Actors and Office Supplies
This post is about a few ways actors can save money and time on things that every actor needs: office supplies. This means paper for resumes. Staples. Printers. Ink. Headshots. Highlighters. Envelopes. Stamps.
1. Use both sides of the paper for audition sides.
For years I would only use one side of the paper for sides, but a friend recently said to me, “Why not just use the other side for your sides?” “Huh,” I thought. It’s such an easy hack that doubles your paper supply in a second. Give it a try.Office Supplies: 7 Ways Actors Can Save Time and Money #acting #actorslife Click To Tweet
2. When you do buy printer paper, buy in bulk.
When you’re at Staples and probably carrying something like a purse or audition bag, you might not want to carry a huge, heavy box of paper (i.e. the bulk kind.) But if you can make a trip just to get the paper, you’ll end up saving money in the long run. The math looks like this: You can (at the time of this writing) get a Staples 500/ream 8.5″ x 11″ Copy Paper for $6.49 (so, 500 pages for $6.49,) or you can get a Hammermill Copy Plus Copy Paper 8.5″ x 11″ case with 5,000/ream for $14.99. That’s a promotional deal probably, but they have promotions like these all the time. Let’s put it this way. Do you want to pay $0.013 for one piece of paper or $0.003? It all adds up. If you can think longterm, you can save more money, and even time, because you won’t have to make another trip to Staples or somewhere else for a while. Win-win.
2. If you’re in NYC or LA, order the heavy stock headshot (they call it the “Master Photo / Heavy”) at Reproductions where you can print your resume on the back.
Yes, it does cost more upfront for your headshots, and that’s the reason I didn’t try it for a long time. But since I started doing this I’ve never looked back. Here’s why: It’s saved me hours of loading printer paper and cutting down the paper from 8.5″ by 11″ to the standard 8″ by 10″. (Also, I’m not the most crafty person and often it would look like a 3rd grade science experiment gone wrong.) It’s saved me stress from having to use the paper cutters and staplers right before an audition. It allows me to focus on my audition and not on my resume. Also, you can save money on staplers, staples, scissors and the paper cutting board people use as well. I tell my friends about this all the time. I’ve been such a big fan of it since I started using it. Most of them just keep doing what they’re doing. But I always shake my head when they’re waiting in line to use the stapler right before going in to audition.
3. For pens, highlighters, tabs, mailers and more, go to a local dollar store.
This is another easy way to cut costs. Don’t buy most of your supplies at a big box store like Staples of Office Depot. You don’t need a fancy highlighter. Just get them at your dollar store. They’ll definitely be cheaper. And most apartments in New York City are close to a dollar store. If you don’t know where one is, type in your address on Google and “dollar store” to find out where the nearest ones are. I haven’t seen large printer paper in bulk at dollar stores, but if you do see that, that might be a good idea too.
4. Look into third party ink cartridges, but at your own risk.
This is one area that is “proceed at your own risk.” Because, while there have been studies that show that third party inks printed more and cost less, there’s also been cases where it won’t well with your printer and you might have to be refilling ink yourself. I haven’t been willing, personally, to refill the ink myself as that sounds messy and like a bad experience in the making. But if you’re really looking to save some money, as Lincolc Spector in the PC World article I linked to recommends, buy from a company with a good reputation (if you’re buying from Amazon, read the reviews,) and be aware of the risks. I’ve definitely been tempted to do this. If you’ve had a good or bad experience with third party ink, let us know in the comments.
Further reading: Here’s another article on other ways to save on ink: http://www.supermediastore.com/article/u/ten-ways-to-save-on-printer-ink-and-toner-cartridges
5. For stamps, know exactly how much what you’re sending will cost in postage.
For instance, a mistake I made was buying a big roll of Forever stamps ($0.49) when I knew that most of them would be used to send postcards to agents and casting directors. The postcard stamp cost is only $0.35. But I didn’t know that until I had bought the Forever stamps. So it’s good to check on www.usps.com or even go into your local post office and have them weigh what you’re sending so you don’t pay too much. Also, I’ve heard good things about Stamps.com: http://www.stamps.com/postage-online/postage-discounts/
6. Sign up and use the rewards cards where you shop the most.
I’ve found that most of the rewards cards you get from retailers, and have to take a minute to sign up for at the register haven’t been worth it. It usually takes too much of my money to ever make it worth the rewards they offer. But if you know, for instance, you’ll be going to Staples for ink, you should sign up anyway.
I signed up for this 10% off all printer ink rewards card a few years ago that Staples offered, and I believe it was a good deal, as I was buying ink every other month it seemed. But that card’s discontinued now. It’s good to be on the look out for these kinds of deals.
For your postcard:
Do you want your headshot/headshots to be the postcard?
Then image quality might be important to you, in which case Reproductions takes the cake.
Are you on set, or working at a theater and want to let casting directors and agents know you’re out of town?
Might want to go to a local beach, or mountain or scenic touristy place to get a cool postcard to make it more of a traditional postcard experience. Bonus if it’s a beach, as most people in New York City will be jealous you’re at a beach. If you go this route, make sure to staple a a business card with your headshot and contact info on it to the postcard, unless they know you super well. Remember, they see a lot of postcards and actors. Help them out.
Do you know a lot of industry people or only a few?
There are even services I’ve used like AmazingMail.com where you can make your postcard all online, which saves a ton of time if you’re sending to a large list, because they print and send it out for you. (It’s also a bonus if your handwriting is nearly illegible at best, ahem… like me.) Though in my experience the photo quality is a bit subpar.
This is only to start the conversation. I’ll be posting more about postcards later. But check out the three sites I mentioned and see which one fits your budget and desires.
To save money on shipping one time, I ordered postcards from 4over4.com and chose to pick them up because they had an office in Queens. It was a long walk, but well worth it.Office Supplies: 7 Ways Actors Can Save Time and Money #acting #actorslife Click To Tweet
Office Supplies: The Final Chapter
Wouldn’t you read a book called Office Supplies? I would.
Okay, well I hope you got some ideas for how to save money and time on office supplies for your acting career. Of course there are a lot more ideas out there. If you have any hacks or tips that you use, please share it in the comments.