Limiting expenses is a major part of developing your business, especially in times like these. There are countless ways to drastically change your situation, and other, more elusive approaches that will keep you afloat in still waters. The key is to see how much youre spending and work at saving most of it.

Here are some tips to help you handle expenses without limiting your lifestyle:

Write up a plan and stay with it.
After looking over your current financial state and thinking of ways to save, jot down a detailed plan for eradicating expenses and stay with it. After you work on your plan (reorganizing your business system, turning down utilities, etc.), schedule regular meetings to make sure everybody is on the same page.

What does your current financial state look like?
Before you make any drastic changes to your situation, you have to know how much youre spending. Put your expenses into four quadrants: taxes, savings, emergency fund, and necessities. Draw up charts that visually depict where your money goes so that you have a better understanding of what is holding you back. Then put all of your power into cutting each section down to a bare minimum.

Break bad habits.
You shouldnt stop buying, but stop the way you go about buying it. Does it make sense to purchase ten individual pieces of X product when you could just order the case at a much cheaper price? Scan the local papers and even the net for special coupons, and order the things you use the most in bulk. If you keep on reordering from a wholesale supplier, negotiate a better discount. The majority of suppliers will bargain with long-term customers.

Stay lean in the workplace.
Does everybody turn off the lights and shut down the computers when they head out the door? What about printing in black ink only instead of color? What about recycling used paper? Are you using real cups instead of paper ones? What about emailing instead regular mail? What about shutting off the AC, even when its not that hot outside? All of these minuscule changes around the office will save you thousands without radically changing how you run things.

Combine business functions.
Accounting, finance, human resources and office management are necessities that must be done, but that doesnt mean you have to hire professionals for each task. Cross train your employees to handle the work, or if youre bombarded with the workload, hire part-time help.

Buy new software.
I know it sounds backwards to go on about lowering your expenses by buying new software, but new technology and general office equipment is cheaper and smaller. One prime example is how much LCD monitors have dropped in price. They even use less wattage and will save you hundreds in the long run.

Stay ahead of due dates.
The best way to lose money is to screw up the billing process. Stay on top of your accounting game to collect money when its due. Charge clients extra for paying late.

Watch your credit card bills.
Using money that you dont have can lead to disastrous consequences that increase the overall cost. Pay your bills on time, even if you have to use money thats intended for something else, especially if the interest rates are above ten percent.