Are You Wasting Money on Printer Ink?

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We don't print that much at home, so we can't say we ever really noticed our printer ink cartridges running out too quickly. But as soon as we mentioned the subject to a friend, they sat up and told us angry stories of replacing week-old cartridges because the printer said it was empty. Apparently, it's a common problem, because PC World decided to hit the lab and test out how full 'empty' cartiridges were. They ran printers until they said it was time to change the cartridge and found that some left more than 40 percent of their ink unused...PC World found that many manufacturer-branded and third-party vendor cartridges leave a startling amount of ink unused when they read empty. In fact, some inkjet printers force users to replace black ink cartridges when the cartridge is nearly half full. In most cases, printers were more apt to call it quits early on third-party cartridges.

Adding insult to injury, PC World illustrates just how expensive your ink is: "If you bought a gallon of the stuff over the life of your printer, you'd have paid about $4731 for a liquid that one aftermarket vendor told us was "cheap" to make. For some perspective, gasoline costs about $3 per gallon (at the moment), while a gallon of Beluga caviar (imagined as a liquid) costs about $18,000—surprisingly, only about four times as expensive as good old printer ink."

So how do you avoid going broke on printing? Always refill your ink cartridges yourself and save a ton of money in the process. Also, programs like GreenPrint can help you save ink, paper and money.

[ image from bradleypjohnson@Flickr ]

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Taryn is a writer, maker, and designer based in Atlanta, and editor of lifestyle blog Formal Fringe. She loves her fiance, her dog Bacon, and collecting beer koozies when she travels.

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