We all love the convenience of printing whatever we want whenever we want, but we all feel the pain in our hip pockets once our cartridges are empty, and we need to buy new ones. There are ways to minimize the pain, either by postponing it or making it lighter. In this handy guide, we’ll show you how you can make your cartridges stretch further plus how to get your cartridges cheaper whether you are printing from home, or you are an enterprise level company. Here are the top 7 ways to save on printing.

1. Don’t print!

Wait. Did we just say don’t print? Yes, we did! We don’t mean stop printing altogether. You can always cut down on printing. Far too often we hit the print button when we don’t need to. If you can read it on your screen, do that rather than printing it out. If it’s a document, choose to save it rather than printing it. For instance, we have folders on our computer that hold different documents that we would usually print out.

All the bills we receive via email, or need to download, go in different folders. We have them sorted by month, and then into a paid or unpaid folder, and move them as we pay them. They are easy to find months later, too. If you prefer, you can also divide them into folders for each company.

We also have folders to sort our emails, so we don’t need to print them out, even the important ones. Every email program will allow you to create new folders to store emails, even most online ones like Hotmail and Gmail.

Remember, before you hit the print button ask yourself, “Is there a smarter way I can read or save this document?”.

2. Draft Mode is your friend.

Draft mode is one of the easiest ways to cut your printing costs, sometimes in half. What is draft mode? Nearly every single printer offers a setting that results in slightly fainter printing. This slightly fainter print is more than adequate for documents you need to print out for yourself, or for internal use in your office. The text is perfectly legible, and the images are still easy to make out, but the printer will use much less toner or ink to print the page.

Leave your printer on draft mode as the default, and when you need a high-quality page, you can change the settings just for that page. Look in your printer settings to find draft mode, if you can’t find it, check the printer manual, and if you still can’t find it just Google your printer’s model plus draft mode.

3. Use grayscale on your colour printer.

Even if you own a colour printer, you know that you don’t need to print in colour all the time. Just as there are different settings for draft mode, you can set your printer to ignore colour in documents and print in grayscale, only using the black cartridge (which is usually cheaper per page). Another interesting fact is that many printers, even though they have separate inks or toners, will use both black and colour cartridges to make black. This is because printer companies think you want the deepest black possible, so the printer can lay down all four colours just to print text or produce black graphics, and in the process using up the cartridges four times faster. Check your settings, manual or Google to see if your printer can do grayscale only.

4. Use your printer at least once a week.

This too may seem counter-intuitive, how can you save money on printing by using your printer more often?

We’ve seen it happen many times. The printer hasn’t been used for months, and the next time a page goes to be printed the ink or toner has clogged up and needs to be replaced. You can avoid this happening by printing a single line of text, or a small postage stamp size photograph, around once a week. This makes the printer keep the ink or toner flowing smoothly. You don’t need to print much so you will use little ink out of the cartridge or cartridges.

5. Don’t turn your printer off.

Every time you turn your printer on, it goes through a maintenance and cleaning cycle to clean the printhead. You can usually hear your printer making lots of weird noises when you turn it on, right? These noises are the printheads passing over the maintenance station, and the maintenance station priming ink through the printhead. The printer does this every time it turns on because it isn’t sure how long the printer has been switched off and thinks the printheads need a clean. The printhead clean can use up to 5% of the ink from the cartridge on some printers.

The solution? Just leave your printer switched on. If you use our tip of printing once a week you won’t have any problems. The minimal cost of electricity to keep the printer in standby mode is more than offset by the reduced amount of ink that would have been wasted.

6. Change fonts.

Savings by using more economical fonts

Savings by using more economical fonts

This is a very easy change. If you print a lot of text, you can save a lot just by changing the font you use on your computer. That’s because some fonts are heavier, or are quite large and take up more space compared to other fonts.

In a study conducted by printer.com, switching to the font Century Gothic could save the average person printing 25 pages of text per week $20 per year. A business or heavy user printing 250 documents a week could save up to $250 per year (compared to using the Arial font that is commonly used on most documents).

There are some legibility issues due to the smaller size of the Century Gothic font, but if you try it and you are happy with the results, then you are definitely onto a cost saving winner by switching.

If you can cut down on bold type, headings and images in your documents you can save even more.

7. Buy a new printer.

Wait. What? Aren’t we trying to save money here? Let’s explain.

Have you ever seen those colour inkjet printers on sale for $39? Amazing value, right? Wrong! These printers use expensive cartridges that hold just a few milliliters of ink and are soon exhausted, making you run out and buy new cartridges frequently. These so called cheap printers can cost up to $2 a page to print, and cost hundreds of dollars per year to run. Unless you print very, very few pages a year it is much more cost effective to buy a new printer. The same if you only need to print black and white documents. There is no need for you to have a colour inkjet printer for that when a mono laser printer would bring your cost per page down to a few cents.

By buying a printer suitable for the uses you need it for, in the long run you will save much more than the cost of the printer.

Bonus Tip

Lot’s of chain stores offer photo prints at a very low price point if you order in bulk – start saving the photos you’d like to print out to a USB thumb drive, or favourite them on your phone. Once you have enough, you will be able to get them printed for much less than it costs on your home printer!


As you can see, by implementing these tips you can cut your printing costs, savings tens, hundreds or even thousands (if you are a large enterprise) of dollars per year. Most of them are dead easy to implement and highly effective. We know you will save plenty!

Of course, the easiest way to save on purchasing ink and toner is to buy at Printzone 🙂

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