Musings from the CU Suite

Apr 17, 2012

Saving Money: Any Good Ideas?

Written by Anthony Demangone

I'm currently in the little slice of heaven known as Key West, Florida.  I'm attending NAFCU's CEOs and Senior Executives Conference.  I hope to blog on some of the tid-bits I learn from the week.

But for now, I see myself surrounded by tropical drinks, sunscreen, and sandy beaches.  It tends to suck the motivation out of me.  I don't know how folks who live here get anything done.

With that in mind, I need your help.  I'm guessing that between the 1,000-plus readers who suffer through my rants, there are a ton of great ideas on how credit unions can save money.   Send me your ideas or email me, and I'll compile them and share.

While I have an ounce or two of energy left, please let me start things off.  Here are some ideas we've used this year at NAFCU to shave a few dollars off expenses.

  1. Time value of money.  You may work with an outside strategic planning facilitator, consultant, or some other third party.  Perhaps the contract says that you'll pay them within three weeks of the event.  Some contracts have you pay half of what you owe now, and the other half later.  If you are comfortable with the third party's reputation and work product, you may want to consider paying them everything up front in return for a reducation in fee.  Some third parties will value receiving that money sooner rather than later.  If you have the liquidity, it can be a way to save a few bucks.  NAFCU has saved roughly $10,000 this year using this tactic. 
  2. Multi-year discount.  Some software or consulting products might offer you a reduction for a multi-year agreement.  Again, if you are very comfortable with that vendor, this can shave a few bucks off the total cost. Earlier this year, NAFCU found a 15% discount if we went out three years with a particular software license.  Total savings?  $8,000 a year. 
  3. Our fancy printer.  NAFCU purchased a high-end color printer, that does pretty much everything except brew coffee.  We found that it had enough functions for us take some formerly out-sourced printing jobs in-house.  Savings?  So far, roughly $6,000.
  4. Watch out for auto-pilot. We're looking at existing contracts.  By simply reaching out to our third parties and reviewing what they offered against what we need, we've been able to save money by ending components of some contracts that had been renewing on auto-pilot.  In one  case, we're saving more than $20,000 per year. 
  5. Umm, is anyone using this anymore?  NAFCU had bottled water.  We also had a number of filter stations that produced...filtered water.  I asked whether anyone really had a huge need for the bottled water?  No one did.  Savings?  Roughly $3,500 a year. 

I like finding these kinds of savings, because we're saving without giving up anything that we need.  I know you guys can do better than that. Please send me your cost savings ideas, and I'll compile and share. 

Have a great week, guys. Now, I wonder where I can find one of those drinks with the tiny umbrellas in it?