Saving Money on Printing Costs

High Printing Cost

If you own a business then you are well aware of how much printing can cost. At a claimed $4,731 per gallon, printer ink is more expensive than vintage Champagne, rare whiskey or Russian caviar so saving money on printing costs has become an issue that has to be dealt with. This has been a fact for over ten years and instead of this commodity going down over time like everything else does in consumer electronics, ink prices are going up, some reports say as much as 30 percent since 2009. You can easily pay $20 to $35 per ink cartridge that may yield any where from 200 to 1000 pages, if your lucky. It’s easy to see how printing can become very expensive very quickly for business.

If your a small to medium size business and printing on average 500 to 800 pages a week, these cost can become significant. An average price per printed page using a single color like black is running between 3 to 10 cents a page. Lets take an average cost of 6.5 cents per page and you are printing 650 pages a week. That comes to $2,197 a year and that’s just for black, if your staff prints in color this cost goes up significantly. Like it or not printing has become a substantial business expense, but there are way’s to control this cost. There  will always be the printing that can’t be avoided in business like invoicing, packing slips, mailing labels, legal documents and so on. The trick here is to know and let your staff know what is necessary printing and what can be saved as PDF files or put in an e-mail to be sent to the recipient. Here are some simple ideas we have come up with to help you trim  printing expenses.

Be Conscientiousness of What you are Printing:

Printing has become so easy now that we don’t even think about it anymore. How many times have you printed memos, maps, baseball scores, interesting articles that you think you will read later and never do? How about that message at the bottom of emails, “Please consider the environment before printing this email”, does it really do any good? Have you ever noticed how many times that message ends up on it’s own page wasting even more paper? Almost anything you print can be copied and sent via email or saved as a PDF and forwarded to someone to read. Many businesses are now using programs such as Dropbox to save and share many of their files and documents. This is a great way to save on printing as anyone in the company can access, read and even change a document within the organization without ever printing a single page.

Bottom Line: There’s virtually nothing you might be accustomed to printing that you can’t  reproduce in digital form instead. What’s more, you can archive, index, and search digital files much more quickly than paper files.

Reduce Paper Usage:

Getting as much information on each page is a simple and efficient way to save on printing cost not to mention the paper itself. There are a few ways to accomplish this. The first is to simply change the size of the font when your done editing your document and before you print. Play around with the different size fonts and see how much you can shrink the text and still have your document readable and pleasant to the eye. Recently we had an agreement for our customers that took up two and a half pages. After careful editing, rewording and shrinking the font size we successfully captured the entire document on one page. It was very readable, had all the information the customer needed to understand the contract and we saved two sheets of paper each time plus the ink cost.

Another way to save money is to use duplexing if your printer has that feature, this is where a printer will print on both sides of a page. If you use this feature along with reducing font size the saving can be substantial at the end of a year. When you’re printing PowerPoint slides try using the option that lets you print multiple slides per page instead of just one. In PowerPoint’s Handouts mode, you can print up to nine slides on single side of paper. This may be to small for many presentations but even if you printed two slides per piece of paper you have just cut your paper and ink usage in half.

There’s also the “Shrink to fit” option in Excel, Word and most Web browsers. This setting keeps orphaned text and columns from being cut off when you print a page that’s ordinarily a bit too large for your printer. Using this feature can save you from printing lots of sheets with just one or two words and possibly having to reprint the whole job when you see this and it’s to late.


Most people have never thought of changing fonts when printing to save on ink. Most of us just use what ever font our programs default to on setup. When’s the last time you even looked at the font you were printing in, do you even know what font you are using? A recent study from found that Century Gothic used so much less ink than industry-standard Arial that a company printing 250 pages a week would save about $80 a year by doing nothing more than switching fonts. The more professional looking Times New Roman was nearly as cost-effective. If you want to change the default font in Word go to the Home tab > Styles and choose the font you want in the pull down menu. In Outlook, Tools > Options > Mail Format > Stationery and Fonts.

Refilled or Re-manufactured Cartridges:

Everyone seems to have an opinion on this subject, some from personnel experience, some from second hand accounts on the quality of refilled printer cartridges and some from trying these products 10 or 15 years ago having a bad experience and never going back. The bottom line is the quality of these re manufactured inks and toners are now on par with the OEM’s (Original Equipment Manufacturer). PC world has conducted significant research into the question of third party ink cartridges and has determined that in most cases prints made with off-brand inks were as good or nearly as good as their brand name counterparts. They did say that if you are looking for the very best quality when printing high glossy photo prints, it might be worth purchasing the OEM brand inks and photo paper to match.

Xerox recently launched a “Responsible Line” of re-manufactured ink & toner cartridges that will fit most major brands of printers. If a large well know OEM printer and copier manufacturer like Xerox is getting into the game that pretty well sums up the quality that can be achieved refilling printer cartridges. They would not get into the game if they could not achieve quality to match the originals. After all these years of Xerox and the other OEM’s bashing third party inks I find it interesting that one of them is finally jumping in thereby substantiating our claims all along of third party ink being as good as the originals. So for most people, particularly those who print text, they can easily get by with third party ink, this move alone can save you up to 70%!

Two Printers in the Office:

OK, so your wondering how two printers can be cheaper than one right. A lot of small business will buy one color printer to do all of the work in the office, color and black & white thinking this will save them money, but as we all know most printing in an office is in black & white so why use a color printer to do you black & white jobs. A better solution is to have a small high speed workhorse laser printer to do all of the black & white printing and a color inkjet printer that is dedicated to printing all photos and color documents in the office. Laser printers are considerably cheaper to use than inkjets. As with any printer the cost per page is highly variable but on average a price of 2 to 4 cents per page is normal for a laser printer. It’s not unusual  to pay upwards of 10 cents or more per page with a inkjet printer. Lasers are also much faster than ink jets which is a big plus in an office environment. A word of caution, stay away from a color laser printer unless you really need this type of printing. Color laser printers need four toner cartridges, black, cyan, magenta and yellow to operate and this can be very expensive. I’ve seen laser printers that cost as much as $900 to $1200 to load and the quality of a color print from a laser will never match that of an inkjet.

Some companies have taken drastic measures to curb printing like removing all personnel desk top printers from employees desks. This forces the employee to send his/her print to a dedicated networked printer that may be at the other end of the building which reduces printing by making the person doing the printing think twice before printing. Other businesses have banned printing for one or two days a week but this is overkill in my opinion. The point is printing has become an expensive proposition and each company has to determine how best to attack the problem. But in the end the single most cost cutting solution is to use re-manufactured inks. For one, you can realize huge savings, they say up to 70% but in my experience I would say it’s in the 30 to 50% range. Couple that with the suggestions given here and you will be well on your way to cutting your printing cost in half without having to turn printers off or locking them in the closet and starting small riots. If your interested in trying high quality re-manufactured ink or toner for yourself, check out our site, Ink & Toner Solutions or contact us at for more information.

We love to get feedback from our readers so please if you have any tip or tricks on how to save on printing let us know.







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6 thoughts on “Saving Money on Printing Costs

  1. Hello,

    I’ve read your post and found it interesting. The problem of printing costs is always difficult to solve.

    Seems to me, that you just forgot to write about refillable cartridges for inkjet printers.
    Also, some knowledge is required for them to be used correctly, they are quite a good solution to reduce printing costs. Together with the C.I.S.S….

    And for laser, you can find kits to refill the toner cartridge yourself for a very low cost.

    I’m just wondering why you don’t write anything on these things.

    Best regards

    Please forgive my very bad english, I’m just french….

    1. Thanks for your input and suggestions.
      We were planning on writing a post on the CISS (continuous ink system) at a later date.
      Our post did touch on the subject of the quality of refilled cartridges Vs OEM but we did not get into the how to refill ink jets because the kits that are on the market vary in quality & instructions.
      The real problem with the refill at home kits are the complexity of the newer cartridges that have come out with the chips.
      To have the cartridge work properly these chips have to be replaced and or reset which in some cases takes very expensive equipment.
      I have seen kits that give you the inks, how to refill but nothing is said about the chip issue.
      We feel it is better to buy the refilled cartridges from a reputable seller that has these filled correctly & the chip issue resolved.
      Just our opinion.


  2. Does printing a 1-page (on screen) Word document on to half a page (on paper) actually use less ink than printing it on to 1 whole page (on paper)? The printed area would be smaller, but the printing would be more concentrated.

    1. Hi E,
      That is the best thought-provoking question we’ve ever been asked! I am almost certain it WOULD use less ink since the text is essentially being reduced in size, but some inkjet printers aren’t precise enough (under 300 dpi) to produce legible text printing this way. A laser printer would definitely be able to shrink the text and print it beautifully and precisely. Thanks for the question, it gave us something to think about!

      1. Hello Chris,
        1. Thanks for the reply.
        2. It seems obvious that printing smaller would require less ink. The reason why I asked was that when you print it smaller, the letters do indeed become smaller, but they become somewhat thicker and more concentrated (ie. darker). So, does printing smaller really use less ink?

        1. We have an inkjet printer here that we are interested to test this theory on. We will print a test page of text both regularly and in reduced size and measure the amount of actual ink used (ml). We will let you know what we find!

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