Easy Ways to Save Money on Printer Paper and Ink

by David Bakke

printer2If you’re like me, you try to save money in as many easy ways as possible. You also try to save money on some of the more expensive items that you purchase in your life. I think when it comes to buying printer paper and ink for home computer use, both of these principles apply.

Therefore, I want to go over with you some of the ways that I try to save money in these areas in the hopes that maybe I can save you a buck or two in the future.

Printer Paper

It seems to me that a great percentage of the things that I print at home are really not that important. Sure these are some receipts that I print out that I need to save, but most of the time, the paper that comes out of my printer is almost wasted. It could be the four extra pages that come out when you really only need the first page of something (which I’ll address in a minute), or it’s something that I just need to read and not keep, or there could be a lot of other reasons.

Maybe this concept has already dawned on you, but what about using the other side of the paper? Whenever I print out all of these things that really don’t need to be printed, I usually just flip the paper over and pop it right back into my printer. If you think about it that should really cut your printer paper costs right about in half.

Now, let’s get to those four extra pages of crap that come out whenever you really only need the first page. Without sounding like a conspiracy theorist, it is my firm belief that all of these pages and/or receipts and/or anything else that people need to print are purposely set up to use just the tiniest bit of the next page.

Who is behind this? The people that sell printer paper so they can sell that much more of it. Why else would 90% of the stuff that I print use up one page, plus about one more line? If anyone can give me a reasonable answer, I will come off of my conspiracy theory. Until then, you should utilize the “selection” function when printing.

It’s simple. Whenever printing a receipt or a page that has just a small amount of information that you really need, simply highlight it and then click on print. When that box comes up that always does when you print something, look in the bottom left hand corner and click on the button that says “selection”. This will allow you to print only and exactly what you need, and should eliminate those extra three pages of garbage that comes out after the page you really need.
Finally, if you have any kind of significant printing needs at all, consider buying your paper a case at a time.

Ink/Toner

Doesn’t it just turn your stomach when you have to buy new ink? Isn’t the cost of it absolutely insane? Well, I’ve come up with a few ways to hopefully save you a little in this area.

First, always buy the two-pack when it’s available. This usually gives you somewhat of a discount. Second, always buy the store brand over the manufacturer’s brand. Third, see if you can find a place that will still re-fill your cartridges. Most retailers stopped doing this, but if you can find one, this can save you a bunch. Fourth, always turn in your empty cartridges for a discount. You used to be able to get a free pack of printer paper for each cartridge. Again, a lot of retailers have backed off of this, but they are still worth turning in for whatever you can get for them. Fourth, always look for coupons for the store where you purchase your ink. Even if it’s only 10%, every little bit helps.

I probably print just about as much as the average Joe. Since black ink costs about $30 a pop, color about $50, and a pack of printer paper about $4-$5, my annual expenses are right around $500 for these two items. That’s more than I spend on electricity for my house. If there are ways out there to impact these expenses, I think they’re well worth looking into.

As always, your comments and feedback are greatly appreciated.

{ 6 comments }

1 Forest March 19, 2010 at 10:50 am

Hey, I saw you on the Yakezie twitter list so assume you are joined?

Maximising discounts on paper is something I always neglect to do as have a habit of spending as little as I can!

Great article. Have you also heard about EcoFont? I wrote a little about it here: http://frugalzeitgeist.com/save-money-on-printing/
.-= Forest´s last blog ..FREE DOWNLOAD -Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin =-.

2 David Bakke March 19, 2010 at 10:53 am

Yes, I did join Yakezie.

Thanks for commenting

3 Cajun Chef Ryan March 19, 2010 at 1:41 pm

I agree 100% on the paper and ink. I hardly print anything anymore and only if I need it for backup purposes.
Another recycling tip, though not on the subject of printer paper and ink, but with other paper products. Since I ship some products such as my spices and recipes, just about 95% of my packing material and supplies is from items received in the mail. Bubble wrap, paper filler, tissue paper, most cardboard boxes, Styrofoam peanuts, etc… are all saved and reused when I ship. The other 5% that I do buy is stuff like mailing labels and packing tape.

4 David/Yourfinances101 March 19, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Ryan,

Great tip!

Personally, I re-use my paper grocery bags that I get from my specialty store to do most of my shipping..
.-= David/Yourfinances101´s last blog ..Easy Ways to Save Money on Printer Paper and Ink =-.

5 Brian March 20, 2010 at 12:57 am

How about getting a cheap laser printer for black printing. We’re starting to use a lot of online coupons for grocery shopping and I researched and found out that using a laser printer can be more cost effective than my ink jet. I bought an HP P1006 at a local retail store for $79 and it came with a starter toner cartridge that is said to print about 700 pages. The replacement cartridge is rated for 1500 pages and I found that they can be ordered on Amazon.com for a little over $50 a piece and you can order a two pack for $80 something with free shipping. I still have my fancy color ink jet for the importatnt stuff but the coupon machine prints to the laser and I can even set it to print using econo mode and the toner goes even farther.

6 David/Yourfinances101 March 20, 2010 at 1:43 am

Brian,

That’s another great piece of advice. I never knew that a laser printer could be so cost effective.

That’s the best part about writing this blog–I am always learning something new.

Thanks for commenting.
.-= David/Yourfinances101´s last blog ..Easy Ways to Save Money on Printer Paper and Ink =-.

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