A Classic Thrifty Mistake: How Not To Buy A Printer


 are you making this classic thrifty mistake

When you are buying the printer you might think to yourself “I am just going to buy the cheapest one with decent ratings”.

However, you are making a classic thrifty mistake if you only look at the price tag and forget to look at the cost of upkeep. For a printer the upkeep cost is in the ink cartridges.

Lets say your narrow it down to two printers one is priced at $69 and the other one is priced at $49. So you think to your thrifty self, I am going to pick up the $49 one and save $20. But wait you forgot about an essential part of the thrifty equation.

If the $69 one takes ink cartridges that cost $14 for black and the $49 printer takes cartridges that cost $18 for a black the twenty dollars you saved is going to be eaten up in 5 refills over buying the $69 one. (basing prices off the 2 printers we currently own, I rarely make color copies but I am guessing differences in prices are similar).

I change our ink once a month so that means in 5 months I will have eaten all my savings and in another 5 months my $20 saved cost me and additional $20 and every 5 months it is going to cost me another $20. That could be a thrifty mistake that cost me $100’s over the life of the printer, we currently have a printer that is at least 9 years old and still going strong.

Instead when picking a printer,  head right to the ink section, find the cheapest ink and then figure out what printers take it.

This same principle can be applied to most anything that takes replacement parts like vehicles or lawn mowers. Always consider the costs of upkeep before you make your purchasing decisions.

Looking for thrifty tips? Follow my Saving Money Tips board on Pinterest. 

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  1. How wise! In decision/purchase it’s important to keep an eye on the ongoing costs… Thank you!

  2. I totally agree with this! I recently had an all in one printer die and I am saving for the next printer. My last one had refilliable cartridge system I loved and saved so much money. It lasted 4 years. If I find a printer at a good price I always go to the site where I got the cartridges first to see if they have a compatible set.

  3. Do all standard print cartridges hold the same amount of ink? This only works if each print cartridge lasts the same amount of time/number of pages printed.

    • Good point. I think that would vary with type of printer, but if you are looking at lets say ink jet printers and comparing them to other ink jet printers then yes it would work since those cartridges do seem to be standard. Good point that I had not thought about though.

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