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Saving Money on Toner & Inkjet Cartridges

Category Ink
The computer printer has become a household necessity for many of us. However, the cost of toner and ink cartridges can be very expensive. This is a guide about saving money on toner and Inkjet cartridges.


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November 4, 2009

I just learned this one yesterday. Wish I had learned it long ago, as it would have saved me a lot of aggravation. I am assuming this is true for a lot of printers, so I am passing it on.

Being home schoolers, we use a lot of ink and paper. To save, I have Walgreen's refill my ink cartridges (for an HP 2210) when they run their specials of refills for $5, or I buy the used/refurbished ones at Office Depot or Walmart. Usually they work, sometimes they don't. Sometimes I will have one that I have used several times, and it will suddenly just stop for no reason.

This happened again this week. My nearest Walgreen or Office Depot is 30 minutes away, so its a real pain to go buy one and bring it home only to find it won't work. And, the two I got wouldn't work. I called HP to see if there was a work around as I didn't want to drive all the way back again. I mean we are talking 100 miles for 2 trips.


I was told to look at my cartridge for a date. There is evidently a microchip in the ink cartridge that tells the printer when that date has arrived. When that date gets here, it is considered to be an expired cartridge and will no longer work. The two ink cartridges I bought were indeed expired (sold to me by Office Depot in October and one had expired in April of 2007). That also explains why ones I have refilled over and over suddenly stop, the date came up.

So, I will no longer refill them close to or past the expiration date, and I will open the box and check the expiration date of refurbished ones at the cash register before I drive all the way back home.

I thought this was worth passing on!

Source: HP customer service rep

By mom-from-missouri from NW Missouri

Comment Was this helpful? 7
January 22, 20120 found this helpful

I used to refill ink cartridges, but had a number of bad experiences - the nozzles had dried before I got around to it, and I couldn't get them clean again; cartridges leaked; and refilled color cartridges would print some colors fine but not others. I concluded that it was not cost-effective, over the long run, to refill them.

What I do instead is buy refurbished cartridges (may I put in a plug for They're a family business, and their service is superb). They cost perhaps half as much as buying brand-new cartridges from the store, and they're guaranteed. They test them before shipping, and if you do get a bad one they'll replace it free!

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January 13, 2014

I just bought several new refurbished ink cartridges at the local office store and they would not work. So, I took them back. The manager pointed out to me they were expired and should not have been on the shelf. They were HP refurbished/refilled cartridges. He explained to me that after time, ones that are refilled lose head quality and can sometimes even damage your printer. So, they have a microchip in them that will cause them to quit working on the expiration date, even if they are still full of ink.

I thought that was odd, so I called HP. They transferred me to numerous people until I got a guy who knew what I was talking about and he confirmed what the manager of Office Depot told me.

So, check for the expiration dates. If you buy several, rotate them so that they don't expire and quit working on you. This is true for HP, don't know about the other brands.

With some cartridges costing up to $60 or more, this tip can save lots of money.

Comment Was this helpful? 5
January 16, 20140 found this helpful

Thanks for this advice. I had it happen to me just last week, so I will be checking from now on.

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4 found this helpful
February 2, 2011

This may apply to you if you have a computer with a printer. Specifically a printer that warns you or "shows" you it is low or even out of ink. You should test how long you can use you printer before you are actually out of ink. Don't trust the program telling you about it. I have observed that the screen that pops up to tell me I am out of ink and offers to let me order more ink online has been misguiding. I have ignored this little screen for over a month now. I still am able to print. I print almost daily. The printer HAS NOT run out of ink. The printing has not even faded.


My printer has 2 cartridges - one color and one black. The color cartridge ran out almost two months ago and I am just starting to see some fading. Black is still going strong (which is what I print most of the time) and the "gauge" for the cartridge has told me it is empty for at least a month now, if not five weeks.

And just as an aside, if you need a printer or plan to replace a printer you have, make sure you get a printer that has multiple cartridges for color and black (some times they have three colors and a black). These printer are more cost effective because they do not mix of colors to make black. Printers that use one cartridge for everything run out faster and are, therefore, more costly.

By suntydt from Tazewell, TN

Comment Was this helpful? 4
February 3, 20110 found this helpful

I'd like to also add, if you print general documents for home use, you should check your printer settings to make sure that the printing default is not set to 600dpi or best quality, that is a waste of ink. I too ignore the 'low ink' alerts; that's just your printer's way of saying "Buy, Buy, Buy" [don't they realize that purchasing OEM ink over the internet via discount sources is way cheaper than buying from 'their store'?]

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June 5, 2013

If you use your printer a little or a lot, ink is still expensive. I use my regular printer a lot, mostly black but it still "uses" color inks.

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23 found this helpful
March 29, 2011

To save up to 30% on ink when printing, use the narrowest font possible. I never would have thought of this on my own.

Comment Was this helpful? 23

August 7, 2007

Save money on printer ink. When printing, under Preferences choose "Draft." You will find the copy quite dark. It's surprising. It makes your printer ink go further.

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0 found this helpful
March 3, 2012

Some of us have printer/fax machines that are costly. I know that after purchasing my Canon printer, I began to regret it because I felt that I couldn't afford it.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

January 21, 20050 found this helpful

Tips and advice for saving money on ink cartridges for your printer. Post your ideas.

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June 1, 20050 found this helpful

Make sure your home printer is on black and white default. The ink is less expensive than color.

By Rennae G

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January 10, 20060 found this helpful

I have tried refilling different brands of cartridges with no luck at all. I found "Master Inkjets" to be inexpensive, $14.95 for color or black and white for many brands. They are very quick, guarantee their work and pay the postage! Just go to they are great.

GH in OK""

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February 1, 20060 found this helpful

When the ink cartridge starts to fade, take it out and give it a little shake. You can get quite a few more pages out of it. Also, don't forget to choose "Fast Draft" for printing things that don't have to look excellent--shopping lists, for example.

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October 24, 20070 found this helpful

Go to to get an excellent refill kit that I bought at Cosco. It has the needle connected to the bottle so there isn't as much as a mess. It has 2 bottles of black and the three colors in photo and regular. They are all 80ml. A total of 640 ml of ink. A really good deal for those who fill up there ink and you don't have to have the store membership to get it.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

March 29, 20110 found this helpful

Switch your printer font to Century Gothic. It uses less ink than other fonts.

Source: Women's World

By lynda (crabby) from Kearny NJ


By JustPlainJo 02/28/2011

I hadn't really thought about the difference in the fonts and how much ink or toner they use. I don't print much, but for those who do, this is a great tip! Thanks, Linda.


By simplify 02/24/2011

I have used both fast draft and gray scale. Finally I decided to choose a less black color with your document's choice of ink color. Choose one that is a little blacker than gray and you will save even more ink! Most people (unless they have poor eyesight) will be able to read the text even with the color change. Try it - you just might like it!


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February 24, 20110 found this helpful

Does your computer printer use a lot of ink? Mine does, even when I go in and change the printer to fast draft before printing and gray scale only. You may want to consider changing the font setting to cut ink consumption. Ecofont, a Dutch company, has developed a set of fonts that uses 15 percent less ink by essentially leaving small holes in printed letters. The Ecofont website allows you to download an ink-saving font. Ecofont ink-sparing fonts include Times New Roman, Calibri and Franklin Gothic Medium. I hope you like this tip as much as I do!

Source: AARP news letter

By Bobbie G from Rockwall, TX


Use EcoFont to Save Printer Ink

I just did this, downloaded their free shareware font and tried it out. I have no idea if it will save that much ink, but the font is pretty cute, with tiny little dots inside each letter, forming the same shape as the letter, like a dot T inside the letter T. My daughter likes it, and says it looks like "polka dot ribbon". I will see if I notice a difference in ink consumption. (08/25/2010)

By poepadoe

Use EcoFont to Save Printer Ink

I'd never thought of this, since I use toner. But I have a friend on a fixed income with an "inkasaurus" who'll love it! (08/26/2010)

By JustPlainJo

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
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