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Save Money On Ink For Your Printer

Updated on June 10, 2011

What used to be deemed an office supply has now become a home necessity - ink for your printer. A typical black ink cartridge for my printer runs $30 or so. I think that is very expensive. As companies try to work "greener" and still cut costs they email things more and more rather than mailing or sending them home with the kids (my school no longer sends home any flyers). They are essentially passing on the printing costs to you. The last time I bought ink I noticed a wide range of selections and prices. Some were more than what I had to purchase and some were less. Regardless, this is a purchase I would like to save as much money on as I can. Here are eight ways I have found to save money on printer ink.

  1. Shop around and watch for deals. I hesitate to say "sale" because ink doesn't frequently go on sale - at least not the kind I use. I think the prices are very regulated by the companies. I do see deals though. Target recently had a deal giving out a $5 gift card when you purchase an HP ink cartridge pack. Before Christmas, Office Max had a deal that if you bought two cartridges you got a $15 iTunes gift card. I try to take advantage of these deals whenever I can to at least help offset my costs in other areas. For instance, the iTunes gift card became a Christmas gift for my brother and the $5 Target gift card helped buy essentials such as milk and bread.
  2. Shop online. There are many, many sites online that sell ink. There prices are sometimes cheaper than local stores, even after shipping. On top of that you can sometimes get free shipping and can also shop through cash back sites such as eBates to get a percentage back on your purchase.
  3. Get your cartridges refilled. You can typically refill a cartridge once or twice. It does take longer than just walking in and purchasing a new cartridge, but only by a few minutes. At a 50% savings I effectively "made" $90 an hour by spending an extra 10 minutes getting a refill that saved me $15 off the price of a new one.
  4. Purchase a printer that uses less expensive ink. I have yet to see anyone look into how much refill cartridges cost when purchasing their new printer. But it should be done. Even if there is only a $5 difference in ink cartridges from one printer to the next, over the life of the printer you could save hundreds of dollars.
  5. Be very careful what you print. Cut and paste exactly what you want printed into a Word document, rather than printing the whole page. Don't print the entire three page email, but just the page you really need (I am thinking about order summaries and such that are long, but you only really need the top part). Try to read stuff on the computer and get out the outdated pencil and paper to write down the directions to a new friend's house rather than automatically print extensive directions and maps in full color.
  6. Use black ink only. Have you ever noticed when you purchase an ink pack (one that contains both a black cartridge and a color cartridge) that the black cartridge has twice as much ink as the color one? Color ink is very expensive compared to black, so use only black whenever you can.
  7. Print in grayscale. This uses less ink than in full color. Basically your words will not be as dark, which means the printer doesn't use as much ink to print it. I can always read things just fine, but if you were turning something formal in you can easily change the settings back. After you select print, go to properties and an option should be color, in which you can print in black only, full color, or grayscale.
  8. Don't automatically replace your cartridge when the printer tells you to. When my printer says I need to replace my cartridge I start looking for a deal. I do not actually replace them until my papers are not printing right. I can usually go a few weeks between when the printer thinks I should change the cartridge and when I think I need to change it.


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    • Silence Dewgood profile image

      Silence Dewgood 6 years ago from Eastern Kentucky

      Will be checking out your future hubs. You answered a number of questions I had about the subject. Tip number eight has relieved alot of anxiety on my part as now I have some idea of when it will REALLY run out. I assumed it might be the next page or two from when the notice came up! Number seven should be a real money saver as what I need for myself for convenience or reference need not be fancy, just legible.

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 6 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Great tips.

    • katrinasui profile image

      katrinasui 6 years ago

      A useful list. Thanks jenifer.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for this wonderful help.

    • Ms Dee profile image

      Deidre Shelden 6 years ago from Texas, USA

      A useful list! Helpful to get your estimation in savings.

    • samsons1 profile image

      Sam 6 years ago from Tennessee

      voted up and useful! Well written and concise. I liked the last reason (#8)...