Anyone that has ever purchased a printer would have ask themselves this question. Imagine walking into your local electronics or office supply store and purchasing an ink printer complete with black and colored inks. You take it home, set it up (today’s printers are so much more easier to set up and get going than the printers of yesteryears), put it to good use for a couple of weeks or months, and then the prints start to fade.

You receive a warning on your monitor or on the printers monitor (if it has one) that the ink cartridge is low and needs replacing. Being a responsible electronics owner, and in fear of running out of ink when you need to print out that oh-so-important document, you head to the store to grab some refills, but then are appalled at the prices that face you.

A single refill alone of all four cartridges (black, yellow, magenta (a purplish-red) and cyan (a fancy word for bright blue)) can cost you more than the printer itself. So why does printer ink cost so damn much?

Drop for drop, printer ink costs more than champagne or human blood for that matter. You can speculate all you want on why the cost of printer inks have now risen to the point where they can bankrupt small island nations (okay that may be a bit much) but there really is only one answer: profit.

The majority of printer inks out there are manufactured by companies that build printers and promote their use. Companies will often take a hit on their profit margin to sell their consumers the printers. They do this to build a market, a need and a want for their real money makers, ink cartridges.

Some printer companies have even go so far as to assure that consumers use their particular brand of inks by installing a microchip in the cartridge. If the printer does not sense that microchip it will not accept the ink cartridge. How convenient for the printer company? By doing this, printer companies are basically forcing the customer into buying their ink.

Printer companies justify this move by stating that the use of microchips will ensure that customers do not continue on using expired ink (as if that ever made a difference) and it prevents the customer in using inferior ink or cartridges from third-parties. While this argument does carry some merit, it is as they say, “putting make-up on a pig”.

If you want to save money and avoid lining the pockets of printer companies consider making the switch to laser.

Yes, the printers are more expensive as are a the toners, but dollar for dollar you get more prints out of laser printers, much more. But, if you absolutely love inkjet printers then consider purchasing refilled cartridges, or better yet refill them yourselves. Refill kits can be purchased for a fraction of a brand new cartridge. Finally, “buy in bulk” by purchasing XL cartridges that hold more ink than normal sized cartridges (just make sure that your printer can still function with them on).