You can get a good printer these days for around $80. But that's just the beginning. The cost of ink cartridges really adds up.
Consumer Reports says no matter which printer you buy, there are ways to save on ink, as well as on paper.
And the beginning of the school year is a good time to get started trimming the costs.
Consumer Reports' tests shows some printers cost a lot more to operate than others.
"We found some printers cost three times more to print an eight-by-ten photo and five times more to print this page of text," said Paul Reynolds of Consumer Reports.
No matter which printer you have, there are ways to cut costs.
Like setting to print in "fast" or "draft" mode to save ink.
Also helpful, preview before printing so you can eliminate unwanted pages.
"It's especially important when you're printing Web pages, so you don't end up with a page with only a line or two," said Reynolds.
You'll also save on paper if you use a smaller font and set smaller margins to fit more on a page.
"Printing on both sides saves paper, too." said Reynolds.
With most printers that means looking under printer properties and clicking on "duplex printing."
It prints every other page and then you reload the paper to print on the other side.
But some printers make it a lot easier.
They print on one side and then automatically retract the paper to print on the back.
And one more money-saving move-recycle your empty ink cartridges and get a refund.
Staples offers refunds on used ink cartridges.
You'll get a three-dollar coupon for each cartridge you return from HP, Dell, and Lenmark.