Tuesday Frugal Small Business Series. Part 2: Printers and Ink/Toner
Everyone has their own unique needs when it comes to a printer. There are so many to choose from, and I’m sure no expert. But what I do consider myself to be very good at is saving money, and that’s where I can help you.
Do you do a lot of printing, and are you spending a lot of money on ink every month? It may be time to think a bit differently about the printer you’re using. Inkjet printers are convenient and easy to use, I’ll give you that. But they are made to be inexpensive so that consumers will buy them, and then you’re stuck with a printer that requires $25 to $45 ink cartridges. Those ink cartridges don’t go a long way, do they? I’ve tried inkjet refill kits in the past like these, and they will save you a bit of money but even they can cost you a lot of time and money.
If your current inkjet printer meets your needs, I would suggest shopping around for your ink cartridges. I’m sure you can find a better deal than what you’re paying now. For example, these ink cartridges on Amazon vary in pricing, and you can often find a really good deal. The best thing to do is search your make and model of printer and then compare. Just be sure to read the item description carefully to make sure it isn’t refurbished and also check the seller rating. I know it’s tempting to get a cheaper refurbished cartridge, but once in a while you’ll get one that won’t work in your printer or worse, like what happened to me, it will ruin your printer. A late-night run to town to buy a printer is never fun. If you’re comfortable shopping on Ebay, that’s also another very good place to find deals on ink. Just be very careful and read seller ratings and item descriptions carefully.
Now for those of you who print a lot, have you looked into laser printers? At first I thought they were out of my price range, but they’ve come down a lot lately. Plus you can find some incredible deals, and toner is a lot less expensive than ink. I have a Brother HL-5370DW and love it. I went from paying about $70 in ink every month to paying $42 every 6 months! You can find sales on laser printers. As a matter of fact, Amazon has a Brother printer similar to mine on sale for $99! It’s monochrome (black and white) and comes with wireless capabilities and duplex. That’s a heck of a price for a laser printer. It took me a while to get used to black and white printing, but I didn’t really use color for much anyway. I print 20 to 40 invoices and packing slips a day plus shipping labels and miscellaneous stuff my family needs. The first toner cartridge it came with lasted me 6 months! The high-yield cartridges are good for around 3000 pages.
At first I bought a toner refill kit for $15, which worked great and I would highly recommend, but it was just too messy for me to do it again. This time around I found an authentic Brother toner cartridge for only $42 on Amazon. These usually run upwards of $90, so that’s a great deal. I wouldn’t recommend the “compatible” cartridges because those are just empty cartridges that have had toner added. Sometimes they aren’t reset and set off the low toner indicator, sometimes the print quality is poor, and I just think they’re unreliable unless you can find a very highly rated seller.
So there you have it. The lesson for today is: It pays to shop around. Don’t pay full in-store price for something pricey until you do some investigating online. You can save yourself a bundle!
Check back next Tuesday when I’ll be sharing tips about couponing for your business. See you then!
FYI: The post has affiliate links, but I only link to items I actually personally recommend, own myself, or think will be useful.