Buying a home printer is more affordable than ever before. Printers that can print photos, scan documents and make copies in a flash are now easily to find under $100, when just a few years ago the same features might have cost you several hundred. However, many users know that the costs can add up if you’re not careful about how you print at home. From the paper to the ink, there are ongoing costs that you need to consider when you tackle various printing jobs. Use these tips to save money when you’re using your printer at home.
Get the Right Printer
The first step in saving money is to purchase the printer that actually works best for your needs. You can spend a lot more than you need to on features you really don’t need if you fail to check out the specifications. Consider what you really need (most home users don’t need fax capabilities or multiple paper feed trays, for example) and then buy a machine that fits the bill. That way, you won’t overspend on features you’ll never use anyway.
Look at Ink Costs
There’s a hidden secret to the home printer industry: ink cartridge price gouging. You might find a printer that seems like an absolute steal when it comes to the price. However, that printer could require you to purchase an ink cartridge that’s wildly overpriced, effectively undoing the initial savings you got by purchasing the printer itself.
To make sure you’re getting a good deal, look at both the cost of the printer and the associated ink cartridges. You’ll want to divide the printer’s page yield (how many pages one cartridge can produce) by the cost of the cartridge. Let’s say you find out that your printer’s ink cartridge will cost you about 6 cents per page. Now, compare that with other cartridges. If you find that other cartridges have per-page costs closer to 3 or 4 cents, you might want to reconsider whether that affordable priced printer is really so affordable in the long run.
Choose the Best Paper for Your Needs
Are you looking to send out resumes for a serious job search? By all means, make sure you splurge on nice paper for your resume handouts. However, most home users will find that most of the jobs they complete on their printer don’t require such fancy sheets. In fact, you can get by with very economical paper for just about everything you need at home, including printing out purchase confirmations, receipts, tickets, essays and itineraries. There’s no reason to overspend on paper that you’ll likely just throw away or recycle in a matter of days. Unless it’s something truly important where you need to really make a great impression, stick to the cheapest paper available for your printing jobs.
Print Photos Elsewhere
As much fun as it is to print off photos at home at the touch of a button, the truth is that the ink you use to make those physical snapshots is much costlier than having them printed at the drugstore down the street. There are such amazing deals on printing these days that you should save your at-home photo printing only for very special photos or the ones you just can’t wait to hang on the walls. For printing off dozens of photos from your kiddo’s birthday party or your latest vacation, save your money by having them printed by the third party. Drugstores like Walgreens and online retailers like Shutterfly frequently have photo printing coupons and promotions, so if possible, wait until the next big sale to really save on your photo printing costs.
Reduce Your Ink Use
There’s a great way to reduce your ink use with just the click of a mouse. The problem is, most people don’t know where to find it. The trick is to go into your printer’s software settings. You should be able to find an option related to print quality, such as eco-mode or draft mode. These options will reduce the amount of ink used to print each page from your printer. Over the course of many printouts, you’ll be saving a lot of ink.
This may also come up on your computer when you hit “Print” for a document or other page. In some case, it’s listed as an option on the same page where you can select how many copies you want to print and whether you want the page in black and white or in color. Search carefully for this option so you can use it whenever you’re willing to get a slightly lighter image or grainier text on a basic printing job. It’s a great option for when prime print quality isn’t a concern.
Use these tips to make sure you save money with your home printer. It’s so convenient to have this machine around, especially when you aren’t wasting money on all those last-minute print jobs.