If you’re looking to cut costs while building your business, this list offers plenty of areas to rethink, regroup and reduce spending.

In March’s Marketing and Branding Month, we’ll go deep on agent branding and best practices for spending with Zillow, Realtor.com and more. Top CMOs of leading firms drop by to share their newest tactics, too. And to top off this theme month, Inman is debuting a brand new set of awards for branding and marketing leaders in the industry called Marketing All-Stars.

One important key to success is not just making money but also managing it effectively. I think that’s even more top of mind for agents in today’s economy. I don’t believe agents should spend money they don’t have, especially when they are starting (or even restarting) their business. 

While there is some truth in the adage “you have to spend money to make money,” not all spending is created equal. As a business (which you are), you need to make strategic decisions about where to allocate your resources to maximize your return on investment (ROI). Spending money without fully understanding your actual return on that money (or even the potential return) doesn’t make sense. 

What does make sense is to find ways, both big and small, that you can shave a few dollars and not sacrifice business growth. Are you ready? Let’s go.

1. See you later, Latte

Okay, listen, I know lots of you love fancy coffee, but those daily trips to get your “bucks” fix are adding up to a lot of bucks, am I right? Invest in a high-quality coffee maker to brew your own at home. You’ll not only save money, but you’ll also have more time to sip and savor your morning brew while you’re implementing smart real estate strategies and prospecting for new business. 

2. Go green and paperless

I love a good old-fashioned filing system as much as the next guy, but it’s time to embrace the future and go paperless. A reliable document management system will not only help you save money on printing costs but also reduce your environmental impact. Eco and budget-friendly? Yes, please. 

3. Think outside the marketing box

Traditional marketing methods can be expensive, so get creative with promotions. Host a free seminar for first-time homebuyers or sellers, leverage the power of social media, and partner with other local businesses to co-market your services. The possibilities are endless. 

4. Channel your inner haggler

As a real estate agent, you likely have to incur various expenses, such as brokerage fees, MLS fees, and marketing costs. However, it’s always a good idea to negotiate with vendors to get the best possible deals. 

Shop around, compare prices and negotiate for better terms. I especially love this tip because just this week, on our real estate coaching brainstorm, we had a member say about pricing for one of her marketing tools, “I’m a Realtor; I know how to negotiate. You can bet that you can negotiate with your vendors.” 

5. Shop smart

The internet is full of free and inexpensive resources that real estate agents can use to improve their businesses. For example, you can use free social media platforms to market your services, create a free website or blog to promote your brand, and use free apps and tools to manage your schedule and stay organized. 

6. Network like a ninja

Networking is an important part of being a real estate agent, but it can also be expensive if you’re not strategic. Instead of attending every event, focus on events that are most likely to help you connect with potential clients and business partners. Join local business groups, attend industry conferences and workshops, and volunteer for community events. 

You don’t have to spend a fortune or anywhere near it to be a success in this business. I’ve seen success story after success story build their foundation and a referral network of clients that they can count on by doing the basics, prospecting consistently, farming strategically and streamlining their systems. 

There’s a reason we keep our real estate coaching prices as low as they are. We don’t want money to be a factor in any agent’s growth. You can learn, build skills and be part of bigger communities without spending thousands — and you should. 

You are your business. You don’t have to break the bank to invest in yourself and your skills.

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