Economic times being what they are, everyone wants to get the most out of their hard-earned dollar. What most people realize is there are lots of little ways to save money by being smarter with their computers. At the same time, using your computer resources more efficiently will reduce waste and help the environment. Here are 9 tips that will make your wallet and Mother Nature happier.
1) Use Power Management
When you’re not using your computer, set it go to into sleep (or standby) mode. Modern operating systems ship with power management settings enabled, which saves an average of $25 to $75 a year. You will save even more if you reduce the time before the computer or monitor sleeps.
2) Switch Off Power Strips
Using sleep mode will save you money, but sleeping devices still consume one to three watts each. To reduce your computer’s energy use to zero when not being used, flip the switch on your power strip which will cut off all electricity to the devices. This applies to computers, monitors, printers as well as other non-computer devices. TVs, DVD players, game consoles, microwaves and anything else that has status lights on them constantly suck a little power from outlets. Cutting their supply when they don’t need any will save you some watts which add up over time.
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3) Rechargeable Batteries
Rechargable batteries are good for the environment and good for your wallet. Yes, they're more expensive initially, but you get to re-use them up to 1000 times. That means thousands of of batteries that aren't being tossed into a landfill.
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4) Buy a cable modem instead of renting
If you look at your cable bill, you'll see a charge for renting that cable modem. These charges are usually about $3 per month. Over time, this adds up to $36 each year. Why rent when you can buy? With cable modems starting at around $70, they pay for themselves in about two years.
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5) Compatible ink cartridges
A way to save money on on each page your print is to purchase non-branded ink cartridges. With printer manufacturer's branded ink cartridges costing up to $20 for each color, you can save up to 30% when you choose compatible Micro Center ink cartridges. Our PrintIT ink and toner finder can show you both name-brand and other compatible cartridges for your printer.
PrintIT ink/toner finder
6) Refill your cartridges
To save even more on ink and toner, you can refill your own cartridges once they run dry. Ink and toner refill kits are available for any brand of printer and work without too much fuss. Refilling your own can save you up to 80%.
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7) Switch To A Laser Printer
While laser printers have historically been more expensive than inkjets, studies have shown that the total cost of ownership for laser printers is lower the longer the printer lasts. The average cost of ink for each page from an inkjet printer is 7¢ to 16¢ compared to a few pennies each for laser. If you primarily print office documents, laser printers will be cheaper in the long run. But, of course, if you're printing photos, laser can't beat inkjet photo printers.
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8) Draft mode printing
Before you print a document, you should ask yourself, “Am I going to frame that?” If not, using the draft printing mode will save ink or toner, and be quicker to print. To enable this mode, go into the print preferences dialog box and look for a setting called Draft Mode, Economy Mode or Ink/Toner Saving. This may show up under a Quality section as in the screenshot below. On some printers, the quality is a function of the print speed. Selecting "Fast" equates to draft mode. You may want to save these settings as a default, only using the high-quality mode for documents you really are going to frame.
Print quality options for a Okidata laser printer. Set on Fast and Toner Saving will produce quick output at the cost of quality.
10) Duplex Printing
Many laser printers have duplex printing modes that will use both sides of a page. This can save you lots of paper if you mainly print multi-page documents. You'll find duplex printing on many laser printers but is less common on inkjet models.
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You can still save paper even if you don’t have a printer that will duplex for you. Microsoft Word’s print dialogue box has an option for manual duplex. This will send pages 1, 3, 5, etc. to the printer and when they’re done, you just need to put these pages back into the paper tray and allow Word to continue. The only trick to this is to know which way to put the pages so the even-numbered pages will print the right direction on the page.
The Manual duplex checkbox will send odd-numbered pages to the printer first.
Word will ask you to put the odd-numbered pages back in the printer.
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