Saving Money on Printer Ink with eBay and Staples

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If you’ve been printing up a storm during tax season like me, you’re probably also running low on ink. I just saw on TV that Staples is giving out $3 coupons for turning in any used ink or toner cartridge. The coupon can be used on anything in Staples, not necessarily another ink cartridge. This is great, because ink cartridges have huge markups.

Let’s take the HP #45 cartridge that I use. Retail = $29.99. Staples Refilled Brand = $21.66. eBay Refilled = $8.50 shipped to my door. When it’s empty, drop it off for a $3 coupon, that’s less than $6 each in the end! I’d turn in your empties now, because who knows when this will expire…

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  1. Anonymous says

    Any recommended ebay seller for these?

  2. I’ve bought from eForcity (seller in the link) before with no issues. Their feedback isn’t the best though, hovering around 98%. I wouldn’t buy anything over $20 from them, but for this I gave it a shot.

    They also have a website at, but the prices are always higher than at eBay, so I’ve never used it.

  3. Do your own refilling. Buy a kit online or on ebay. It’s much cheaper and you can save anywhere from 75-90% off the cost of buying a refilled cartridge. Why pay $6 when you can pay just $1.25. All it costs you is an extra ten minutes with a syringe and a bottle. Just be sure to buy the specific refiller right ink and to stay away from all of those “universal” refill packages.

  4. It seems like most of their negative stem from the fact that they put an item up for sale and then don’t have it in stock. With their volume and the margin on an $8 cartridge, it’s not suprising.

  5. Anonymous says

    the problem with refills is that it can get messy. I like buying generic ink cartridges for cheap. It only costs about $1 for one cartridge of black ink from

  6. Anonymous says

    It is amazing the variation in pricing for refilled cartridges – my printer takes the HP 56, 57, 58, and 59 which seem very expensive. Can’t one refill using the refill kits for quite a bit less?

  7. Refill kits are definitely another good option, and seem like a good value if you use a lot of ink. I only replace mine about 2-3 times a year. I see kits for about $5 per refill unless I buy a huge amount of ink, where can I find ones for $1.25?

    I am willing to pay a couple bucks more to not have to worry about dried-out and clogged inkjet heads and messing with ink bottles and syringes. But if the cost difference increased, I’d give it a try.

    Anon – $1? I definitely don’t see any $1 cartridges at Talk about razor thin profit margins. For my cartridge, I see $6 ones with free shipping if I buy 10 at a time.

  8. Oops, I meant to say they cost me about $1 for my old epson 880 printer. Actually its showing for .79, but you gotta buy in bulk to get free shipping. But like you mentioned, ink for the newer printers cost more. The prices for ink now are outrageous. For people who don’t print that much, you’re better off holding off and getting a free after rebate printer on black friday!

  9. biomedstudent says

    I’m 20 years old; soon to be 21. My networth is approximately $0.50 US. My mid-term goal is to reach $10,000 before I graduate the university. Then I expect to go to school for free in a MD/PhD incentive program (Well, not entirely for free). I’m trying to be more financially organized. I don’t know what my trust fund amount is after interest. When it was started, it was at $25,000. I was about 12 years old – best guest. I can’t touch it until I’m 25, but I know medical insurance premiums, cost of living, inflation…all that stuff will eat up whatever I have – then I have some medical school debt and undergrad debt. Recently, my old university charged 31,000 a year so I transferred. I’m only paying about 21,000 now. I have about $14,000 of undergraduate debt from a bank loan combined with small federal loans. Any software suggestions to keep this organized? I also have a Sams Club debt of about $600 dollars. Managed to pay off the Capital One card!

  10. for an $8.99 cartridge on ebay, that seller charges $8.99 for shipping! shipping charge is just as much as the cartridge itself!

  11. I’ve tried using a refill kit with ink bottles before. Is was a waste of time for me. The quality sucked and it was all messy. I won’t be trying that again. =)

  12. Here’s a tip–you don’t necessarily have to keep (expensive) color ink in your printer. I have an HP 5550, and I just took the original color ink tank out when it was empty. Now I can just print in black and white, in “reserve” mode. Now each time I print out, a message pops up and I have to click Continue. It’s is a minor hassle, but I’d rather do that than pay for color ink I don’t really need.

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