Churches can save money by buying discounted books, Bibles and church ware along with applying the following money saving strategies. This list contains some of the best strategies I know for how churches can save money.
Some time ago I devoted seven years to working in various roles with a couple of Christian bookstores in Texas: Bailey’s Bookstore (previously known as Sentinel Bookstore) and Sunset Bookstore (later known as Bible Mart). At the time, Bailey’s was one of the largest independently owned Christian bookstores in the nation and Sunset Bookstore specialized in providing books, Bibles and church supplies at discounted prices. During my time at the two businesses I assisted the staffs of hundreds, if not thousands of churches in their ordering of books, Bibles and church supplies as calls were received from all over this country as well as mission points in other nations. While neither business exists now, that experience, mixed with my own frugal tendencies, leads me to recommend the following resources that will help churches with money saving strategies.
- For a very good selection of Bibles at discount prices, where you may search by version, format, cover type, etc., go to CBD’s Bible page.
- The most economical way to order Bibles in case lot is through American Bible Society. They have great prices on Bibles in general and especially when ordering in quantity.
- When ordering individual books, the most economical way to do so is usually through Amazon.
- When ordering multiple copies of a title, it is usually most cost effective to order through Christian Book Distributors. They provide good service at discounted prices.
- For any church with small groups there is an excellent search engine available through Christian Book Distributors. Small group study guides and DVD series may be searched for based on topic, biblical text, number of lessons, etc. This site is also quite helpful given the discounts it gives and one’s ability to order a large quantity if needed from one source. Check out my link to Christian Book Distributor’s Small Group Resources.
- For communion cups and various church supplies check out this Church Supplies page. Communion cups are discounted 22% for a box of 1.000 and 40% for a case of 12,000. If this is the first time you have ordered this particular brand of cups it would be good to begin with just one box as there are more than one size of cups being manufactured. With one box you can confirm whether it is the size of cups you are accustomed to using. Now, in my experience the best quality plastic communion cups are made by Artistic Manufacturing as they are less likely to stick together in the packaging; however, they are more expensive.
- For communion trays, offering trays and all church ware, in my experience Artistic Manufacturing is very well made and the most used. While I recommend this brand, I am not aware of any way to find great savings on the product. For a convenient way to order go to CBD’s Artistic Church Ware page.
- Many churches are using The Story material. The hardcover book has a retail price of $19.99 but is available for $5.99 each.
- For many supplies, from lemonade mix to grape juice, markers and pens, Sam’s Club is a great alternative if you have one nearby. Churches can qualify for membership cards that allow non-taxable purchases. Costco and B. J. Wholesale are viable options as well.
- Other tips for how churches can save money:
- Replace lights that are on continually (like outdoor lighting) with the newer bulbs that use less wattage.
- Consider installing timer switches in parts of the facilities that multiple groups use and tend to leave lights, air conditioning or heaters running.
- Make sure there is a person or persons assigned to changing HVAC filters regularly. This is the #1 maintenance need for one of the most expensive items to replace in the facilities.
- Avoid color copies as much as possible. Perhaps a colored cover is warranted for some special publication, but color throughout such printings can become quite costly.
- Avoid mailing out newsletters and correspondence if they can easily be distributed in conjunction with a weekend assembly.
- Churches can save money by using programmable thermostats for areas of the facilities that are used fairly routinely on certain days and times (i.e., the sanctuary).
- Pastors/Ministers should consider becoming a member at Sam’s Club for just $45 and then receive great savings throughout the year. The London Fog trench coat I wear was purchased years ago at Sam’s for about 75% off retail. The Savane dress slacks I wear were purchased at Sam’s for 70% off and even the Van Heusen dress shirts I have, were purchased at Sam’s for 75% off! You can fairly quickly receive enough savings to cover the yearly fee.
photo credit: Gerry Dincher, Cameron United Methodist Church via Flickr cc License – 10/5/15 with no changes