Computer & Printer Savings

Computer & Printer Savings - Tons of Ideas!

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This Computer & Printer Savings Tips Super Page contains a growing list of money saving ideas. From where to buy printer ink, how to save money on toner and how to research buying a computer printer!

Font Changes Save Ink

I just read a news story where the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay has switched the default font on their whole email system from Arial to Century Gothic. The director of computing, Diane Blohowiak says that this simple change will reduce the amount of Printer ink used by 30 percent just because of the way the font is designed.

With inkjet cartridge ink costing almost $10,000 per gallon, the savings could really add up. So change your font and you could save money with your computer and printer too!

Here’s what the news article said

Century Gothic Font example.

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WTAQ) – UW-Green Bay officials say they’ve found an easy way to save money while helping the environment. The school changed the print style on its e-mail system from theArial font to Century Gothic. Information technology director Diane Blohowiak says it costs a lot less when e-mails are printed. That’s because Century Gothic uses 30 percent less ink than Arial.

It means less ink and plastic cartridges to be thrown away – and Blohowiak says the ink in those cartridges adds up to about $10,000 a gallon. She says Century Gothic uses even less ink than the widely-touted “Eco Font.”

It’s part of a 5-year plan by the Green Bay campus to go green. Blohowiak says the money saving is enough to make lots of people support the change. The e-mail font was changed while students and staff were on their spring break. Since then, she has not heard any complaints.

Bart Good – Phoenix, AZ

Cheap Ink Options

InkJet Superstore

I found a cheap place for computer ink online at  I was able to get remanufactured cartridges for $5.99 each plus only $5.95 for shipping. The shipping cost is for as many cartridges as you want to order.   David – St. Paul, MN

Costco Refills Cartridges

Did you know that you can take your OEM inkjet cartridges to Costco for refills? They cost between $8 and $10 to refill and they work great. I’ve been using them for years and only had one problem. I took the cartridge back and they got it working great. Even if you factor in the annual membership cost, getting a set of cartridges is still less expensive at Costco. Larry T. – Phoenix, AZ 

Choosing the Right Printer

As I only print what I need to, I have not had to pay for paper in a few years. But the paper is the cheap side of things. Choosing the right printer matters a whole lot more than the paper.
There are two main types of printers – Lasers and inkjets. This is the first choice you have to make.
So if you are like me and print things a few times a month, a laser is the best choice, as the toner does not dry out like an inkjet. But the downside is the printer cost more to start with and when I do have to replace the toner it cost more. For those that print all the time, a laser is still better, if you are doing black and white. The cost per page is less with a laser printer and the printers are made better.
But if you want color and you print a lot you should consider an inkjet, as that is the cheapest way to do color. Also for both, getting re-manufactured ink will save you a bundle.
Patrick Baldwin – Phoenix, AZ

Digital Storage Could be an Option too!

Printing only what you need is good, and can be especially useful if you have a smartphone and a system for emails and digital storage (such as Google Drive, as Patrick says). Most of the time, there is a non-paper way to accomplish the task before you.

Investing in an appropriate printer for your needs and usage patterns is also important. To build on Patrick’s comment, if you need a color inkjet printer, make sure it has separate cartridges for each of the ink colors, and make sure you actually use it every so often. If the inks go unused for too long, they dry out and have to be replaced or cleaned, or you end up paying for an expensive printer repair or a new printer.

As for refilled or remanufactured ink cartridges, some people swear by them, but I’ve had enough mixed or bad results, that I don’t think it’s worth the risk/hassle. I figure, if I actually do need to have that kind of printer, I’d better use it properly, like keeping your car properly maintained.   Dwayne Gradin – Phoenix, AZ 

Making Toner Last Longer

Don’t change the toner cartridge when your printer says it’s low on toner. Wait until it actually prints poor copies. For me, that is often six weeks after the “toner low” message starts flashing. Kathy Kuhl – Washington, D.C.
Also with laser toners pulling them out and tipping them back and forth will many times get you another 30-40 pages. A gentle rocking lengthwise. Patrick Baldwin – Phoenix, AZ
Gently shaking the ink-jet cartridges also will extend their life: remove the cartridge, shake it gently, replace. Victoria Hay – Tempe, AZ 

Minimize the Need for Toner

Use google docs to keep documents so you can access them wherever you have a computer and internet. This saves you from printing them. You can also share them so you and another person say your better half can also make updates. Patrick Baldwin – Phoenix, AZ 

Draft Your Printer

One simple thing that helped my husband and me to save on printer cartridges through graduate school was to adjust the default printer setting to Draft. Most of what we print is for ourselves and Draft quality is just fine. If we are printing out something for someone else we simply put it on Normal or Best.   Michelle Stoneman – Lincoln, NE

I read this study online that shows that if you switch up your font to Times New Roman or Century Gothic you can save ink… and money. I have attached the link for the article. Check out this NPR story.  Jerry W.- Appleton, WI

Ink Savings

I have been refilling my ink cartridges for several years with a refill kit I picked up at a discount store. It’s a messy job and every time I do it, I mutter, “When this stuff is gone, I’m not doing this again.” Plus, the color ink is not compatible with our printer, so my kids complain about the colors not being right when they make cards or try to print pictures. I was ready to bite the bullet and buy it at the store again.
But based on your article about office supplies, I went shopping on the internet. I found a company called and purchased refill cartridges for our Canon printer for $4.65 each or if I ordered 4 or more they were discounted another $1.10. If I ordered $45 worth of products, I got free shipping, so . . . I ordered one of each color to make sure it is compatible and the rest black to total enough for free shipping. I bought 12 cartridges arriving for $45.60! Wow!   Lyn Haberstock – Phoenix, AZ

More Inky Deals

I just got another great deal on inkjet cartridges! I went to They had a sale . . . buy 2 get 1 free. Plus if you ordered more than 4 you got an additional discount. I ordered compatible cartridges for my printer. Shipping and handling were only $4.95. I ordered 8 cartridges, got 4 more for free, for a total of 12 cartridges. The cost per cartridge ended up being $2.71. I love a deal!   Lyn Haberstock – Phoenix, AZ

Ink Recycling Game

Here’s how I save money on printer ink. I use Office Depot / Office Max Loyalty Recycling Program. You can turn in up to 10 used inkjet cartridges per month. You get 200 points per cartridge that you turn in provided you make a minimum of $10 during the same month. They put no limit on the number of points you can earn. When you’ve accumulated 1000 points you can redeem them for a $10 Rewards Certificate.   Holly Swager – Scottsdale, AZ

A Recycling Company  Option

We found another resource for recycling printer components. The place is called They recycle toner cartridges, printer drums, and inkjet cartridges.
Just go to their website, fill out their form and box up your recyclables. Make sure you put a packing list inside the box with a list of the items you are sending in, as well as all your contact information. If you forget the packing list, your shipment will NOT be credited to you. This company will send you a shipping label for free shipping. They will not take every model, so you will need to check their list for your item/model numbers. This is a great way to help save the environment.   Annette Economides – Scottsdale, AZ

How to Keep your Laptop Cooler
Black laptop computer sitting on a chrome bakery cooking rack.

We regularly used our laptop computer on the dining room table. But I was concerned that there wasn’t enough airspace between the tablecloth and the fans on the bottom of the computer to keep it from overheating. Most of the stands I found for my 17-inch computer cost more than 25 dollars.
One day I noticed an unused, 15-inch5 inch cooling rack in the kitchen closet. The laptop fits perfectly on its new “stand.” It looks like it was made for it. It rises a 1/4″ off the table, provides more than enough circulation and I can even feed the wires under the computer.
These cooling racks come in a large variety of sizes and heights, so it’s easy to find one perfect for your laptop’s dimensions. You can pick one up at a discount store for around five dollars.   Jim – CA

Buy Printers Online

Here are four ways to ensure you get the best deal possible on a Printer

1. Test  Go to the larger department stores to have a demonstration of the product you are researching. Be sure, particularly with computer printers regarding speed and consumable costs.

2. Research Go home and do a search on the internet for the specific model you tested.

3. Verify the online store. I only buy from reputable online stores that are located in my country – this way I can phone them first if I have any questions or doubts about their service.

4. Compare prices and you’ll find vast differences – as a result, you can save much, much more. And, they courier to your door – sometimes at no charge.

By following these four steps I’ve found savings in excess of 30 percent with a full guarantee.
D. Eller – Australia

How to Avoid Computer Disasters

A man staring at a dead computer with smoke coming out of it.

We use Macintosh computers (always bought used) at our house. They cost a little more, but we’ve never had a virus problem . . . ever. But we have had hard-drives die and that has created all kinds of problems. In the past, we regularly backed-up our writing (books and columns), email and other data to DVD’s and stored them in a safe-deposit box at our bank. It was time-consuming, but it saved us the loss of data a couple of times.

How We Protect our Photos and Data

Now we have an external hard drive, backup system in our office, but we also are using Carbonite — an online constant back-up of all of our data. It costs less than $5 per month and in our minds is a great bargain. Our literary agent, Steve Laube, has been using it for years and has been able to recover complete manuscripts for some of his other authors when their computers died.

It does take several days (or weeks) to back up all of your information — the time depends on your internet connection and how much data you have to back up.

What a comfort to know that all of our hard work is safe from fire, power surges, theft and hard drive deaths. You know we’re into saving money, but sometimes it

pays to spend a little to have the security of knowing you’re covered for sure.

If you’re not sure about buying it, Carbonite offers a free15-day trial (we like FREE!).

Carbonite offers unlimited online backup for your home or business for only $59.00/year. Try it free for 15 days and back up your irreplaceable files automatically and securely. You don’t need to give them credit card information for the free trial.

 How we use Carbonite to Backup

Carbonite is designed to automatically back up most files in the Documents and Settings folder, which includes “My Documents” and “Desktop”. However, some users choose to manually select files for backup, or decide to back up files that are stored in other locations. Any file or folder can be added to the backup by simply right-clicking on the file or folder and selecting “Back this up” from the Carbonite menu. Once files and folders are selected for backup, they will be continually backed up in the background so that your backup is always up-to-date.

Remote Access is really cool too!

A couple of days each week Steve takes one of our kids to AP classes at a local community college. He writes or updates our website from his laptop while waiting. Just this week (3.7.11), he needed a file from our main computer to complete a presentation he was updating. By logging in to the Carbonite website and clicking on the Remote Access tab in the upper right corner, he was able to download the 5 mb file and start using it within 3 minutes! It saves time and stress! What a great way to back-up and access information.

By the way, this was the first time we tried using Carbonite’s remote access service and it was super easy to understand and use.


Good Quality, But Cheaper Computer Parts

We always buy our computers “pre-owned” from either eBay or a Refurbisher. But when it comes to computer parts like RAM and hard drives we always buy them new with a manufacturer’s warranty.

A few of the more reliable and trustworthy sources we’ve found are OtherWorldComputing, MacMall/PCMall and

All of them are competitive on price and customer service. NewEgg’s website seems to be easier to search.

Company Phone
MacMall / PC Mall  1-800-622-6255  1-800-390-1119
OtherWorldComputing / MacSales  1-800-275-4576


A red print icon on a gray computer keyboard.

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If you have a way to save money on computers or printers, please leave it as a comment below.

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