How I Cut My Printing Costs

This is the story of how I got tired of feeling ripped off by the cost of printer ink, and finally did something about it.


HP Printer

The HP printer that I had been using for the past several years burned through cartridges quickly. The black cartridge was supposed to be good for 200 prints, and the color cartridge was supposed to be good for 165. I say “supposed to” because I don’t think I ever came close to that number when I was printing in color.

Being an ink jet printer, it was programmed to use color ink – even when printing in black and white. I would go into the printer settings every time I had something to print, and change the setting to black ink only, and every time I would be annoyed that there wasn’t a way to make that the default setting. Clearly this was all a game to use more ink, and I wasn’t winning.

Each time I printed a coupon, I would wonder if I was really saving money by doing so. A couple of the coupon sites that I frequent send coupons straight to your printer, which means those coupons were being printed with color ink. Super frustrating, and I was powerless to do anything about it.

My breaking point came when I burned through a brand new color cartridge in a single day! I was working on a couple projects at the time, but I really hadn’t printed very many pages. In that moment, it became painfully clear just how short of their 165-page claim the cartridges were coming. It was time to move on.

My Solution:

For years, I’d heard [Read more...]

Salvation Army Score: White Dishes

White Dishes

When these white dishes landed in my local Salvation Army a couple months ago, I was totally psyched. I’m always on the lookout for more white dishes to add to my party stash. As you may remember, I like to throw no-waste parties. Instead of buying disposable products for each party, I use real dishes, glasses and silverware. It’s lots nicer; it costs less; and it’s good for the environment, too. Go here to read more about my no-waste party set up.

White dishes work for any party theme, and it’s fairly easy to piece together a set on the cheap. You don’t even have to stick to a single brand to get a cohesive look. Pretty much every company makes a basic white plate. Restaurant-grade dishes are my preference because they’re extra sturdy, and they show up in thrift stores often enough.

Dish Hallmark

See where it says,”ALibbey Food Service Company”? That’s a sure sign you’re getting something sturdy.

But, unfortuntately, my excitement for these dishes ended there because the plates were priced at $3.99 each, and the bowls were priced at $2.99 each. With 19 plates and 18 bowls, that would have been $129.63! Way out of my range.

We’ll, turns out, they were out of everyone else’s range too because after they sat around for a couple months, they got marked down to $.25 each. And, let me tell you, at that price, I couldn’t load them into my cart fast enough.

So I got the whole stack of dishes for $9.25 and tax – a killer deal.

But wait, there’s more …

Because, you may recall that my Salvation Army store gives away free bread with every purchase.

2 Free Loaves of Bread

And that means my lovely new dishes came with two lovely loaves of bread. Pretty sweet deal, eh?

Spring Cleaning Twitter Party

Spring Cleaning Supplies

Let’s celebrate the first day of spring with a spring cleaning Twitter party. I’ll be answering your spring cleaning questions live tonight, Thursday, May 20, from 5-6 p.m. ET. Use #AskErin to ask a question and #SpringCleaning to follow the conversation. I hope to see you there.

If you’re not following me on Twitter yet, you’ll find me at @ErinHuffstetler.

Party sponsored by @Ooma.

Soy Sauce Eggs

Soy Sauce Eggs

With five chickens, the eggs sometimes come in faster than I can use them. When that happens, I hop online and search for new recipes to try. On one such occasion, I discovered a recipe for soy sauce eggs (Shoyu Tamago in Japanese), which are a lovely and ridiculously tasty take on hard-boiled eggs. Basically, you cook hard-boiled eggs in soy sauce until the whites turn dark brown and the eggs take on that salty, savory soy sauce flavor. I’ve since made them a bunch of times, and devised my own recipe in the process. It’s super easy, and well worth a try.

[Read more...]

Repurpose Conference Name Tags

New Use for Conference Name Tags

I attend a couple conferences a year, and I’m always stumped as to what to do with those conference name tags when I get home. I mean, some of them are kinda nice. Maybe a little too nice to just toss in the trash. Which is why I’m happy to report that I finally found a use for them: luggage tags. Yes, luggage tags. I mean, think about it, they already have your name on them, so if you just stick your contact information on the back, you’ll be good to go. And if your name tag already has your e-mail address printed on it, you may not even have to do that.

Conference Name Tag Turned Luggage Tag

A clever repurpose and one less thing hanging around the house? That folks, is what we call a winner around here.