Are you looking for a way to print with endless colored ink on a budget? This printing trick is one of the best things that ever happened to me as a teacher!
Note: This post contains affiliate links. These are my honest opinions from my experience as an elementary school teacher.
Like most teachers, I go through color ink like CRAZY. I could print only in black and white, but that would be NO fun! What about name tags? And posters? And sticker reminders? And all the other amazing things I find on Teachers Pay Teachers? 😉 I need color ink!
At my school, we do not get ANY color ink, whatsoever. Does that mean I never print in color? No way! It means I print everything in color at home. I have the HP OfficeJet 4635 (now the HP OfficeJet 4650 e-All-in-One Printer), so every time I buy a new black and white and color ink cartridge, it costs me around $68.00.
Sound familiar? I was desperate for a cost-effective way to print in color from home, and guess what? I finally found it! It’s called HP Instant Ink!
SO, HOW DOES IT WORK?
#1 – An Eligible Printer
First, you need an eligible printer. Click here to find a list. Because you have an eligible printer, your printer will “communicate” with HP and inform them to send you more ink when you are running low.
Even if your printer is not on the list, I would 100% say it is worth it to buy one that is on the list. The money you’ll save in ink in the long run will more than make up for it! Plus, my printer scans, faxes, makes copies, and prints from my cell phone!
#2 – Choose Your Plan
After you have an eligible printer, you’ll need to choose your plan. Plans are month-to-month without annual fees. Choose a plan based on how much you’ll think you’ll print at home, but know that you can always change it (without a fee)! For the sake of comparison I’m going to show you the numbers based on the most expensive plan. Since my husband also prints a lot at home, I went with this plan.
For (let’s round) $10 a month, I can print up to 300 pages. Those can be 300 FULL COLOR pages, 300 black and white pages, or any combination of the above! Once you print more than 300 pages, it costs $1 for every 25 pages.
Now let’s be real, some months, I don’t print 300 pages. During back to school, I print A TON! One year I went through two sets of ink cartridges. This year during back to school, I printed roughly 340 pages. Once you go over your allotted number of pages, you are charged $1.00 for every 25 pages. That means I paid $2 extra that month. I’m
cheap “a money saver,” so I contacted Staples when I knew I was close to me 300 page limit. I asked them how much it would cost to print 30 pages in color. At 11 cents per page (for color copies), I could pay my local Staples $3.30 to print 30 in pages in color, or I could print up to 50 pages at home, in color, for $2. HP Instant Ink was STILL the better option. And I didn’t have to change out of my PJ’s leave my house ;-).
Remember how I said sometimes I don’t use all 300 pages? Thankfully, 100 of those pages can rollover. Here are my current stats from my HP Instant Ink dashboard.
I’ve printed 148 pages so far this “billing cycle”, and I have 300 roll over pages built up. That means I can print 452 more pages this month IN COLOR without paying more than the $9.99 I already paid. Pretty cool, right?
LET’S DO THE MATH
I like to consider myself a phonics expert and not a math expert, but for the sake of saving money, I’m gonna do some math.
I used to buy new ink just about every other month. That means that every year, I spent about $400/year on color ink. If I pay $9.99 a month, that comes out to $120.00 a year. See the savings? (It was $280. 😉 ) And now I don’t need to be conscious of my color printing, because my ink supply is unlimited. I also don’t have to leave my house because my ink gets delivered to my front door. #winwin
#3 – Let the Ink Come to You!
Remember how you needed an eligible printer? There are a few reasons for this. Namely, your printer will “communicate” with HP to alert them of your ink supply levels. Once your ink starts to get low, they will mail you new ink cartridges. Crazy right? I don’t even know that my ink is starting to get low until I get ink delivered to my doorstep. This means no more late night runs to Staples, no more waiting for your Amazon ink order to arrive so you can print those new name tags, and no more being conscious of your printing because you know you are about to run out of ink. You literally have an endless supply.
I know it sounds too good to be true, but guess what? You are not charged for the ink cartridges every time they ship you new ink. Before I enrolled, I was extremely skeptical and sure that this would be the case. But no, that monthly plan fee (in my case, $9.99/month) covers all that ink!
To top it off , they even send you prepaid envelopes to mail back your old cartridges so they can be recycled! It just keeps getting better, doesn’t it? 😉 Once I realized how amazing this program is for me as a teacher, I just couldn’t help but share it with you!
UPDATE: PRINTER RECOMMENDATION
I’ve had so many people ask me which printer I recommend. Like I said above, I have the HP Officejet 4630. I absolutely LOVE this printer. I can print double-sided pages, I can print on cardstock (and all the teachers said “Hooray!”), I can print from my iPhone, and I can scan, copy, and fax. Since my purchase, they have replaced my printer with the HP OfficeJet 4650 Wireless All-in-One Photo Printer with Mobile Printing, Instant Ink ready (F1J03A). (P.S. This printer comes in purple and white, too! Like how cute is that?!)
How do I get started?
First, make sure you have (or ordered) an eligible printer. Next, enroll! Did you know you can enroll in HP Instant Ink without leaving your house?! Order an enrollment card from Amazon. Once it arrives, follow the directions on the back of the card to enroll within 7 days, and you’ll get one month of ink for free! Just click on a plan to see that enrollment card!
Finally, start printing to your heart’s content! #allthecolor
UPDATE: Is it available where I live?
I’ve been getting many emails and comments asking if HP Instant Ink is available in countries outside the United States. According to an HP Instant Ink representative I spoke to on the phone, here are the countries where the program is available:
- United States
I hope that information is helpful to you! Do you have any printing tricks to share? Please Let me know in the comments below!
Are you looking for more tips and tricks? Here are 7 powerful tips every Teachers Pay Teachers user should know!