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Jun 17 2017
7 months ago
1:57 PM MST

10 Ways to Save BIG on Printer Ink and Toner

Jun 17, 2017 @ 1:57 PM MST
The links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.

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Oh, How I ❤️ My Printer!

Printer ink can be one of the most expensive liquids that we buy… even more expensive than fine champagne per drop! 😱 AND, if you’re like me, you likely print loads of coupons that we post about here on Hip2Save, which means we use lots and lots of printer ink. When it comes to printer ink, it can be very expensive but there are actually several ways that you can buy ink without breaking the bank.

1.) Invest in a Laser Printer

It seems that the longest lasting, most reliable, and most affordable (in the long run) printers are laser printers. Although laser printers may cost more initially, they tend to be faster, use less toner, and are much cheaper on a month to month basis (i.e. cost of inkjet cartridges versus laser toner cartridges).

If you’re looking for a printer, a couple best-selling and highly rated laser printers I spotted on Amazon are this Brother HL-L2380DW Wireless Monochrome Laser Printer priced around $130 and this Canon imageCLASS D570 Monochrome Laser Printer with Scanner and Copier priced just under $160.

Hip Tip: When your laser printer states that the toner is low, take the cartridge out and look for a little window on the side of the cartridge. Cover it with a piece of black electrical tape, and you may be able to get MANY more pages of ink out of it. The window lets light in and tells the owner to buy a new cartridge but, in reality, there is still plenty of toner left in the cartridge.

If your toner cartridge does not have a “window” but instead has a slow rotating gear on the side of the cartridge, you can get more prints by resetting the gear and turning it backwards manually.

2.) Consider Compatible Printer Ink Cartridges

If you already own a printer and need to purchase ink cartridges, consider buying compatible ink or toner cartridges at retailers like Staples and Office Depot/OfficeMax. Compatible ink is like buying a generic brand for a certain store (a separate company creates their own version of the cartridge to work in your printer), such as the Staples brand. Some compatible brands may be inferior to the original ink from the manufacturer, but many compatible printer cartridges work just the same!

You can also find a lot of compatible brands on reputable sites like Amazon123InkJets, 4inkjets, CarrotInk, ComboInk, CompAndSave, eBay or SuperMediaStore – just to name a few. These sites offer big savings with occasional promotions, and the compatible cartridges often work just as well!

3.) Use Costco’s Inkjet Cartridge Refill Service

One of the best prices for getting your ink cartridges refilled is by using Coscto’s Inkjet Cartridge Refill Service as you can save up to 70% when compared to new cartridges! Prices range from $7.49-$10.49 for original Brother, Canon, Epson and HP inkjet cartridge refills. Just bring your empty cartridges to the Costco Photo Center and shop while they refill your cartridges – they’ll even be ready in one hour!

4.) Do It Yourself! Refill Your Own Ink Cartridges

If you have time and don’t mind possibly getting a little messy, refilling your own ink cartridges can save you quite a bit of money as the refill kits cost about 50% less than new cartridges and you can use them at least 4-5 times. You can purchase refill kits at office supply and discount stores or even purchase them online at AmazonWalmart, and Target with prices starting around just $7.

5.) Buy Re-manufactured Printer Ink Cartridges

Re-manufactured printer cartridges are ones that have been recycled, refilled and resold for up to 60% less than the name-brand cartridges. A legit re-manufacturer will disassemble, clean, and test the cartridge before replacing any worn parts and refilling the toner, resulting in a quality cartridge.

You can usually buy these re-manufactured cartridges at the same online retailers mentioned under tip #2 above, as well as on, and other sites.

6.) Use HP Printers? Consider HP Instant Ink

If you have an eligible HP printer, consider enrolling in HP’s Instant Ink replacement service. Monthly plans (which are based on pages printed, not cartridges used) start as low as $2.99/month and there is no annual fee or commitment. Ink, shipping, and even cartridge recycling are all included!

Your printer uses the Internet to let them know when to send more ink. Special HP Instant Ink cartridges are sent to you by mail or included with your printer and these cartridges have more ink than HP XL cartridges, so you’ll replace them less often. They even provide postage-paid shipping materials to return used cartridges and they’ll recycle them as part of your service!

7.) Change Your Font

When printing documents, try to avoid using serif fonts as they have little tails on the ends of the letters that use up more ink. Century Gothic is one of the most eco-friendly fonts when printed in smaller sizes (such as 10 or 11-point versus the traditional 12-point) as it a thinner but somewhat wide font. Garamond, Times New Roman, and Courier are also good alternatives.

You can also purchase a license for Ecofont Sans, which is a true type font that has tiny holes in each letter. When printed at smaller sizes, the holes are not really noticeable due to ink bleed.

8.) Print in Grayscale with Draft Quality

If you’re needing to print but don’t need a perfect copy, be sure to set your printer quality to “draft” and print in grayscale or black and white, which will use less ink and toner. Printing in grayscale when color isn’t necessary is optimal as color printer ink cartridges are typically more expensive.

9.) Only Print What You Want

If you’ve ever tried to print an online recipe, article or web-page, you’ve like wasted lots of ink printing unnecessary ads, navigation bars, images and more. Want to only print certain parts of a page? CleanPrint and PrintWhatYouLike are tools that let you print only the parts of a page that you want.

CleanPrint is an extension for web browsers that automatically takes out unwanted ads and navigation. From there, you can delete images or text, decrease the font size and even add notations. PrintWhatYouLike is a website that takes another webpage and lets you choose what to print. Just paste in the website address and you’ll be able to alter or remove any segment of a page.

10.) Recycle Those Printer Cartridges

Many office supply stores offer rewards just for bringing in your used ink cartridges! Here are a few popular stores that offer coupons or store credits just for recycling your ink or toner cartridges…

  • Office Depot/OfficeMax: Whenever you recycle your ink and toner cartridges in-store, you’ll get 200 points per recycled cartridge when you make a $10 qualifying purchase during the same month (limit 10 cartridges per month). You’ll get your rewards certificate after the end of the month for every 1,000 points you earn and are redeemable for future purchases at Office Depot and OfficeMax stores.

  • Best Buy: Recycle your old ink or toner cartridges at your local Best Buy store and earn $2 in Recycle Rewards on your next in-store purchase of $40 or more (limit three items per household per day).

  • Staples: Earn a $2 Staples store credit to spend on anything in-store or online when you have spent at least $30 on ink or toner in the past 180 days, valid for up to 10 ink cartridges per month.

Are you a teacher?

The Office Depot Recycling Rules program rewards teachers with a gift card to purchase the school supplies they need for their classrooms while highlighting the importance of recycling. Recycling Rules allows teachers, school administrators, parents, and students to sign up their classrooms online.

After a classroom signs up for the Recycling Rules program, Office Depot will supply it with recycling boxes and information about the program. The boxes can be filled with empty ink and toner cartridges (any brand) and/or small electronics. Once the boxes are filled, they can be shipped back to Office Depot free of charge. Classrooms will be rewarded (based on the value of their recyclables) with Office Depot gift cards that can used to purchase the supplies they need.

Do you have any other tips for saving on printer ink?!

Written by Mary for Hip2Save. Mary is a proud mom to 3 kids in Austin, TX, who thrives off running long distance, bargain shopping, warm weather, a yummy latte…and a little Candy Crush from time to time. She loves quality time with family & friends and sharing great deals with others.

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Have you ever had moments when you're either out of time or out of printer ink, or both, and you really want to keep track of a "Hip" deal or print a valuable coupon in the next day or two? Or what do you do when an outstanding, but pricey, deal is posted and you want to save it for discussion with your significant other? Well, now you're in luck! No more searching through pages of posts to find the coupon or the deal. Simply move the post to your Hip List and access it at your convenience.

How Does the Hip List Work?

It's easy! To use this feature, first head on over here and register and log into your account. Whenever you find a great deal that you want to come back to later at a later time, just click on the HIP List icon located on each post (see images below) and the information will be saved in your account. To remove a post from your HIP List, just click on the HIP List icon and it will be removed.

When logged into your account, you will see the HIP List icon at the bottom of every post if you are viewing in classic view.

If you prefer to view in river view, you will see the HIP List icon located on every post above the post title and to the right.

If you're wanting to print a certain deal, blog post, or the Weekly Store Matchups from your HIP list, click on the small blue printer icon in the upper right corner of the HIP list. This will allow you to customize the information that you want or don't want to include when printing from your HIP list so you're only printing the information that's most important to you! If there are deals (or portions of deals) that you are not interested in printing, just click on the red x button to remove them. To restore a section, click on the green arrow icon in the upper right hand corner.