Printers are Free

Why spend so much money on something you won't use terribly often

April 6, 2021

The cheapest of new printers will probably cost you at least $100, but are you really getting $100 worth of value out of it? Printers have been around for quite some time but they haven't been getting any better, in fact I'd even argue that they are getting worse, they almost never connect to your computer without some sort of hiccup, they can't do something as simple as print a document from a flash drive, they require expensive proprietary ink cartridges and the new ones all want to be connected to the internet all the time. You probably don't even use them more than once every two weeks, these devices are simply not worth $100.

Luckily you don't have to pay $100 for one of these, everywhere I've lived one can reliably buy a printer at either a thrift store, or a site like craigslist for only five or ten dollars, especially if you are in a college town. People get rid of printers all the time, many of them are realizing that printers are becoming obsolete in our modern digital world, while others are simply consoomers upgrading to a more sophisticated printer with features that they don't need. The printers these people are getting rid of are almost always perfectly functional and have enough ink to last you a couple months. Buying a used printer is almost always cheaper than replacing the ink in the printer you already have. Why would you fix something when it is cheaper to replace it?

But how are they free if you still have to buy them? That's easy, if you bought a printer for five or ten bucks, as long as it is a good printer, you could probably sell it to someone else for that same price even after you've used up all of its ink, it may take a month or two but you will eventually find a buyer (you may even be able to turn a small profit). Alternatively you could just give it away to a friend or a thrift store. You can also salvage it for parts, most of the newer ones will have Wi-Fi cards that are always nice to have laying around, and if you wanted to get extra entrepreneurial you could take it all apart and cut out pieces of the PCB boards that house the computer chips and make them in to key chains or something. An inkless printer still has value.

Printers are of course not the most expensive or important things that you need but this same sort of mentality can be applied to all sorts of things. The most obvious of these should be the place you live, never rent a house when you can afford to buy one, you are throwing your money away when you rent, but when you buy you will get most of it back when you eventually sell your house. Cars are another thing you can save a lot of money on if you know what you are doing, I know a guy who for the past several years has been buying cars at tow auctions to fix up and drive them as personal cars for a few years before selling them for the same price he bought them for. Doing this he is able to always drive modern cars without actually having to pay for them.

Tools are another thing that you can save a lot of money on by buying, I usually would encourage people to collect as many tools as they can but there are some circumstances where owning a particular tool may not make sense since you'd rarely need it, for many people a chainsaw would be an example of this, if a windstorm knocks some large trees down on your property you'll need a chainsaw to clean it up, you could rent a chainsaw, but you don't want to pay more than you have to and your one day job could easily turn into a three day job that you'll rush in order to save money if you rent a chainsaw that may not be in good shape. It is much smarter (provided you have the savings) to buy a chainsaw, use it to finish your job at your own pace, then sell it, you probably won't be able to sell it for its full price new but your net cost after selling it will likely be less than what it would have cost you to rent one, and a new tool will always be of better quality than a rental one.

There are endless ways that you can use to save money on things, you should never have to pay more than you have to for something.