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How to Save Money on Printing Costs

Inkjet Cartridges

“This printer is costing me a fortune,” Beth bemoaned to me on a recent service call. “Replacing the ink cartridges practically cost more than the printer did, and they don’t last very long. How can I save money on all the printing that I do?”

If you own an inkjet printer, you probably experience the same frustration. Printers are the biggest money pit of owning a computer.

An Interesting Find

The cheaper the printer, the more expensive the ink cartridges report studies by various industry watchdogs. This is due, in part, because many inkjet printers are sold at or below what it costs to manufacture it, with the hopes of making a profit from the sale of replacement ink cartridges.

Cost-Saving Suggestions

While there’s no magic bullet that will save you boatloads of money on your printing, there are a few suggestions to consider that can save you a few dollars throughout the year.

  1. Research the cost of replacement cartridges BEFORE buying a new printer.
  2. Look for an inkjet printer that has individual cartridges for each color, as opposed to having multiple colors in one cartridge. This way you aren’t throwing away a partially used ink cartridge just because one color is empty.
  3. Consider using recycled or remanufactured inkjet cartridges. These can offer a savings of as much as 75%. However, be forewarned that recycled or remanufactured ink cartridges may not work properly with all printers and sometimes do not produce as good a quality as a manufacturer’s ink cartridge. Check the seller’s return policy before buying such cartridges.
  4. Know that most new printers come with skimpy “starter” cartridges. These ink cartridges do not contain as much ink as new cartridges.
  5. Buy high-capacity ink cartridges if you do a lot of printing. While these cartridges are more expensive, the cost per print drops considerably.
  6. Consider buying a laser printer for either of these reasons:

Another one of my clients, Don, found out that his inkjet cartridge had dried up because he hadn’t printed anything in a couple of months. Inkjet cartridges dry up with infrequent use – rendering them useless. If you don’t print frequently, an inexpensive laser printer is the better solution because the toner cartridges don’t dry up.

A second reason to consider buying a laser printer is if you mostly print black and white documents. After the initial purchase, the cost per copy of a laser printer is usually much cheaper than an inkjet printer.

Finally, the easiest way to save money on printing costs is to ask yourself, “Do I really need to print this?”

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Avoid Getting Ripped Off on Black Friday

Black Friday 2012

Christmas is just 42 days away. As Black Friday and Cyber Monday draw closer, you will be bombarded with TV and print advertisements from all the major retail stores touting the “great deals” offered if you roll out of bed at 3 a.m. (or earlier!).

But when it comes to desktops and laptop computers (and even televisions), are these “deals” really saving you money?

The answer is a resounding NO!  For at least 2 reasons, which I will explain.

An October 8 article in Time magazine reported: “While the main supposed draw for Black Friday is good deals and ultra-low priced “door busters,”… pricing studies… highlighted the fact that Black Friday didn’t offer the best value for shoppers, especially when it comes to popular holiday purchases like electronics and toys.”

Did you notice the one key phrase in their statement?  Didn’t offer the best value.

You can buy all sorts of items at low prices. But the real question is, are you getting something of value?

According to website DealNews.com, budget (think cheap) laptops hit an all-time low of $180 on Black Friday last year.

Answer this question honestly:  Do you seriously think you’re buying a quality, long-lasting laptop when it’s priced at only $180?

The only way manufacturers and retailers can offer these computers at such ridiculously low prices is because 1) they’re made with lower-quality components that have a higher failure rate and 2) they’re subsidized by software companies that load up the computer with junk programs that slow the computer down by as much as 40%.

I’ve seen plenty of these cheap computers (desktops and laptops) come into our shop just a few months after they were purchased. They have problems like: the hard drive had crashed (thus causing the user to lose all their data files) or the computer wouldn’t power on because the motherboard died or the power supply had failed.

When you buy one of these cheap computers on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, you’re throwing your hard-earned money away. You save a few bucks now, but end up spending way more in the end – either paying for repairs or having to buy another computer to replace the cheap one.

In this tight economy, can you really afford to not get the best value for your money?

A second reason to avoid the Black Friday/Cyber Monday computer specials is because most of them will come with the new, horrendous Windows 8 pre-installed.

If you’re a regular reader of this column, you’ll remember that on August 7, I detailed why Windows 8 is a nightmare of an operating system for most computer users.

  • The look and feel has drastically changed from what you are used to. They’ve taken away the familiar START button, as one example.
  • It will require you hours to figure out how to do things that you used to be able to do with just a click or two of the mouse.
  • You cannot play DVDs without purchasing the Windows Media Center add-in from Microsoft or using another program to play DVDs.
  • Some of your existing hardware (printers, scanners, digital cameras) and software may not work with the new operating system. Thus you will have for spend MORE money to buy hardware and software that does work with Windows 8.

My complete report about Windows 8 can be downloaded for free from our website at  https://www.calibreforhome.com/Windows8report. (NOTE:  We can still order computers with Windows 7, but your big box store retailers cannot.)

Bottom line is this:  I don’t like seeing people get suckered into buying something that isn’t truly a good purchase and a wise use of their money. I hope you will share this information with your friends and family, so they too can make the right purchase for their next computer.

As always, I’m willing to assist you in making your next computer purchase. Simply call our office at (812) 386-8919 or e-mail me at shartley@calibre-cs.com.