As a homeschooling, scrapbooking, list-making mother of twelve who’s been keeping calendars, planning lessons, and printing schedules for over 30 years now, I’ve gone through more than my fair share of printer cartridges. I’ve tried everything to save big on ink — from joining rewards programs and stocking up when it’s on sale to using syringes full of generic ink to refill my own cartridges. Some of these methods were more successful (and/or more of a hassle) than others.
By combining a few of the easier savings strategies, however, I was eventually able to get my final cost down to less than $1 per cartridge, which is consistently all I’ve paid for the past 15 years or so.
If you’d like to enjoy that kind of savings yourself, just follow these three steps:
3 Simple Steps to Saving Big on Printer Ink
If you are not already using Rakuten (formerly Ebates), sign up without delay. It’s quick, easy, and completely free. You can still shop with all your favorite online merchants, but you’ll earn cash back on every purchase (not only on computer ink) by going through Rakuten to do so. Plus, if you sign up with my referral link, you’ll earn a $10 bonus after making your first purchase.
When you buy ink or toner cartridges from 123inkjets.com (whether name brand or remanufactured), you get great savings and a 100% money-back guarantee. If you buy in bulk, you save even more and get free shipping. And if you enter the site through an Rakuten portal, you earn anywhere from 11% to 32% cash back. Further, if you take advantage of the 123Inkjet coupon codes listed on the Rakuten page, you save an additional 15-20% off your purchase. (All these savings together drop the price on the cartridges I use to less than $2.00 a piece).
Recycle through Office Depot
When it’s time to replace your ink, take the empty cartridges to Office Depot. They’ll credit your Rewards Account for $1 per cartridge you bring in for recycling — up to ten per month. (That drops the final cost of my cartridges to about 50-cents each if I buy on a double cashback day, or about $1 a piece if I purchase it at any other time).
And that’s all there is to it. See? No big mystery, it just takes a little planning ahead. I almost always have ink on hand (and do I ever cringe over paying regular prices when I run out!).
The color matching of the generic ink is plenty good enough for the kind of printing I do (at least, it was before my kids mistakenly replaced an empty yellow cartridge with a full black one. Ugh!)
If you print a lot of photos at home, however, you may want to stick to name brand cartridges — although even brand name cartridges will cost you significantly less if you follow the simple steps above to purchase them.