Jul 16, 2010

Small Savings: Printing (Janssen)

When you're trying to live frugally, you can save on big-ticket items (a car, a house, a vacation, etc) or on smaller items (groceries, clothing, eating out, etc).

The savings you'll see if you buy a less-expensive car is far more than you'll probably see at the grocery store (I hope - maybe you buy really expensive groceries), but you'll probably go to the grocery store hundreds of times for every one car purchase, which means the savings you can get at the grocery store, while only a few dollars a time, can really add up over time.

One of the places I save a little money is with my home printer. We're not talking hundreds of dollars of savings here, but it is a place where we can cut costs a little bit with no real effort on our parts. We do this in two ways:

1) We realized last fall that 99% of our printing is done for things that don't require any particularly nice paper. It's just directions from Google Maps or grocery coupons or boarding passes for an airplane trip. Instead of buying packs of paper for a few dollars at Wal-Mart or the grocery store, we started hoarding all the paper that entered our house that was blank on one side. It became immediately obvious how MUCH paper we got. A calendar from church, a credit card offer in the mail, a letter informing us what precint to vote in. And then, we started bringing some home from work - the notices I got at school alone filled up our printer tray in a matter of days.

The grocery store doesn't care if my coupons have the date of the next PTA luncheon on the back. I can get to my destination just fine if my directions are printed on the back of my privacy policy notification from the bank.

2) As I said above, we realized that our printing rarely needed to be high quality. Printer ink is fairly expensive, so we hate to waste it. We went on to our computer settings and changed the automatic mode for our printer to "Fast Draft," rather than high-quality. The quality is still perfectly fine - I have no problem reading anything and it's sharp enough for the scanners to read the barcodes on my grocery coupons - but it uses a fraction of the ink and, bonus, prints FAR faster and your paper isn't warped from all that ink. Win-win.

I'm certainly not going on a cruise with these savings, but it's less trips to the store and less money out of my wallet.


Packrat said...

I never thought about using the waste paper in the printer, but I do save it for phone messages, grocery lists, random notes, etc. I do often saved used printer paper and print on the other side. (I've been doing the ink thing forever.) Thanks for the tip!

Stephanie T said...

You can save a small fortune on ink by refilling the cartridges yourself.

We've been doing it for about 8 years now. Here's some tips:
1. Make sure you buy the right ink for your cartridge otherwise you will clog it and it won't work. We buy from Fry's, Sam's, or even sometimes Wal-mart. The bos will list about 70 printers the ink will work for. $15 worth of ink can re-fill your cartride about 6 times. That is major savings!
2. Make sure the kit you buy has a syringe, instead of just a needle attached to a bottle of ink. It's important to be able to control the flow, and air bubbles yourself.
3. Never let your cartridge get too empty and dry out. Again it can clog them.

Other then that, it is really simple to do yourself and we refill ours probably 12 times before replacing them. I do a ton of printing for my calling so it is a big deal to refill them myself. We do color and black and white, it's awesome!

Leslie said...

Such a good idea! I was just getting ready to shred a bunch of one-sided papers. I surely won't care if my menu is on one side of a credit card offer!

Packrat said...

PS: If the "recycled" paper has personal information on, please be careful what you print on the other side. I'm a fanatic about destroying identifying information.

lacie tidwell said...

and more envirnmentally friendly too- like most frugal living is! :)

Corbett Family said...

Great idea, just one fatal flaw--kids. I used to have a huge stock of paper that I had saved starting in college to use for printing on the other side to save paper. Well, fast forward a few years and four kids later, and any scratch paper found in our house is used to draw, make comic books, etc. Just wait until Enna and her siblings are in that stage. :)