“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.
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.
- Research the cost of replacement cartridges BEFORE buying a new printer.
- 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.
- 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.
- Know that most new printers come with skimpy “starter” cartridges. These ink cartridges do not contain as much ink as new cartridges.
- Buy high-capacity ink cartridges if you do a lot of printing. While these cartridges are more expensive, the cost per print drops considerably.
- 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?”