11 Small Ways to Save Big on Ink
Printers are cheap but printer ink is pricey. One-time and day-to-day adjustments can help prevent waste and save money. Try these techniques to lower your office and home cost of ink.
1. Change the font type
Change the default font (often Times New Roman or Arial) to a lighter font, such as Century Gothic that uses less ink. According to an Associated Press article on Yahoo.com, the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay is adopting Century Gothic as the font of choice as a major money-saving move. To change your default font on MS Word, go to Format >> Font, select your font, and save as “Default.”
2. Reduce the font size
Reduce the font size to 10 or less — as long as you and your audience can read text comfortably.
3. Use draft setting
Choose the "draft" or "econo" print setting that uses less ink (making the overall print lighter.
4. Use copy services
Take major print jobs to the copy center at your office or nearby office supply store, where you can get cheap prints for significantly less per page than standard inkjet printing.
5. Get refills instead of buying new
Getting refills cost less than buying new. Be on alert for ink refill days at Walgreens. This year, on Earth Day, April 22, 2010, Walgreens will refill cartridges for $1 with a coupon — check your weekly ad circular for the coupon.
6. DIY refills
DIY refills are available from your favorite warehouse club or eBay. According to my dad, a DIYer, this approach can be messy but cost saving.
7. Recycle cartridges
Recycle cartridges by selling them to companies that buy used cartridges, selling them on eBay, or getting credit at Staples, putting money in your pocket or saving on future purchases. (Staples no longer gives immediate credit but rather gives credit through its rewards program.)
8. Buy remanufactured
Years ago, I tried and then stopped using this approach because my prints were essential components of a finished product and needed to be perfect; remanufactured cartridges dispensed uneven prints, hardly detectable to many but not acceptable quality-wise for me. So test this idea for quality, and make sure you are getting as many prints per cartridge as other options.
9. Use it up
Keep printing on nearly-empty cartridges until there is absolutely no ink left. And, instead of replacing cartridges or refilling ink immediately, change the font color to a color for which the cartridge still has ink (you won’t technically save on ink but you’ll delay spending).
10. Don't print
Use the Document Image Writer or a similar device to create electronic files of receipts rather than printing hard copies. Scan, rather than copy documents. Use a program like CutePDF to create PDF files instead of printing for your records.
11. Print selectively
Print only the information you need by using PrintWhatYouLike or software programs such as GreenPrint or EcoPrint2 as recommended by Nora as an eco-friendly way to save money at the office. Or, you can adjust print settings yourself or copy only the information that you need to a blank document, make adjustments (remove photos and extra lines), and specify print ranges to make sure that you print just what you need and no more.
Another idea: spend more on your printer, less on ink. Some printers may have more economical print settings, wasting less ink than cheaper models. Check prices of printers and ink refills before you buy.