Saturday, March 13, 2010

Homeschool Printing Expenses (and how to save money)


I am all about getting the most out of my money however I can and as a homeschooler, expenses can add up quickly. I have always made use of the internet for various games and printables. Up until the last year or so, I have always had Lexmark printers. They are inexpensive and easy to use. But I have found as my kids get older and our needs have changed, I have had more and more ink expenses. About 6 months ago, i finally got fed up with my Lexmark all-in-one, and decided to purchase a new printer from a different manufacturer.


I decided to go with an HP all-in-one. I was happy with my purchase for about a month til it was time to refill my ink. I found that no one refilled the cartridges so I tried to figure out how to refill them myself. I didn’t have very good luck with the process. That was ok, I figured the cartridges were cheaper than the Lexmark cartridges had been, so no big. But I soon realized I was going through these cartridges even quicker than I had with my Lexmarks. So, I decided I needed to do more research and buy a different printer.

In this process, I discovered Continuous Ink Systems, refillable cartridges and auto reset chips. Wow, how did I not stumble across all of this information sooner?

I settled on an Epson model that happened to be on sale at a local office supply. I paid a bit more for it than I was used to, but I figured since I had previously had so much trouble with my cheap printers, maybe a little more money would give me a printer that would last longer and perform better. The best part of this purchase is that it was a wifi printer!


My next step was to buy an ink refill system. I originally was looking to purchase an CIS, but decided that after having just purchased a printer, I need to keep my costs down (so as not to cause my husband to have a cow). So I instead decided to purchase a refillable cartridge kit.


I paid about $50 for my kit and it has already paid for itself! My kit came with 4 full, refillable cartridges (designed for use with my printer model), and 4 large bottles of ink to refill them with. I would have paid about the same to purchase 1 set of OEM cartridges from Epson.

There is enough ink in the cartridges and the bottles to equal about 12 regular cartridges of each color (and possibly more). When my printer registers the cartridges as empty, I simply take out the “empty” cartridge (which is actually about 3/4 full still), place it back into the printer, and reinstall it. Then it shows up as full and I’m off and printing again! AWESOME!!

This is the best way I have found in my 6 years of homeschooling to have worry-free printing. I can now print whatever I want without worrying if it’s going to use up all of my ink, and that my friends, is an awesome power for a homeschooling momma to have (evil grin).

It is very easy to find these kits, though the prices vary greatly depending on your printer/cartridge model and the place you purchase it from. You can find lots of them on Amazon, or you can just do a Google search on “continuous ink systems” or “refillable cartridges” and get lots of results. I happened to purchase mine from SuperToBuy, but if I end up repurchasing any in the future I will order them from this Amazon seller. They include more ink with your kit AND they offer a one year replacement guarantee on their cartridges.

All in all, I have been extremely satisfied with my purchase. If you do a lot of printing, like me, it is definitely worth the initial investment to purchase one of these systems or kits.

Happy Printing!

: ) Cassie

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