Do you love pretty, colorful printables but hate having to shell out big bucks for color ink cartridges? I used to feel the same way, and after trying many less than ideal options resigned myself to the fact that simple, reliable color printing on a budget wasn’t an option. I’m so excited that I have finally found a solution that really works!
First, I have to say that I have definitely tried some budget printing options that did not work out so well! I know some people refill their own ink cartridges but that can be messy and was intimidating to me. I’ve also tried purchasing non-original ink cartridges from places like 123inkjets.com. I know some people do that with great results, and it does save a lot of money. However, I often had trouble getting them to work. It was a major headache, and I’ve even had a situation where I couldn’t ever get my printer to work again with any ink cartridge.
After all that, I just resigned myself to paying lots of money on color ink. I had a $200+ Epson Artisan 837 printer which produced excellent quality prints (when it actually worked), but that’s about the only thing it had going for it. The replacement ink was expensive, and the printer didn’t do a good job grabbing paper (especially thicker, higher quality paper). I would have to fight with it to get it to accept high quality paper, and it would often grab multiple pages of the regular paper. Printing something like this on high quality, thick paper was a pain:
Finally, I stumbled across the ideal solution. Some time ago, a reader left a comment on a post telling me about HP Instant Ink. I was intrigued and looked into it. It sounded like a dream come true for a full color printable lover like myself! I didn’t want to say anything about it here on the blog until I had tested it out for myself.
You need an HP printer (that can connect to the internet). Once you have that, you can sign up for the Instant Ink program. They automatically monitor your ink status and mail you new ink before you need it. They also provide postage paid envelopes for you to return used ink cartridges for recycling. You pay a monthly fee based on how many prints you need. The highest level is 300 prints for $9.99 per month, which comes out to just 3 cents per full color page! It doesn’t matter whether you print a full page colorful photo or a simple black and white page of text. It’s super simple – just the same cost per page period. They have plans starting as low as $2.99 per month if you don’t do a ton of printing. I love how straightforward it is, and that there are no guessing games about how much printing will cost you. Also, you can roll over unused prints to the next month, so you don’t have to waste your unused prints. And if you go over, you can get additional prints for the same price per print. No need to cringe when you want to print something like this:
Shortly after finding out about HP Instant Ink, I went to Target and bought an HP Envy 5530 printer for $80. I got it there only because I was too impatient to wait 2 days for it to arrive if I ordered in on Amazon, plus it was on sale at the time. Then I went to the HP Instant Ink website and signed up. It was quick and easy. They mailed me new cartridges right away (meanwhile there was plenty of ink in the starter cartridges that came with the printer). As soon as I installed those cartridges, my plan began.
I’ve used it for a while now, and everything is working great. The printer works really well (much more reliable than my previous more expensive printer). It prints fantastic photos (you wouldn’t know that they didn’t come from a photo lab) and great full color pages on premium thicker weight paper. I haven’t had paper feeding issues even with thick paper. It does do automatic two sided printing as well.
My favorite paper for stunning quality prints is Epson Premium Presentation Paper. It’s amazing what a difference the paper makes in print quality. I also do choose best quality printing when using that paper (and I love that with the HP Instant Ink I don’t have to pay more for using that best quality setting). The paper is fairly thick and not super cheap, so I only using for things I want to hang up, but not for printing an entire planner. If I’m printing a lot of pages (like a whole planner), and I still want impressive quality, I use 32 lb HP Laserjet paper. I know it’s a laser paper, but it works great in my HP inkjet printer.
I love that I can print something like my sweet life dated planner which is about 130 pages of FULL color for less than $5!
By the way, I’m not sponsored by HP or anything like that although I am using a referral link (which means that I’ll get some free ink. By the way, when you sign up, they’ll give you a referral link also to share with your friends and you might be able to earn some free ink also! Free is even better than affordable, right.) I just truly love the service and wanted to share it with you. Some other links used in this post are affiliate links. I only share products that I know and love. Thanks so much for supporting my blog. It means so much to me.