When I think about all the ink I use to print my coupons, I cringe. Here are six super-easy ways to save money on printer ink by cutting those costs by as much as 75% and shopping smarter when you buy a printer.
Don’t forget to download the Krazy Coupon lady app for the latest deals!
1. Before you buy a printer, research which uses the cheapest ink.
Did you know that ink is one of the world’s most expensive liquids, costing between $13 and $75 per ounce — which can amount to hundreds of dollars per year 😱.
That’s why the printing industry makes most of their money on the ink that you have to buy for your printer, and not the printer itself.
The most important thing to look for when you buy a new printer isn’t the price tag, but the cost per page (CPP) of the ink cartridges it uses.
CPP = the price of ink divided by how many pages it will print + the cost of paper.
Here’s an example of the math: Divide the price of the ink cartridges by how many pages it will last. For example, one cartridge of HP black ink for the HP – ENVY 5055 All-in-One Instant Ink Ready Printer is $15.99 and yields about 120 pages which costs about $6.50, so the cost per page is just under $0.19. At $59.99, the printer itself might be cheap, but its CPP is pretty high.
Look for printers that use cartridges with a cost per page less than $0.04.
Top 4 best-selling home printers and ink costs over four years
I kind of went down the rabbit hole with this one. Here’s a chart I made of the four best-selling home inkjet printers and their ink costs over four years. The average office worker prints about 10,000 black and white pages per year, so for a home office printer I halved it and used 5,000 black and white pages per year for my math. I also read that the average home printer lasts about four years, so I added the costs of the printer with enough black and white ink cartridges for four years to see which was the best deal. I was surprised, because my instinct is to always buy the lowest-priced item!
2. Use a third-party ink vendor to find save money on printer ink cartridges.
If you have an HP printer, you don’t have to use only HP ink. Buy remanufactured and compatible ink cartridges to save money. Compatible cartridges (OEM cartridges) aren’t made by your printer company, but by someone else. Sites like 4inkjets, Inkfarm, ldproducts, Carrotink, and Overstock are all great options for budget shopping for generic ink.
Remember the CPP math we did? If you were to buy an HP 65XL Black Compatible Ink Cartridge from 4inkjets at $18.99, it would produce 300 pages. That’s a CPP of about $0.06 — less than half of the manufacturer’s $0.13 CPP.
TIP: Some printer companies will void your warranty if you refill your own cartridges or use OEM cartridges — so make sure you double-check your warranty.
3. Conserve ink by following best practices for printing.
Be stingy with your ink. Always print in black and white — especially when printing your coupons. Color cartridges cost more than plain black, so switch your printer preference settings to “grayscale” or black and white.
4. Refill your ink cartridges for cheap at Costco.
Costco and Walgreens both have cartridge refilling programs, but with prices starting at $6.99 per cartridge —versus $12.99 at Walgreens — Costco’s program is the most affordable. Refilling your cartridges can save as much as 60% compared to buying brand-new cartridges from the manufacturer. Plus, reusing your cartridge is good for the environment.
5. …Or just refill your printer ink at home.
Gloves and a needle might sound intense, but refilling your own cartridge is actually a cinch. Look for a DIY kit on Amazon (there are many options under $12) that comes with everything you need, even ink.
Still hesitant to try it? Don’t be. Here’s everything you need to know about refilling your own ink cartridges at home.
6. Cut down on costs by recycling ink cartridges.
- OfficeMax & Office Depot: If you join their free Recycling Rewards program, you can get a $2 reward after spending $10 on ink that same month.
- Best Buy: Bring in old ink cartridges, and get $2 off your next ink purchase of $40 or more.
- Staples: Get $2 off your ink purchase of $30 or more when you drop off used cartridges.