Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 5 seconds

If you own a small business or your main source of income comes from freelancing you know that cutting costs is an essential part of your day. It could be as small as saving money by buying a slightly cheaper coffee for the office or buying office supplies in bulk. It could even mean cutting down on printing costs. In fact, you can save a lot of money on printing costs. Between the actual printer, paper stock, and toner; printing can get expensive. Before pressing Command + P on your Mac, make sure you’re not throwing any unnecessary money away.

Lets start with printers themselves. The price of printers can vary from $40 to $400. Ensuring that you get the most for your dollar is critical. Before purchasing a printer – read the reviews. Once you decide on a printer in your budget, shop around and see where you can find the best deal. A quick search for the Epson XP-340 Color Ink-jet came up with prices ranging from $74 through Amazon to $99 at Walmart. That’s a $15 savings and for a small business that can be a lot.

Next, let’s look at ink cartridges. When I was a kid I didn’t understand why we had a color printer when we weren’t allowed to print in color. Of course now in my thirties I understand completely. Color cartridges may cost less than black ink but they don’t last as long. When it comes to printing projects, make sure you only print in color when you absolutely have to- you’re printing invitations, official flyers, and or graphic design projects. If you’re just printing out this article to show your friends- black ink will do. Maybe just email them the link to the article and cut costs there. You can conserve a lot of money on ink by buying third-party brands that you can purchase for a discounted price. In a report by Consumer Reports, they found that 63% of surveyors found that third-party ink cartridges were just as good as their brand-name counterparts. That being said, the remaining 36% complained that discounted cartridges clogged their printer heads and set off warning messages. Whether you buy brand-named cartridges or knock-offs, it’s important to do your research and pick the one that you’re most comfortable with.

Next we come to paper. Paper stock isn’t the same and can vary from a thick stock used for resumes and creative projects to flimsy paper that might blow away at any given moment. Figuring out which type of thickness meets your requirements is the first step. From there finding a paper that is inexpensive yet durable is critical.

After you’ve bought your printer, ink cartridges, and paper you’re ready to roll. Turn your printer on, pat yourself on the back for saving money and start printing to your heart’s content. Not so fast. Even after you’ve purchased a printer you can still save

money when it comes to actually printing your documents. Before you press that print button ask yourself these questions:

  • · Do I really need to print this file? Can I email it instead?
  • · Does this article have to be printed in color or is black ink OK?
  • · Can this document be double-sided to conserve paper?
  • · Do I need all 40 pages of this essay or can I just print out the first 12?
  • · Have I proofread my document?

By asking yourself these five questions every time you press print, you can save a significant amount of money in the long run. So not only can you conserve money when it comes to printing technology itself, but you can continue to save money as time goes on.

Last modified on Wednesday, 10 April 2019
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Danielle Loughnane

Danielle Loughnane earned her B.F.A. in Creative Writing from Emerson College and has currently been working in the data science field since 2015. She is the author of a comic book entitled, “The Superhighs” and wrote a blog from 2011-2015 about working in the restaurant industry called, "Sir I Think You've Had Too Much.” In her spare time she likes reading graphic novels and snuggling with her dogs.

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