By Emily Suess

If you’re looking to tighten up your budget, consider these places that small business owners repeatedly and unwittingly let money slip through their hands.

1. Office Supplies

Do you really need to supply your business with all of those sticky notes? Probably not. And, sure, it’s a lot of fun to laminate all the things you can, but it’s probably not necessary. Examine how much you spend on supplies and look for ways to shrink that line item on your expense report. Use less paper, take a few minutes to shop around for the smartest deals, and reuse and recycle whenever possible.

2. Advertising

Advertising fees – particularly on social media – can add up quickly. If you set a daily budget and let your ads run for months without checking their effectiveness, it’s as good as pouring money down the drain. Track your stats and pull the plug on any advertisements that aren’t performing well.

3. Credit Card Fees

When you miss a payment, exceed your limit, or sign up for cards without paying attention to the annual fee, you might really pay the price. But on the reverse side, if you accept credit card payments from customers you could also be paying too much. Read the fine print and find out how much of your profits are being eaten up by these fees.

4. Subscriptions

Sometimes it’s easier to renew a subscription than it is to cancel one. However, if you’re no longer reading a particular magazine or logging on to a subscription site. it’s time to cut the cord. Review your monthly subscription fees and cancel any that don’t directly benefit you or your business.

5. Membership Dues

Sometimes work gets so busy that you no longer have time to be an active member of the trade organizations you’ve belonged to for years. Rather than spend hundreds of dollars for several different memberships, choose one or two organizations to which you can contribute enough time to make a real difference. You’ll save money, and as an added bonus you won’t feel guilty for missing out on obligations.

6. Smartphone Charges

When was the last time you actually looked at the detailed description of the charges for your smartphone? Do you frequently exceed your data plan and end up paying extra? Would your team benefit from switching plans or changing carriers? Don’t be afraid to ask a customer service representative for a more competitive deal.

7. Utility Bills

Remember when you were a kid and your Dad yelled at you for leaving all the lights on? He actually had a pretty good reason for that. Over time the money you save by conserving energy can really add up. Not mention it’s better for the environment.

8. Excessive Inventory

Resist the urge to buy inventory in bulk for a better deal. It won’t actually save you any money unless you are sure you can move it. Buy only what you are able to sell, because putting everything on clearance is not a sound business strategy.

What ways have you tried to patch the leaks in your business finances?