Print For Less: Top Tips For Those On A Budget


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As a university student, trying to buy my own printer was an experience akin to a technological nightmare. Printing can be one of the most expensive things that we do on a daily basis. There are so many different things to consider and so much conflicting advice that it’s hard to know what to do for the best.

If you’re living on a budget, which in the current climate is probably most of us, you need to be equipped with the following tips to make sure that you don’t get stung!

Consider Which Printer Suits You

As technology advances, so does a printer’s capacity to function in a variety of ways, whether it’s printing photos, copying, scanning or even printing from your mobile. If you’re trying to save your cash though, it’s worth considering what you actually need a printer for.

Do you really need a Wi-fi connection? Will you realistically be printing photos or will you just be going for bog-standard printing?

Be prepared as well to pay a little more for the printer itself to save in future on ink costs, particularly if you need more than one function for the printer. The least expensive printers often recoup their profit by having extortionate prices for compatible ink replacement cartridges. Kodak’s ESP C310, for example, is more expensive initially at £69 but has amongst the lowest ink costs in the long run.

Conserve Ink Costs

In conjunction with selecting a printer to suit you is conserving ink costs. In addition to common sense things like only printing what you need, you can save much more on your ink costs with a few nifty tricks!

If you’re using your printer at home, try printing in low quality and printing only in black and white to save money. You can set this as your default for the printer by going into the Control Panel in Windows, selecting your printer and changing the printing preferences (print quality is under ‘advanced settings’).

Another practical tip is to hunt around when it comes to replacing your cartridges. Replacement ink can vary greatly in price, so have a look around online and search for bargains! You can also often find discounts if you buy both black and colour cartridges in one go.

Save The Planet – And Your Money

There’s a reason why being economical is forced upon us nowadays; it’s because it’s often more cost-effective! When it comes to printing, paper and energy costs can mount up without you being fully aware of what you’re spending.

Making sure that you don’t leave your printer on standby unnecessarily is the big issue when it comes to being economical. When not in use, switch off at the wall – it couldn’t be simpler than that.

Saving money on paper is a little more tricky. The best way is to try to fit as much as possible onto the page with each print. If you tend to print Word documents the most, try customising your margins so that you still get the same print but can fit more on the page.

Similarly, try using a small font style and size. A handy little trick is to orient your page as landscape and use two columns, as if you were reading a book, as well as using small font sizes. This way you’re guaranteed to fit more on the page. Also, why not try printing double-sided? If your printer doesn’t have the capacity to do this automatically, it can be a bit fiddly, but it will be worth saving the money.

If in doubt, why not pop down to your local technology store and ask for some advice? Reading reviews of printers online can also be handy for working out printing costs in the long run, which is more important that the initial cost for the printer itself.

Have you got more tips on how to print for less? Share your thoughts by commenting below!

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Julia Molloy is a tech geek who loves blogging and reviewing books. She recommends Printer Basics.

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