rate, it's a no-brainer).

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Replying to Justin Bryant:
By Tax Dragon
18th Nov 2019 13:09

By definition, the tax-paying public (in general) wins when HMRC wins.

That's the whole "in the public interest" point that is currently being debated/established.

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Hallerud at Easter
18th Nov 2019 12:50

Forgot another one- when we owned the flats they all got painted with boring magnolia emulsion, we had 61 flats so each year a few would come up for a repaint. Our local paint company (Johnstones) used to have promotions every so often where magnolia was discounted, at which juncture we would buy as much as permitted by the deal, stick it in store, confident that it would get used up during next 12 months or so.

I actually got a voucher from them last week offering 50% off next purchase, catch is the discount was from list and we already have a decent discount of circa 30%, however if we had a project coming up I would certainly have bought the lot in one go- in effect the business equivalent of coupon shopping.

Same applies with light tubes, starters, silicon etc- if someone has an offer on something you often buy grab it.

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Replying to DJKL:
By Roland195
18th Nov 2019 14:19

Is that not how you end up with a warehouse, a night watchman, a senior night watchman to supervise, a manager to manage the watchmen, an HR department & a new director in short order?

All to save a few quid on tins of paint.

Thanks (2)
Replying to Roland195:
Hallerud at Easter
18th Nov 2019 15:12

Nope- you just start out as a commercial property group with spare space near your office that really cannot readily be let. Then to cap it all there are these days only four of us working out of a 2,000 sq ft office so also awash with spare office space.

Re multiplying employees it does not happen, apart from the absentee owners, these days it is just me - manager, accountant, head of legal, lease interpreter and drafter, head of HR (except these days there is nobody but me) , typist, filing clerk, sometime coffee maker and general dogsbody- basically everything except dealing day to day with the tenants (we share offices with our property managers who do that bit which adds the other three).

Savings in my experience tend to come in dribs and drabs, there is rarely one single big saving but instead many smaller ones- if I could save say only £500 a year on one thing I would, save same with another and another and they all start to add up- one of the reasons we make decent profits every year.

Thanks (1)
Jennifer Adams
By Jennifer Adams
19th Nov 2019 17:36

Husband and I both work from home so when his well loved and old 'J' registration car (yes... you read that right!) went to the great scrapheap in the sky (actually we took it down to the local college where it is being used to train students in car mechanics) we decided not to get another car.
Saved a fortune.
Working from home means saving on clothes - I can slum around in old jeans and sweatshirt and no one notices.

Thanks (1)
Replying to Jennifer Adams:
Hallerud at Easter
19th Nov 2019 18:40

I am going to predict you were driving something like a Merc estate, a BMW or an Audi from the days when they were nearly bulletproof, either that or a rarely driven and pampered lesser marque - what make/model was it that did 28 years?

My 1991 Merc 300 estate managed a bit over 250,000 miles when the auto box went and I limped it from just south of Jonkoping to Esjberg and then traded it at Ipswich under the scrappage scheme that was then running . I thought mine was pretty good as that was in 2009 when it was 18 but if you have just dropped your car now that is very impressive re a 1991 car. (Though my scimitar SS1 is a 1987, but it has spent most of the last ten years in pieces)

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By penelope pitstop
22nd Nov 2019 02:33

I never use my brakes when I am driving!

Brake pads are the original ones from 15 years ago.

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By Donald MacKenzie
22nd Nov 2019 11:01

When FD of a cleaning company the Ops Director told me if I gave him a good lunch he would tell me how to turn a £200 spend into a £10k annual saving.
After the food and lots of drink (this was early 90's) he suggested we get a joiner to lower all the loo roll dispensers in a large client building by about 8 inches. Each tug would pull off two sheets instead of three and save loadsamoney.
I authorised the work. It worked.

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By Caber Feidh
22nd Nov 2019 21:54

In reply to DJKL and others with their re-use and recycle suggestions:

When I was a wee lad at the end of the Second World War (the one that ended in 1945) I remember butter being sold by the grocer in lumps that were beaten into an approximate brick shape with wooden paddles and then wrapped in greaseproof paper. Then that butter coated paper was used to line baking tins. Thereafter it was used as a firelighter (back in the days of open coal or wood fires). And I think there was even a fourth stage in that lifecycle that I can no longer remember.

Going back to the original post: my local Waitrose now asks at the checkout if I want a receipt - their no receipt saves more money than Lidl's little receipt.

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By whitevanman
22nd Nov 2019 23:06

I heard from a very reliable source that, some years ago, the financially concerned Board of HMRC, worried about giving the taxpayer full VFM, decided that only 80% of staff were in the office at any one time. So, they could have a building kitted out for (say) 2,400 and fit in 3,000 staff. To accommodate this, no-one had a specific desk etc to sit at. Rather, they each had to find a space on arrival at the office and then move their own pedestal of drawers etc to the vacant spot. They then had to log on to phone and computer systems. At the end of the day they did the same in reverse.
The staff did a quick poll and discovered that, typically, everyone spent about 20 minutes per day on this. Spread across 3,000 fairly well paid individuals, the estimated salary cost of this time was around £2m pa (possibly more) with an quantifiable loss due to work not done etc.
The good news was that in taking this action, the department saved nearly £300,000 pa on rent. So, a winner!
Almost like an election promise!

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Replying to whitevanman:
By coops456
04th Dec 2019 10:29

Hotdesking is very common now, particularly where the office occupies expensive London real estate. I worked for a bank which adopted hotdesking when we moved to a new building.

It worked really well, you just booked your desk for the following week as required. Our dept was based in a certain floor and zone, and each of us had a locker in that area. Collect your box of stuff from the locker, go to desk and login to phone and PC. Simples. There's no reason it should take 20 minutes.

And one side effect was better team cohesion, as you could be sitting next to anyone in the dept rather than being stuck with the annoying one who eats crisps so loudly you want to kill them!

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