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December 04, 2007


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Know what just hit us? Our vacuum cleaner. We just had to buy a new hepa filter for it. That meant driving out to Best Buy and spending $30+. And while I was there I needed a new ink cartridge too. Little expenses like that drive me nuts!

It is always something, and these are the things that I find derail my best laid plans to pay off debt and start saving. I make a budget that allows an extra $300 toward debt each month, but then an ink cartridge, lawnmower blade, and basement leak leave me with nothing extra.

November was a "3 paycheck month" so I though I would have some extra cash for debt payment, then, wham, I get hit with a $500 repair for a laundry pump.

For anything that requires continuous additional cost, I always look for a cheaper alternative or try to buy in bulk (eBay is great for this). Examples in our household - I buy water filters and razor blades on eBay in bulk - not only saves you tons of money, but lots of trips to the store. Obviously this works best with smaller items that can be shipped relatively inexpensively. For ink cartridges, I bought (again on eBay) a kit that includes ink and syringes to refill the cartridges. Spent $20 on ink that will give me 20+ refills. Doesn't work for everything, but bulk buying and alternative solutions can save you quite a bit.

I thought of this when I saw the mention of the printer. Laser printers are often cheaper in the long run, since the cost per page is MUCH lower than with inkjets. And face it, most of the time, you don't need color printing capability. I've had a black-and-white laser printer as the only printer for the last two and a half years and I don't miss color printing much. And the cost per page, all things considered, is about 1/10 of that for the inkjet, which was still not too bad for an inkjet printer of decent quality.

Sure, there is a cost up front for the printer, toner is generally more expensive to buy, you may need to factor in replacement of the drum, but when you split it out per page you get out of it, it's a bargain.

Anything with a subscription. I avoid them like the plague.

I second the laser printer recommendation. A most than adequate printer can be had for less than $200 (Brother sells a nice multi-function laser unit which includes a scanner/fax/copier for roughly $150). Toner lasts *much* longer than ink cartridges and, if you print infrequently, toner never "dries up" like ink cartridges have done to me in the past.

My previous printer lasted 6 years on the original toner cartridge that came with the printer (printed about 5000 pages before needing to be replaced).

Unless I suddenly go into a field where I need high-quality color printing (photography), I don't think I will ever buy an inkjet again.

Printers ongoing cost go up with wear and tear on the machine...paper jams, bad print jobs, and ripped paper.
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How about boats as a cost that never end... gas, oil, and boy toys

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