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How to print on a budget

Tips and tricks to save a fortune

You want great-looking output. You don't want to spend a fortune on ink and paper. These tips and tricks can help.

Many lower-cost laser printers come with starter cartridges that last anywhere from 60 percent to as little as 33 percent as long as a regular cartridge. Granted, if you don't print much, that first cartridge could last you a while; but if you know you'll be printing at least 100 pages per month, either find a printer that comes with a full-size cartridge or factor in the cost of an early replacement. Of course, if you get a great deal on the printer, your overall cost may still be quite affordable.

The heavier, brighter (whiter), or more specialised the paper is, the more it will cost. You'll generally pay as little as a £5 for standard ream of office paper but around £12 for just 100 sheets of photo paper.

Save the pricey stuff for final prints; for everything else, use the cheapest paper you can find. It will affect the print quality from your laser printer minimally, if at all, and it will work fine for producing drafts and other internal documents on your ink jet printer. Third-party brands often cost less per page than the printer manufacturer's media, but test ink jet-specific media on your printer to see if you like the results. You may have to buy a full pack to do this, unfortunately.

Some printer manufacturers save on costs by omitting the USB or parallel cable that you may need to connect the device to your computer. If you can't use the same cable you had for your last printer, shop around: You don't need the expensive models with gold connectors and heavy shielding unless you have a lot of interference in your work area from other devices.

NEXT PAGE: Penny-saving printer settings

  1. Tips and tricks to ensure you don't spend a fortune on ink
  2. The incredible, shrunken starter cartridge
  3. Penny-saving printer settings
  4. Digital photo tips
  5. Taking a chance on cheap
  6. Pay it again, Sam: ink costs can dwarf printer prices
  7. Bulk ink: feed the need, cheaply

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