10 Ways to Save Money on Printing

Third-party Inks
You can save money using third-party cartridges or refilling your ink, but you might have to compromise some quality. © ka_ru/iStockphoto

If you're tired of paying top dollar for proprietary ink cartridges, you can always opt either for third-party cartridges or refill original equipment manufacturer (OEM) cartridges with third-party inks. Printer companies prod you to use only their proprietary ink cartridges — they insist that only their formulas work properly in their products, and in some cases will tell you that third-party inks may void your warranty.

Of course, most companies want you to purchase their inks, but if you do want the best possible prints, those businesses may actually have a point. Third-party inks often don't achieve the same color quality or clarity of manufacturer formulas. And thanks to a built-in identification chip in the cartridges themselves, a lot of printers won't accept anything but fresh, genuine cartridges, anyway. If you do manage to make non-OEM cartridges work, the inks may ultimately clog or damage your print heads.

However, if you don't mind the risks and you don't need top quality, third-party cartridges are available all over the web for a fraction of the cost of proprietary inks. If you print frequently, this strategy alone could save you hundreds of dollars in a single year.