We go through paper and computer ink like crazy around our house. It seems the kids are always printing out coloring pages, or I am printing coupons or home school resources.
Paper and ink can get expensive though, so here are some ways we save money printing.
I have a huge binder of scrap paper. This can be anything from old mail to pages that didn’t print correctly to worksheets we never finished. When the kids want a piece of paper I direct them to this folder. Unless it is something important or a letter they are mailing, scrap paper works fine. It is also great for printing coupons. Just make sure the paper is in your printer correctly so the coupons print on the clean side.
Print two pages per sheet
Did you know that you can set your printer to print two pages on one piece of paper? This works well for items you need to file and save as well as printing out answer keys for homeschooling worksheets.
Recycle your empty ink cartridges
If you are a Staples Rewards member you can recycle ANY ink cartridge – no matter which brand! This includes Brother®, Epson® and Canon ink or toner cartridges, up to 10 per calendar month per customer and receive $3 back in Staples Rewards per cartridge. There might be other programs like this, but we live near a Staples so this is the one we use. I still haven’t figured out how to save big money on replacing the ink cartridges, although this article from PC World is a starting point.
Set your printer to the lowest quality setting
Most if not all printers have settings that allow you to print using less ink. I use this setting on almost everything I print.
Print on the front and back of your paper
Unless you have really fancy printer this takes a little extra time but it saves paper and you will have less paper clutter.
Shred your paper and junk mail and use it as mulch
This is a great way to recycle paper and put those credit card offers to good use.
Create master lists and reuse them
Many times I have taken lists and covered them in contact paper to be able to reuse them over and over. You can use a dry erase marker to write on the contact paper, then wipe off and reuse.
Store files on a hard drive rather than a filing cabinet
I try to do as much as possible online to cut down on my mail and postage costs. Many documents (especially from the bank) can be stored on a hard drive rather than printed. We have a separate hard drive so if one of our computers freaks out, we don’t lose our files.
Find deals on photo printing instead of printing at home
I have a photo printer and must admit I love the convenience of printing off my own photos at home, but I can save money by finding deals and having them printed somewhere else. Walgreens and Kodak Gallery flood my inbox with photo printing deals on a daily basis. It is cheaper to have them printed rather than using up expensive ink and good quality photo paper.
When purchasing a printer check the cost of the ink
Honestly, I am telling this to myself more than anyone else. The ink for our last printer was outrageous! I was almost happy when the printer broke because I wouldn’t have to buy the very expensive ink cartridges anymore. Also, it had this annoying feature that when one cartridge went out it wouldn’t print anything… nice! You had to replace all the cartridges, not just the one that was empty. When looking for a new printer check the price of the ink before you buy!