Printing is a costly affair, especially for a college student. Each page you print could cost you almost ten to twenty cents, and considering that you'll print over a few thousand pages at the end of your college career, you might as well save some money while you're at it. In this definite guide, I will show you some awesome and sly ways you can use to save money on printing. To begin, let's dump our old friend, the All-In-One.

STOP USING THE ALL-IN-ONE PRINTER

I know this was the printer you used when you were in junior high and in high school. It's that printer that let you scan stuff and even fax (if you know what that is), but seriously, STOP USING IT! This printer, if used improperly, could cost you hundreds of dollars every year. The inkjet printer, which has come a long way, is a very cheap printer. However, the ink is a different story. 

The ink on these bad boys cost way, way too much for their own good. Sure, you see that $19.99 price tag at the store for a Lexmark printer, but think again. Before buying any printer, make sure to check the cost of its ink. Printer manufacturers will sell inkjet printers for low prices, only to make up for it by selling you overpriced ink. For example, Lexmark printers use 3-4 different color cartridges. You'll find it a pain in the behind when you struggle to understand why you have to pay $15 dollars each for different colors.

If you find yourself in a situation to not retire your All-In-One for printing, then make sure to use the Fast Draft mode while printing. Also, if you've got some cash, you might want to invest in a program called InkSaver.

REDUCE INK USAGE WITH InkSaver

I found this software about 5 years ago, while I was losing money printing from my silly All-In-One. I figured, there must be some way to save money while printing. And there is a way. InkSaver is a program that does what is says, it saves you ink. The program works by reducing the amount of ink that the printer uses to print your documents and images. In other words, when you normally print, the printer actually uses a lot more ink than it needs. However, this program prevents the printer from doing that by giving you options as to how dark your prints will come out. Obviously, the lighter the print, the less ink, and the darker the print, the more ink used. Seriously, you don't need to print very dark for stuff you don't plan to keep for very long.

START BUYING THIRD PARTY INK & TONER

You may not realize it, but the printer manufacturers aren't the only folks who make ink. There are actually third party makers who make the same ink, but for a fraction of the price. For example, the "hp psc 1210 all-in-one" that I own, sells black ink for about $22 retail. However, if you buy a third party branded ink, you can get that same black ink for $11. That's half the cost people! They also have third party toner, but I'll get to that in a bit after we learn about the LaserJet Printer.

SAVE LOTS OF MONEY USING A LaserJet Printer

I got into using a LaserJet after an old college roommate bought one. I was trying to understand why. I realized that if you didn't need to print color, you could save a lot of money buying a LaserJet printer. A LaserJet printer can output more black and white prints than an InkJet. Although the toner, which is like the ink, is more expensive than conventional ink cartridges, you can print more for less. The LaserJet printer will probably cost about 2x the price of an InkJet printer, fortunately, the printer will pay for itself in due time. About four years ago, I purchased an "HP LaserJet 1018" printer for about $80; it was on sale. Little did I know, the cost of the toner was about $60. Panicked, I checked my trusty website, databazaar.com, and I found a third party toner for only $22. Holy crap, I saved a third of the cost!

I can print almost at a penny a sheet. Assuming you find printing paper for little to no money, I can print about a thousand sheets on one toner cartridge. In actuality, I pay around 2-3 cents per sheet, which isn't bad at all.  You might say, sure I can save lots of money, but what if you don't got extra cash. Well, if you're on a tight budget and need to print a thesis or report, but got no extra money, head on over to your local Staples or Office Max and I'll tell you how to print for free.

HOW TO PRINT FOR FREE!

Before you start heading out the door to do this, make sure to do it responsibly and sensibly. If everybody did this, then I'm sure we'd eventually never buy anything. Anyway, if you don't know this already, you can purchase most products at stores and return them. However, sometimes electronics have a restocking fee which keeps customers from buying and trying gadgets out. Surprisingly, printers are an exception to the rule at places like Office Depot or Staples. You can actually purchase the printer, print whatever you need, and then return the printer within the boundaries of the return time. Its that simple.

I was struggling to print a report in color. Remember when I told you about LaserJet and how I'm using it to print black and white. Well, I needed to print color and I wasn't going to dish out money to make it happen. Instead, I purchased a printer to use to get the job done, and I returned it promptly afterwards. I knew I stumbled on a gold mine, but having to buy and return is such a hassle, and I don't buy and return very often.


MY RECOMMENDATIONS

If your heading out to college this fall, ask your parents to buy you a LaserJet Printer. I would suggest buying the "HP LaserJet 1018" printer, however, it's difficult to find now. When you start looking for a printer, make sure to visit databazaar.com to see if they sell cheap third party ink for that printer. If you think its a good deal, then buy that printer. It's that simple.

What about printing in color? Well, if you feel that printing color will be a necessity, you can purchase a color LaserJet printer. These will cost you a bit more than their black & white counterpart, however, you can save money by going this route. Unfortunately, third party toner for even color LaserJet printers are still pricey, so make sure to do your research before you buy.

How about scanning? This one is tough, if you decide to drop your All-In-One, you might be out of luck. However, most colleges have computer labs with scanners in them, you might want to go to there and use their scanner. Also, you might already own a portable scanner, a digital camera. You can actually take pictures of documents and text using your phone, if your camera is good enough.