Printing is usually a costly affair, especially for college students. It's my hope that college students will one day live in a print free world, but I don't see that happening anytime soon. There's just something unique and useful about a paper that offers that tactile feel. In this special "Definitive Guide" I'll be teaching you how to print for cheap, smart, and even free. Yup. No bull, just the facts. If you're willing to put in a little effort you'll definitely save a lot of money in the long run. And when you need to print that 25 page paper, you'll be printing it out for as little as a penny a sheet.
More than likely, you have a printer in your room. HP is probably the most popular printer brand around. I’m sure if you looked at your printer, it probably says HP. In addition, the printer you own is probably an All-In-One. If you do have one of these printers, than you bought it because you wanted to save money. The printer was cheap, but you soon realized that the ink wasn’t.
Did you know your printer had some other options? Your documents normally print in “Normal Mode.” However, if you’re just printing regular junk, you might want to try Fast Draft Mode. To access this, for example in Microsoft Word:
This mode will lightly print out documents to save you ink.
For LaserJet printers, there is an EconoMode.
Did you know that software can save you money? I tried out InkSaver 2.0 on my LaserJet and I was able to print a substantial amount more documents. You can demo the software and see for yourself. Pretty much it works like the “Fast Draft Mode” except it has more options. You can practically print documents very lightly on a sheet of paper saving you more ink and money. It’s a free trial, so try it out.
I’m sure you’ve seen these bad boys on television. There substantially cheaper than your name brand ink. I have not personally used them, but they're worth a try.
Your printer maker, whether it’s HP, Dell, or Lexmark produce their very own ink for their own printer brand. However, you don’t have to buy the name brank ink or toner products from them. There are actually other companies out there who sell similar generic branded ink and toner for a fraction of the name brand cost. From my experience I’ve been able to buy ink and laserjet toner for almost half the price. In addition, the quality of the ink or toner had no visible difference. A great website to buy ink or toner is http://www.databazaar.com.
If you are a mass printer, you probably should buy a LaserJet printer. These little tanks, which have shrunk in size, are now very portable and affordable to the average college students. Instead of buying a $20 dollar inkjet, invest in a $50-$150 LaserJet. I use a LaserJet and I’m able to print over 800 pages on one toner cartridge. I usually pay $26.00 for my toner.
If you are super cheap and need to print that colored 30 page TPS report out, then you might benefit by trying this trick out. Honestly, I don’t recommend you using this method. I’ll leave the honesty at the door. Just to note, University Ninja does not endorse this method. I’m telling you for research purposes.
Buy a printer at a local Office Depot or Staples. Make sure to keep the receipt and ask them about their return policy. If they have a restocking fee, then this is a no-no. If there isn’t, take the printer home and gently take it out and use it. After you are done printing your documents, return it. It’s that simple. Most of them don’t ask why you’re returning it. If you do get asked, just tell them you didn’t like it.
I print by using a LaserJet printer and buying toner from Databazaar. I can usually print about 1000 pages (not verified). It cost me about 3 cents a page to print. Not too bad, considering most places charge 5 cents for a black and white copy.