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Ask the Entrepreneurs: 9 Ways to Keep Bills Down in the Summer Months

Ask the Entrepreneurs: 9 Ways to Keep Bills Down in the Summer Months

Ask The Entrepreneurs is a regular series where members of the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in a area of management, communication, business or life in general.

Here’s the question posed in this edition of Ask The Entrepreneurs:

How do you keep office bills down in the summer months?

1. Keep the Temperature Comfortable

Maren Hogan

    We have the benefit of having a small space to heat and cool, but those bills still come, and it’s always nice if that number is small. But at the end of the day, employees are more productive when they aren’t bundled up or sweating through their shirts. In the summer, we keep it cool and keep working. We all know how frustrating it is to be uncomfortable. It’s a perfectly avoidable situation.

    Maren Hogan, Red Branch Media

    2. Wear T-Shirts and Shorts

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    Matt ehrlichman

      The biggest expense next to rent is HVAC. Porch gives our employees flexibility to dress for their comfort, which generally means no one is boiling in button-up shirts and wool slacks. To enforce it, when I don’t have external meetings, I lead by example and wear my favorite pair of shorts!

      Matt Ehrlichman, Porch

      3. Rotate Fans Clockwise

      Andrew Schrage

        During the summer, fans should rotate clockwise. Also, offering more telecommuting opportunities for your staff during the summer helps, as fewer staff members at the office means reduced energy bills. Requesting an energy audit from your provider can also help you find other ways to reduce energy costs.

        Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

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        4. Provide in-Office Beer

        Robert J. Moore

          We keep a dual-tap kegerator in our company kitchen that is always stocked with high-quality beer. This means that most company “outings” take place in the office, which allows team bonding to happen more often while keeping bar tabs low.

          Robert J. Moore, RJMetrics

          5. Have Summer Fridays

          Brittany Hodak

            Celebrating “Summer Fridays” — letting your employees work half-day Fridays between Memorial Day and Labor Day — is a great way to boost morale and job satisfaction while trimming your summertime office cooling hours by 10 percent! Motivated employees will work harder on Friday mornings to ensure they’re ready to go home by lunch, and you’ll save cooling costs without sacrificing workplace productivity.

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            Brittany Hodak, ‘ZinePak

            6. Run a Virtual Company Year-Round

            Chuck Cohn

              If you run a virtual company year-round, you never have to worry about office bills. Save the money that you might spend on office space, and pass along the savings to your customers. If you can provide the best product and the lowest price, your company will do well.

              Chuck Cohn, Varsity Tutors

              7. Designate a Day to Work From Home

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              Andrew Saladino

                To save on operational costs, we select a few days each month in the summer that we all work from home. It gives employees the chance to run errands and get personal things done, and we save money on utility bills and other costs since the office is closed.

                Andrew Saladino, Just Bath Vanities

                8. Have a Three-Day Office Week

                Allow employees to work from home on Mondays and Fridays. It greatly reduces our overall electricity bills during the hot summer months.

                Jeff Wright, Phusion Projects LLC

                9. Quote the Oracle

                Sam Saxton

                  Whenever I read about some company undertaking a cost-cutting program, I know it’s not a company that really knows what costs are about. The really good manager does not wake up in the morning and say “I’m going to cut costs today” any more than he wakes up and decides to start breathing.

                  Sam Saxton, Salter Spiral Stair and Mylen Stairs

                  More by this author

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                  Trending in Money

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                  Last Updated on March 4, 2019

                  How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

                  How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

                  Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

                  I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

                  Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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                  Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

                  Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

                  Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

                  I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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                  I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

                  If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

                  Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

                  The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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                  Using Credit Cards with Rewards

                  Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

                  You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

                  I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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                  So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

                  What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

                  Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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