Printing with color ink on a budget…is it really possible? Is there a way to make printed or color copies endlessly without breaking the bank? YES, there is! This printing trick is one of the best things that ever happened to me as a teacher! Read on to learn about my absolute favorite print service.
This post contains affiliate links. By purchasing through this link, we get a small commission. Rest assured – we only share links to products that we know and love!
Printing with Color Ink on a Budget
Color Printing for Teachers
Like most teachers, I go through color ink like CRAZY. I could print only black and white, but that would be NO fun! What about name tags? And posters? Sticker reminders? Don’t forget about all the other amazing things I find on Teachers Pay Teachers? 😉 Think about all of those pdf files that would just be boring in black and white. 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 know, you might be thinking, “are you crazy??”
I have compared so many print services in my years and weighed all of the printing options. From Staples, to Office Depot, to Amazon, and comparing different cartridges. I have done the math and found what I truly believe is the best printing option around. Printing with color ink on a budget is truly possible after all!
I have the HP OfficeJet 4635 (now the HP OfficeJet 4650 e-All-in-One Printer), so every time I had to buy a new black and white and color ink cartridge, it costed me around $68.00. NO THANK YOU!
Does this sound familiar? I have so many pdf files, classroom decor items, and more that I want to print in color from home. I was desperate for a cost-effective way to keep printing with color ink on a budget. Guess what? I finally found it! It’s called HP Instant Ink! This is your ticket to printing with color ink on a budget.
So, How Does It Work?
#1 – An Eligible Printer
First, you need an eligible printer so you can start printing with color ink on a budget. Click here to find a list. Since you have an eligible printer, your printer will “communicate” with HP and inform them to send you more ink when you are running low. You will never have to leave a print job halfway done because you’ve run out of ink. This print service will make sure you are always stocked up.
As of June 2020; click for source.
If your color 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 will 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! No matter if it is printed or copies, you are set.
#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 think you’ll print at home. Keep in mind 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 prints a lot at home too, I went with this plan. These plans make printing with color ink on a budget possible.
Breaking Down the 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 additional 25 pages.
Now let’s be real, some months my print job is smaller and I don’t print 300 pages. During back to school time, I print A TON! One year I went through two sets of ink cartridges. This year during back to school time, I printed roughly 340 pages. Once you go over your allotted number of pages, you are charged $1 for every 25 extra pages. That means I paid $2 extra that month.
cheap “a money saver,” so I contacted Staples when I knew I was close to my 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 pages in color, or I could print up to 50 pages at home, in color, for $2. The HP Instant Ink print service was STILL the better printing option. And I didn’t have to change out of my PJ’s leave my house ;-). HP Instant Ink truly makes your print job easier and more cost effective.
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 during this “billing cycle”, and I have 300 roll over pages built up. Meaning, 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 going to do some math to show you that printing with color ink on a budget is possible with HP Instant Ink.
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. 😉 ) Now I don’t need to be conscious of my color printing, because my ink supply is unlimited. Additionally, my ink gets delivered to my front door, so I don’t even have to leave my house. #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 getting low, they will mail you new ink cartridges. Crazy right? I typically don’t even realize that my ink is starting to get low until I get ink delivered to my doorstep. Therefore, this means no more late night runs to Staples or Office Depot, no more waiting for your Amazon ink order to arrive so you can print those new name tags or pdf files for the week’s lesson plans, 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.
Receiving Your Ink Cartridges
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 got enrolled, I was extremely skeptical and sure that this would be the case. However, I was proven wrong. 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 print service is for me as a teacher, I just couldn’t help but share it with you!
Best Printers For Teachers At Home
Over time, I’ve had many people ask me which printer I recommend. Like I said above, I have the HP Officejet 4630. I absolutely LOVE this color printer. I can print double-sided pages, on cardstock (and all the teachers said “Hooray!”), and from my iPhone. I can scan, copy, and fax. Since I purchased mine, they have replaced my color printer with the HP OfficeJet 4650 Wireless All-in-One Photo Printer with Mobile Printing, Instant Ink ready (F1J03A). (P.S. This color 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 color printer. Next, enroll! Did you know you can enroll in HP Instant Ink without leaving your house?! Order an enrollment card from Amazon. Upon it’s arrival, 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, you can get that print job list ready and start printing to your heart’s content! #allthecolor
Is It Available Where I Live?
I’ve been getting many emails and comments asking if the HP Instant Ink print services are 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 this information is helpful to you and you will start printing with color ink on a budget too! Do you have any printing options or 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!