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Print for Pennies: Save on Paper and Ink the Krazy Way!


Don’t you just love all the coupons available online? Fabulous, right? When I first started couponing, I loved hitting the print button and seeing my beautiful coupons rolling out of my printer in full color. It was like printing money in my very own home!

After a month or so, I began to see how much money was slipping away from me in the form of paper and ink cartridges. I started wondering if those coupons were so worthwhile. The answer? Absolutely! With a few simple changes, you can start printing those lovely coupons again without the guilt!

There are basically two ways to save on your printing: paper and ink. Start slowly by changing your habits with one or the other. Or be KRAZY and start chopping your costs on both! Here’s how to do it:

Simple Ways to Save on Paper

  • Become a rewards member at all of your local office supply stores like Staples and Office Max. These stores routinely offer huge rewards back on paper purchases. For example, my local Staples recently had a promotion where rewards members received 100% of their purchase price back to spend on other things in the store. Save those rewards and use them on anything in the store. They have great sales on things like bottled water and paper towels. Or use them on school supplies or gifts. It’s up to you. Either way you’ve bought paper for nothing!
  • Junk mail or children? I get stacks of junk mail daily. My children come home with huge stacks of paper every week. A few things they keep but the majority are probably headed for the recycling bin. STOP! As you review your child’s work, pull out all of the papers that have been printed on one side only. Create a stack of ‘coupon paper’ beside your printer. When you’re ready to print your coupons or even a draft of a letter or project, go to this stack first. I have personally been printing coupons on recycled paper exclusively for almost a year now and have not had a single issue redeeming them. As long as no personal account information is visible, flip that page over and use it again!
  • Three words–back to school!  A few months ago during those wonderful back to school sales, one of the office supply stores had reams of paper for a dollar each. There were $1.00/1 coupons out at the time so I bought six reams to put away for the year. My out of pocket cost was zero and with using the recycled paper so much, we still have five reams to go. My family uses the new pretty white paper only for final school projects and correspondence.

A Few Ways to Save on Ink

  • Refill your own cartridges. About six months ago I started hunting for an alternative to those ridiculously expensive cartridges. Even on sale they are more than I want to spend! I found a cartridge refill kit at my local Walgreens for about $13.00. I had some rewards certificates from Walgreens so I thought I’d give it a try. The cartridges are incredibly easy to refill, and the kits come with simple instructions. I’ve refilled my cartridge seven times now, and I still have ink left. I think this original kit will probably last me another two to three months. So easy and such a bargain! Kits are available in color too!
  • Print in black ink only. Although those colorful coupons are pretty, the black and white version spends just the same for less! I have changed my printer preferences so that everything I print is automatically converted to black ink only. Again no problems at all redeeming my black and white coupons.
  • Watch your printer. If you are watching what you print and see one of those images that prints one tiny coupon and a huge ad below, just hit cancel and save your ink! You are going to cut that part off anyway right? No need to waste your ink.

With just a few small changes you can print for pennies! So what are you waiting on? Fire up that printer and let’s print some coupons!

This has been a guest post by Beth from Lynchburg, VA
Find out more about the KCL Contributor Network!

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72 thoughts on “Print for Pennies: Save on Paper and Ink the Krazy Way!”

  1. Erin Cook says:

    Just a few weeks ago I started printing on the backing of my shipping labels.  I run a small business out of my home selling things via the internet.  I ship about 5-10 packages a day – at 2 labels per page that’s 3-5 label backing pages a DAY I was throwing away – or 9-15 coupons – I could be saving $15 a day or more with that trash!!!  The backing is yellow and you can only print on one side because the other is shiny (where the label was stuck), but that works even better for me: 

    1. I had all this trash. Now it goes in the printer and to the coupon binder instead.
    2.  I was using expensive paper to print coupons.  Now it’s FREE!  My favorite word.  :-)
    3.  I didn’t want to cut every IP coupon out, thinking if I didn’t use it I could print again on the back and recycle that expensive paper.  So many coupons didn’t get used or were a pain to find because they were in a stack of IP pages instead of in my binder.  Now I cut and file without hesitation.  And if I don’t use them, I don’t feel bad tossing the unused ones because they were trash to begin with! 

    I was so proud – I solved many problems at once.  I felt a bit dumb for not thinking of it sooner, though. 

  2. Anonymous says:

    In regards to coupons with the large ads that waste precious ink and paper – set your Preferences to Print Preview. If I see 3 coupons per page, I print using whole sheets. If I see one coupon or a huge ad, I insert half sheet (left over from single coupons). It prints only the one coupon and ejects the paper (the ad doesn’t print).

  3. Anonymous says:

    I wish I was able to refill my ink cartriges….I have an Epson scanner, printer, copier and so far I am unable to buy any of the cheap/generic ink, the remanufactured ink, or any refill kits because they are not compatable with our printer. If anyone knows how, please let me know. We use black 125 or 124 ink.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Just started couponing and I am new to this site. I am lovin it!!  Who knew there were all these deals out there!!
    Anyway, I have an Epson ink jet printer. Hate it. One ink cartridge runs out the thing doesnt pint at all. It has four cartridges!! Haven’t figured out how to get around this. Was told they are not refillable. The coupons skip the print window and always print in color because that is what is on the screen. Need to trick it some how!

  5. Best Buy sells ink at 20% off on Wednesdays. I buy ink for my Epson there and then recycle the cartridges at OfficeMax ($3 back for each cartridge) or Staples ($2 back for each cartridge) and roll those rewards to other office products. I’m saving up for a really nice faux ostrich coupon holder I saw at Office Max! I haven’t found a place that will refill the Epson cartridges and I don’t want to mess with doing it myself. It’s too hard to reset the ‘full indicator’ chip inside the cartridge. 

  6. Mary Smith says:

     I do wish you would put the home tab back up so I can find your newest posts.Please?

  7. Mary Smith says:

    If you have a Radio Shack in your area and don’t refill your cartridges ,they carry refilled cartridges a lot cheaper than the brand name and like one of the others said,I print in grey scale,black only which saves a lot on ink.

  8. Lenae says:

    Buy a laser printer, the ink lasts forever. 

  9. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately, black and white coupons may spend the same as colored ones, but they are NEVER treated the same… ;(

  10. Anonymous says:

     You just have to make sure to turn the paper over so you don’t end up with an ad in the middle of your coupon..

  11. Jennifer Whipple says:

    Thank you for this post!  I literally just researched them based on what you posted here and am now on my way out to get one :)

  12. Ginger C says:

    I purchase refurbished ink cartridges online.  I have bought with great success from Ink Jet Superstore.  I have a Canon all-in-one (MP530) and new the ink cartridges run $18 to $25 each..my printer has 5 ink cartridges (2 black and 3 color).  By purchasing my ink online, I pay approximately $5 to $6 for each cartridge.  I wait until there is a sale and then stock up which also saves on shipping.  I take my empties to Staples and receive a $2 per cartridge store credit.  I use my Staples credits to buy school supplies and such that we need.

    My previous two printers were HP and I found that they would stop working soon after I would use an ink refill kit or use remanufactured cartridges.  I attribute the problem to HP, as my Canon has been great.

  13. I actually print my coupons on three-ring notebook paper. As low as .10 for 200 sheets during the back to school sales. I also print grayscale and fast-draft settings… I have not had any trouble redeeming at Target, CVS, grocery, or anywhere else yet. :)

  14. Vivian says:

    I have my printer default on grayscale, but it still prints color coupons

  15. Anonymous says:

    Also, I have not had any problems using my black&white copies at either of my groceries.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I agree, I’ve been using ink refill kits for years now and have had no problem with my printers. I recently bought one of those fancy all in one printers from Hp and have been using refills on that one too. Savings are amazing!
    Just put those reused papers in backwards and use them, it saves ALOT.
    If you’ve only printed 1 or 2 cpns a page, just put the paper in back to front and you can still print 1 copy only on the bottom, Bingo now you’ve got 3 cpns per page..  Good Luck Saving.

  17. im looking for a new printer any suggestions on a good and cheap printer?

  18. After I started seriously couponing and realizing how much ink was going to cost to continue, I looked into new printers. I needed a new fax machine, so I wanted an all-in-one that wouldn’t eat the money out of my bank account. I found the Lexmark Pinnacle Pro 901. It has a regular retail price of $299, but sometimes Office Depot puts them on sale for $199, plus when I bought mine, they gave me $50 trade for my old broken down printer. The best part is that black ink is only $5 for a cartridge that prints 500 pages. That is a lot of coupons! I made my money back in no time.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Have you tried taking out your color cartridge and just printing with the black ink cartridge in? I tried this on my HP as I tried to change the settings to b&w with no success. Taking out my color cartridge worked for me.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Have you tried taking out your color cartridge and just printing with the black ink cartridge in? I tried this on my HP as I tried to change the settings to b&w with no success. Taking out my color cartridge worked for me.

  21. I buy the refurbished ones on Amazon. I use HP60 only 13.00 for both.

  22. Also check locally for a computer store that refills the laser toners. They can be really inexpensive. It is hard to find one that is wifi though so that cuts down on the options to send from multiple computers to one printer. (aka your smart phone app) 

    Costco also refill ink cartridges for $6 ea

  23. thanks for the tips.  I feel like I am spending soooo much money on ink!

  24. Judy Stone says:

    If you are looking for a different PRINTER, I bought a beautiful HP All-in-One at a Hospice Thrift Store for $5!  You might check “good cause” thrift shops for electronic equipment, ink cartridges, etc.

    I REFILL my own cartridges now.  The first time, it’s quite intimidating.  Second time, much easier. Gets easier each time.  Now I fill a cartridges i just minutes — and that includes getting everything out of the box and putting it back!  There are some good deals for kits online.

    Sometimes, small pieces of PAPER (like a sheet after you’ve clipped 2 coupons off it) won’t feed through the printer without crunching up or jamming, so I lightly tape pieces together.  If I don’t know how or where the coupon will print on a sheet, I will tape enough pieces to make a (roughly) 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet.  If I know where the coupon will print, I tape enough paper together to get the coupon. Be careful, however, that the pieces are put together such that a coupon does not print partially on one pieces and partially on another.  (You might have trouble redeeming a “coupon” that is taped together.)

  25. Keli Blum says:

    Rachel B,  I’m not sure if this will help I had the same problem with my HP printer.  Check to see if you have real life technologies.  if you go to printing preferences
    and to the advanced tab, change real life technologies to off, and then apply the changes. I hope this helps,  or maybe try to look up a phone number for HP to see and they can help. 

  26. Diana Stone says:

    Another way i recycle paper is when a bill or junk mail comes in i take the excess that has nothing printed on it (but not big enough to print a coupon) and use it to write my grocery list or notes on. The envelopes you receive with your bills/junk mail usually has a post-it note size spot underneath the return address that is enough room to write yourself a note and such. I pay my bills online so all of those envelopes that are included are pointless for me. Plus way too many companies waste paper by printing only on 1 side and end up using 2 pages with the 2nd page only having a few lines on it.

    • Idalyne says:

      Some utility companies and banks let you choose paperless statements, if you sign up for that they will just send the bills via email. I always go for paperless statements because I hate having to handle paper bills and having to file them too.

      • Diana Stone says:

        Granted. However in this economy i might not always have the internet to view and pay my bills. I’ve already experienced the lay-off once and losing everything i have. I prefer my bills to be in my face so i know what is going on. Plus as i said, the extra paper i use to make my grocery list and such. So it all works out even if they do use too much paper.

  27. Diana Stone says:

    I do the same thing also

  28. Diana Stone says:

    I owened a Lexmark once. The color cost $32 and black cost $30.. After about a year i wised up and bought an HP which cost $30 for the combo pack.

  29. Aj Lee says:

    I’m also surprised the article didn’t mentioned Laser Printer.

    I switched last year and am happy for it. I also started doing the recycling junk mail too, saves on a ton of paper.

    Haven’t had to use any of my paper I bought last year.

    When I have the middle section of the paper that is blank after I printed 2 coupons on them, I would cut and save the middle sections then once I have 3 to make 1 page, I would tape them together to reuse.

    Now I’ve started gluing the pages together which is so much better.
    I have not had a problem with the coupons.

    • Does your laser printer adjust for smaller sheets? I just make a collection of half/third sheets and when I have enough, I put a stack in my printer. Interestingly enough, when I get one of those ones with the ad on the bottom, the laser printer just stops printing if it runs out of paper length. It works great. I also use those smaller pieces–especially the 1/3 pieces–for notes to school or scratch paper.

  30. Echo says:

    i do the same thing :D

  31. Anonymous says:

    See if this works:

    To change
    your printer settings (this may very slightly between the
    printers):
    1. Go to Control
    Panel
    2. Click on Printers (usually
    under Hardware)
    3. Select which printer you
    want to adjust
    4. Highlight the “Printer” Tab at the top and Select
    “Printing Preferences”
    5. Click on the tab “Print Quality”, Then select
    “Fast Draft” or Quick Print”
    6. Check the box that says
    “Gray Scale” or Black Print Cartridge Only” (Sometimes under a tab
    labeled Color)

    • Jana says:

      Thanks so much! I’ve been wasting so much colored ink and now I can print in greyscale-black ink only! 

    • Kim says:

      Does anyone have instructions how to do this with an iMac?  I’ve never been able to figure it out and my printer won’t print if I take the color cartridges out.

  32. I never thought about printing two pages in 1  good idea i still like my inkjet printer though the cheap brand refills are 6.99 for 2 cartridges but you’ve made me think maybe I can get them cheaper on ebay.I’ve been using the paper in thirds and halves since I started and I’m still using reams of paper I bought several years ago at a sale but good tip on the used mail I always get tons of junkmail and I just put it in the recycle bin but NO more! I’ve never had a problem with black and white coupons either (except at Target where the woman assured me it was a copy Grrrr!)

  33. Sandy D says:

    re: ink refills 
    does it matter which printer you have?  i have Cannon

  34. Sandy D says:

    re: ink refills.  does it matter which brand printer you have?  i have Cannon printer.

  35. . . says:

    watch the big office stores for paper sales.  I got 7 CASES (70 packages total) last year for $7 each case with coupons and an insane sale.  I’ve got enough paper to last me like 7 years.

  36. Anonymous says:

    I am so glad to hear about using the back of paper to print coupons.  I always save paper and recycle it, but I wasn’t sure if the stores would accept coupons printed on it.  Thank you for this tip.  I’m going to try it.

  37. when I’m printing a single coupon that I can actually print twice, I turn the paper upside down and feed it back into the printer, then both coupons are together until I use them on a deal; otherwise, great tips!

  38. Suzanne says:

    Something I’ve found effective: I don’t often have need for color ink itself, so the color ink that came with my printer was barely used. I ran out of black ink long ago, so I print w/the color ink. I recently purchased a new black ink (I’ve had terrible luck with refills. Every time I’ve ever gotten them, I wound up with leaked ink in my printer), and started printing again. I immediately realized that the printer was printing WAY darker because it was printing with BOTH color AND black and white. Right over the top of each other. So if you have a color cartridge that came with your printer, and you never use it, print only in color. I actually found the ink in that cartridge lasts way longer. At least with my printer. 

    As soon as I’ve got a little money stashed away however, I’ll be buying a laser printer, as it’s WAY more cost effective. 

  39. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for all of the info you gather for us.  you are great!!!

  40. Toni says:

    I also fold my paper into thirds when I’m only printing one or 2 coupons.  I can actually put just 1/3 piece of paper into the printer paper tray and print a single coupon on it with no problem. 

  41. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for that information. I have been using recycled paper, but never thought about my daughters school work. I also use the fast draft option on my printer. I have had the usual Walmart coupon police (cashiers) try to say that they are no good, but for the most part, I have no problem.

  42. sanjana salwi says:

    yea… i have never had a problem using black n white coupons either… i recycle too as u mentioned… 
    … i also have just started printing “paper saving” setting of the printer(found in printing prefrences) … this prints two pages on one… this way the internet coupon are printed much smaller than they usually do and are easier to put in the binder.. 
    .. another thing i do is… if i print just one coupon on a page ( which happens sometimes) i clip the coupon and put the rest of the paper back in the paper slot of the printer.. that way i can use the rest of the paper.. usually one page can fit 3 coupons on it … 

  43. Another great way to save on ink is Ebay. I bought 3 cartridges, which are about 6 of the normal ones, for $6.00. You just refill your cartiridges. Then I’m recycling, and saving. Best thing I’ve found so far.

  44. Natasha Estrada says:

    I would also have to suggest buying a laser printer. I bought a b/w one about 10 years ago its still going strong I use it for my business printing and I replace the toner cartridge 1x a year. It’s even better now there are generic HP cartridges that are about $40. Even if you use the name brand you can sell back your empties to companies that refill them

  45. Anonymous says:

    I also use recycled paper.  I’m a Pampered Chef consultant and if I happen to have leftover receipts or the specials, I block out my information and use the backs of those.  I need to go into my printer preferences though and change to draft and grayscale as my default!!  Thanks for this money-saving tidbit!

  46. Nathan says:

    I’ve been using only black and white coupons ever since I started.

    The BEST way to save money on ink wasn’t even mentioned here. DITCH your inkjet printer! I got a black&white laser printer on sale of Office Depot and I pay $22 for a toner that lasts thousands of pages. This is far cheaper than inkjet and it never dries if you don’t print for a while. If you print a lot of coupons, it’s not even comparable. You need a laser printer.

    • Idalyne says:

      I got a Samsung wireless printer at Office Depot last year for $49.99 and I love it! I can also use half size paper (leftovers from printed coupons I’ve already cut) for printing single coupons.

      Where do you buy replacement toner?

    • Elena Jatia says:

      Nathan, I agree! Laser printer is the way to go! I had a Lexmark printer that I had to trade in because after the software update, it would ONLY accept “genuine” ink. BLAH! So long Lexmark! And I only print in black and white any way, so there was no point having an ink jet printer.

    • . . says:

      not true at all.  you can’t BEAT refilling cartridges with ink.  WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY less expensive than any laser printer could ever be.  do the math.  sorry.

      • Anonymous says:

        That depends on your printer.  I had an inkject from hp that would not let me refill.  It would clog every time even though I bought refill ink made for that printer.  Other hp printer that had bigger cartridges (hp psc500) refilled about 7-8 times before they would not be recognized by the printer then I would have to go to a new cartridge.  Just had too many issues with inkjets.  Now I have two b&w laser printers and love them.  I get my toner off ebay with no problems.

      • Anonymous says:

        I went from spending $30+ every month on inkjet cartridges to $30 or less a year when I switched to an inexpensive color laser printer a few years ago. Another benefit has been that this printer didn’t break down just after the warranty expired like my last three inkjets. I now get cheaper, higher-quality prints (very important since I also use the printer for my custom handmade card/invitation business), and now that I coupon I have the additional benefit of crisper barcode lines that scan more easily — one of my issues with inkjets was that even the higher-quality ones printed lines with slightly feathery edges.

  47. I personally refill my ink and have saved hundreds. My printer cartridges run about $30-$50 depending on black or color. Well we had a dollar store that was going out of business and everything was $.69 and it just so happens that their refill inks were compatible with my printer. Well I must admit that that day I was a peg hook clearer! I cleaned out as many hooks as I could reach. So now I never need ink again!! I only spent about $60 that day including other items.

  48. Anonymous says:

    I also print on “draft” and I’ve never had a problem with anything scanning :)  I’m sure all printers are different but I just have a cheepie $100 Kodak and its fine.

  49. David says:

    I envy you. My favorite store gave me SUCH a tough time redeeming black and white coupons, even after I pointed out that the bar-codes were different, the manager STILL called them photocopies and refused to take them.

    • Anonymous says:

      I had a problem with that once with a young store clerk, she asked the manager “are we allowed to take these if theres no color?” it makes no sense. If things have different numbers then they cant be copies! They refuse to listen to common sense though. Plus you can make copies of things in color these days as well, I guess they dont realize that fact though.

      • I had the same problem once too. the clerk called the manager and he agreed with her… So the next day I spoke to another manager, who also works as a bus driver at the school where I teach, and she told me she’d give me a rain check for the items they refused to take the coupons for. I was so angry though for having wasted my time.

    • brittany s says:

      I had someone question me about this which kind of made me embarrassed and annoyed because I am an honest person and would never photocopy coupons. I explained that I ran out of colored ink and they can clearly see that the numbers in the corner are different than one another. They accepted my coupons. I never print my coupons in color, it is a serious waste of ink. Other than that one time I have never had a problem.