How to Reduce Printing Costs?

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Taking into account the rising price of cartridges or even printing paper for that matter, escalating printing costs might just become an annoyance that you can no longer just brush aside as a simple pet peeve of yours.

The average cartridge out in the market today costs about $30 and only produces an average of 500 pages. If you have a small business or a hectic college life that requires you to print, let’s say 2,000 pages a month, you are easily looking at about $120 – $150 in printing costs every month, a rather significant expense.

Can you bring it down? Yes, you certainly can, by applying some of the tips below, tips aimed at helping you reduce printing costs.

How to save on printing costs?

Maybe you shouldn’t print that page at all!

The easiest way to save on printing costs is to not print at all! While this tip can seem absurd and obvious to you, considering that you want to print and still save money and not save money by not printing, there is no denying the fact that at least some of the papers you print needn’t be printed at all!

With progressive electronic storage advancements like cloud storage and tiny flash drives that can hold several GBs of data, please take a moment to think if your next print job can stay digital and on the screen, as opposed to a printed ink on paper that came from cut down trees. You will be surprised at how unnecessarily you have been printing some information in the past when you could have just shot off an email or just accessed the text electronically instead, on an as needed basis.

Choose the right printer

If you are still shopping around for a printer, make it a point to include cost per printed page as a strong evaluating factor when finally choosing a printer. In general, laser printers offer a low printing cost per page while inkjet printers run a high printing cost per page.

However, the flip side is that laser printers are more expensive than inkjet printers. Choosing an economical printer will thus come down to your budget and running cost estimations.. If you print more than 500 pages in a month, we would highly recommend that you choose a laser printer over an ink jet printer, even if it means shelling out more for the purchase of a printer. Also, if you run a home office, we recommend that you choose one of these popular home office printers that are all economical but still very efficient printers, efficient when it comes to speed, quality and cost of printing.

how to reduce printing costs
You must also take into account cartridge replacement costs and even possibly look at cartridge refilling services. However, do remember that refilling your cartridges will often mean that print quality will decline when compared to the print quality that original and branded cartridges provide.

In some cases, it actually makes sense to buy a heavy duty black and white laser printer and a separate color printer. Though this will cost you more initially, you will easily save on printing costs in the long run as printers capable of printing both black and white and color are just not cost or even quality and quantity efficient as black and white printers that are designed for economy printing.

Start duplex printing

Almost all printers being sold now come with a duplex printing option, an option that simply allows you to print on both sides of a sheet of paper. While this won’t do anything to save ink in your cartridges, it will definitely slash your paper costs quite considerably.

The downside to duplex printing is that printing speed will reduce as the printer rolls the paper around to print on both sides. However, the small delay is well worth it when you look at cost savings on printing paper.

Use print preview, always!

One of the most commonly committed printing sins is printing without previewing the print with the print preview option. What you see on the screen will not necessarily translate onto paper when you print. To find out what your print will look like, without actually printing it, print preview is your only  option.

Always print preview and use smart features like “Shrink to fit” to reduce the number of pages that you have to print.

Print in draft mode or saver mode

When you are printing something like reference notes or something unofficial that you don’t have to present or constantly look up, you can print such material in “Draft” or “Saver” mode that will allow the printer to use the least amount of ink to make the text and images legible.

If you use this mode all the time, you can even double the life of your cartridge, depending on the modes that you were using before.

All printers will have this mode if you look in printer settings. If your printer is old and doesn’t have such a mode, you can still see if they have updated the driver for your old printer, to enable it to print in draft mode now.

Most printers print at about 600 DPI or in standard mode. Enabling Draft mode will mean that the printer will print with a 300 DPI resolution. As you can see, cartridge usage comes down by 50%, resulting in significant ink and cost savings.

Choose efficient fonts!

Yes, even your choice of font can play a part in reducing your printing costs. Minimalistic fonts like Century Gothic and Times New Roman can save on printer ink costs as these fonts use narrow letters that require less ink to print.

Of course, savings from changing your font will only make considerable sense if you print a lot of volume but it still gives you an avenue to save. Verdana and Calibri are also very efficient fonts when it comes to reducing printing costs.

Printing webpages

When you want to print a page from the web, don’t copy paste the whole page on to a word document. Instead, go to print setup in your browser and optimize your print before you execute it.

Most browsers allow you to disable printing of images and also give you “Shrink to fit” option. Some browsers will even allow you to change fonts before printing. Using these features will allow you to print web pages without the big image ads that can otherwise really squeeze out your printer’s ink in no time.

Carry out maintenance on your cartridges and toners

If you own a inkjet printer, you must perform routine maintenance on it by occasionally printing out a “test” page. If your printer came with software, look for a feature that will clean out the nozzles. Do this once in a week or once every two weeks.

If you own a laser printer that uses a toner cartridge, you can perform maintenance by removing the cartridge and giving it a few side to side shakes, shakes that will ensure that your toner always evenly prints without streaking and looking uneven.

Set black and white as default mode

Most printers are sadly set up in such a way that color is the default mode when you first hook it up, after unboxing it. However, this is something that you can easily change by going to printer settings. It is always more economical to manually change from black and white to print color pages than to accidentally print color versions of a page when you could have easily been content with black and white prints of those pages.

There you go, our tips on how to save on printing costs. If you have any different tips on saving printing costs, please drop us your opinion through the comment box. We will only be too happy to publish them for all to see!

About the Author
Michelle, author at Mach Machines. A tech lover and an insatiable latte drinker. Michelle blogs about improving the personal computing experience.
  1. Cade James Davis Reply

    Great read Michelle, always looking for extra ways to be more efficient around the office. I just wanted to share something I’ve been doing recently. I run an office and have noticed that unused toner was piling up in storage. Looked into returning but that was no good. Tried out the site and was impressed. They had quick service and that payout was nice.

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