Oct 132009You Asked: How Can I Print Coupons on the Cheap?

You Asked

This week’s question comes from Abby:

With all the Internet coupons I feel like I’m really using up my printer ink. Those little cartridges are so expensive to replace. It almost doesn’t make printing the coupons worth it! Do you know of any way I can save money on ink cartridges?

I agree, ink cartridges are certainly expensive. But there are some techniques you can try to help save on the ink you currently have. And I have some money saving tips on how you can replace them for less.

First, change your printer settings. Go to your computer’s Control Panel. Select the printers icon. Your default printer will be listed with a check mark next to it.

Right click on the printer icon and go to the properties. All printers are different but you should be able to edit the printing preferences. The ink saving features are usually on the “Advanced” tab.

Be sure you select the lowest resolution, quick-print, or “draft” setting. This uses the least amount of ink and does not affect the scanning ability of the coupon.

If your black and white cartridge is separate from your color cartridge, you can opt to print everything in black and white. Then you’ll rarely need to replace the costlier color cartridges.

Once you are out of ink, there are a number of money saving options.

1. Walgreens refills ink cartridges. The black and white are priced around $10. Occasionally you will find an in-ad coupon to make them cheaper. Plus, you can always pay with Register Rewards!

You can also refill them at Office Max Costco and other stores.

2. Use the Staples cartridge recycling program. Not only will you be helping the environment but you’ll also get $3 per cartridge. The $3 is a Staples reward so you must have a Staples Reward Card.

3. Invest in a Laser Printer. Laser printers use toner, not ink. And with all the modern technology, they’ve really come down in price. You can likely find a decent one for around $100. I’m not saying run out and buy one, but when you are in the market for a new printer, a laser printer would be an excellent investment. Toner cartridges generally last 3000-5000 prints. That’s a lot of printed coupons!

Do you have any more ink saving tips for Abby? Please share.

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  1. Thanks for these tips. I think I will be linking back to you from my blog so my readers can see this!

  2. I used to buy ink cartidges through Sams Club or Costco, they have a pretty good deal on the value packs, until I found 123inkets.com through MyPoints. The generic brand costs less than half the price and they work great!

  3. I refill my cartridges with ink. Cost per refill is about $1.50. Has worked great for me. I bought a kit from http://www.inksell.com. They have good prices, frequent sales, and free shipping very often. I’m not associated with them but have used their products and kits on my HP machines for years.

  4. I sometimes buy generic cartridges online and use either ebates or mrrebates to get credits. The generic ones work as well as name brands.

  5. I opted for an inexpensive HP laser printer. I know it sounds expensive, but it truly wasn’t. I waited until Staples was offering a $50 instant savings deal when you recycle an old printer. (Remember to take the old cartridges out and do the $3 recycling rebate on those.) When Staples has this deal, you can usually get the HP P1006 for about $50 after the instant savings.

    You truly won’t have to replace the toner cartridge nearly as often as you have to replace your ink cartridge. The replacement toner is about $75, but it lasts WAY longer than ink!

    I actually had a nightmarish experience with generic cartridges, so I’m now a diehard HP girl.

  6. I use a refill system that I bought 3 years ago from Costco for $12.50 (now $24.99!). It comes with ink for photo and normal prints. Total of 8 bottles of ink in the kit (2 black, 3 color, 3 photo color).
    I just finished the first black bottle 2 weeks ago. I don’t think it can get cheaper than that. Here is the link: http://www.ims-ink.com/
    You just use the original cartridge that comes in your printer!

  7. If I am going to print alot of coupons, say when they reset. I go to a local Hotel, Motel that offers a business center. I ues their computer/printer for this. (Is this not cheap or what?) 🙂 It also leaves your home computer/computers for more prints if you see a really good coupon/sale and need more.

  8. Mary Crull says:

    Try Buying brand & model specific expired ink on Ebay. The ink works if it is expired (even by several years) and is much cheaper. Do an Ebay search for “Expired Ink”. Some of the big box office supply stores will let you trade in your empty ink cartridges for a $3 store credit that you can use to buy paper.

  9. I purchased a continuous ink system off of ebay. Love it! It cost around $50.00 over a year ago. I am not even halfway through the inks. And I print tons of coupons. I just purchased one for my business computer. When the inks that came with the printer run out. I’m on to continuous feed! Another thing that I do to save on the cost is print of previously used paper–junk mail, office trash, even my kid’s old homework! I just make sure that there isn’t anything on the other side that I wouldn’t want circulating and off I go.

  10. I use the back side of paper that comes home from school for my coupons. Also junk mail sometimes has a blank back side!!

  11. Regina Clark says:

    I like Mr. Cheap’s idea!

    With newer printers, at least with Lexmark, you can’t refill cartridges–the printer won’t recognize them, and Walgreens isn’t even allowed to refill them. However if you do have a Lexmark, they have a wonderful rewards program. 1 new free cartridge of your choice for every 5 you return in their prepaid pouch, and 1 new free cartridge of your choice for every 5 you buy from their site and their site is much cheaper than local or internet retailers.
    or just lexmarkrewards.com if that works better for you.

    However, at this point i am finished with Lexmark. I am going to go with Kodak. They have a new model, an all in one with good reviews, and all the ink is one cost: $10 for black and 15 for color, or very close to those prices. The cartridges supposedly last much longer too. If you trade in your old printer at Best Buy you will get a $50 coupon towards a Kodak printer.

  12. When a new batch of Target printables come out, I go to the gift registry kiosk at Target and print several sets of the coupons there. This saves me paper and ink!!

  13. I have a little jar next to my printer, and every time I print a coupon or coupon page, I put a quarter in the jar. The money in the jar will help pay for new ink and paper, and it encourages me to determine if the coupon is really a good value or not. Is it worth more to me than $0.25? That’s how I determine whether or not to print.

  14. I like Caroline’s idea. I would do 10 cents though.

  15. Hi: Target has a user friendly printer in the customer service dept. on which customers can print Target Q’s in conjunction with mgr Q’s. I always print out a couple of sets each time I visit the store. It has saved me way much ink and paper over the last six months. Blessings JANARIE8

  16. I used to refill my ink cartridges on my own, then I got tired of it. Since I printed A LOT, it got time consuming refilling every other week. So I eventually bought a continuous ink system about 3 years ago… it’s the best investment I’ve made for my printing needs. I spent about $100 back then (for the system and a quart each of black, yellow, red, and blue ink). To this day, I have not had to get more ink or anything, and I’ve still got about a quarter of all my ink left!

  17. Wow Thank you Caroline for sharing that tip its a great one. like K though I think a quater will be hard to part with (lol the point right??) but I’m thinking a happy medium say like 15 or 20 cents for each print. Why didn’t I see this before. Right now my both my printers need ink and I just had to pay to replace our Van’s transmission OUCH! so the printer and me printing coupons will have to wait for awhile I am trying to ignore the sunday paper flyers and all my frugal websites, and am just thankful we have a good stockpile of various items. One good thing is now hubby can see why it was a good idea to shop K-mart sooo much during the double coupon events. 8 bags of pull-ups left and I am quite sure my son will be fully potty trained long before we run out 🙂

  18. All good ideas and I add this one: Keep printing WAY after your printer tells you it is low on ink. I have several different brands of printers at my home (I work from home) and all of them continue to print MANY pages after they signal there is ‘low ink’. Replace the ink cartridge when the print becomes too light…speaking of light print: To get the final ink from the cartridge change the setting to something higher than ‘draft’ (like ‘normal’) and there will be several pages of print to go!

  19. Mr. Cheap! My husband is in the hotel business and they do watch out for people who are in the business centers that are not guests of the hotel!!!

  20. I have an Epson C88 printer. I buy generic ink on eBay and when I buy it I pay only $1.23 per cartidge including shipping. I bought this particular printer because I researched the ink cost beforehand.