This simple DIY saved me 6,073%

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This Simple DIY saved me 6073%

Here at MakeLivingGood, we talk about all sorts of ways to optimize our expenses and improve our savings. Because we are strong believers that more you save, more you will be able to invest and sooner you will attain your financial freedom. The financial freedom comes to those who manage their expenses intelligently.

With this thought in mind, I look at my expenses on regular basis to evaluate if something could be done to reduce or avoid them.

Many people have asked me why adopt frugal lifestyle when you can easily afford better living. They often judge me as an extreme since I am using a 4-5th generations older iPhone which I bought from someone on ebay couple of years after the model was launched at more than 70% discount.

But I don’t care about what others think as far as frugal lifestyle is concerned. Because I know I am on right track to be financially free sooner than most of them.

I know they will still be living in their oversized 5 bedroom mansions and paying mortgage for many years in the future while I will be finding the cheapest rental properties near same areas.

Every dollar that I will save from paying mortgage, property taxes or home insurance can be put into my financial freedom fund (FFF) to propel my speed.

Remember your saving rate as a percentage of your take home is what you should be looking at.

Saving Rate = Saving / (Income – Expenses)

Why didn’t I buy home yet?

Believe me I was so close to buying a home so many times in the past just to satisfy my ego. But thanks to emotional stability, I didn’t do it.

When I saw myself falling into the trap of being a home purchaser just because my friends were doing it, I thought it will be in my best interest to write my philosophy about purchasing a home. Something which will act as my guiding light next time fall into the same trap.

Ever since I have written my home buying philosophy, I never fell for buying a house rush anymore.

DIY Activities

Do-It-Yourself is another way I save lots of money while keeping myself busy. In fact I enjoy it too and my kids as well. We decided to build our own office table because we couldn’t find something in our budget and meeting our requirements.

When we started procuring the material from home depot for office table, we realized that we could build not one but 2 tables within the same budget. So, we ended up building 2 of them (identical) for $137.25. The actual cost would even be lesser since it including a manual saw, nails, hammer, some wooden pieces, and lots of primer and paint. I estimated to have completed 2 tables under $80 which would retail for $200 each.

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Dollar Shredding Printer

Talking about DIY, we rarely use office printer but cartridges often used to dry up without being used more than 50% of their capacity.

If you are a regular reader of MakeLivingGood, then you might know about my philosophy on wastage. According to this, any dollar wasted is like a brutal crime done against dollar bills.

Knowing this, that printer cartridges are getting wasted most the times, I was forced to spend about $43 a pair (1 color + 1 black) or $61 (2 black + 1 color) every 6 months. Often black ink runs out faster than color so always buy combo pack of 3 from costco.

Then I came to know that Costco offers printer cartridges refill services for $7 a piece. I had been using it for couple of years but ink doesn’t last long enough and I have to get them refilled every 2-3 months from Costco costing me about $14 + taxes each time.

Two weeks ago, I spotted another opportunity for a DIY which I had never tried before but the return to risk ratio was very pretty high so I went for it.

The cartridges had ran out again and it was the time to get them refilled at Costco.

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Another DIY Opportunity

I had never thought about refilling inkjet printer cartridges myself before. I assumed it would need special equipments and buying ink in bulk which incur lots of upfront cost.

But it wasn’t the case in reality. Refilling a printer cartridge actually doesn’t require any special tools or experience. In fact, it’s pretty simple task.

Next I visited ebay and searched for printer ink refill kits which fits my printer’s specifications.

Surprisingly there were lots of inexpensive options available on ebay under $10 with all the tools included for a DIY enthusiast.

save money while refilling printer cartridges yourself
Refill canon printer cartridge at home as a simple DIY project

The screenshot above shows the one I ordered for my Canon Printer. As you can see it’s available for $6.48 for a bottle of 100ml and includes a syringe required to refill the cartridge.

It’s time to start DIY

Now I had all the parts I needed to refill the cartridge. I took out printer’s cartridge (black) by starting the printer and opening the lid right after.

Then waited for couple of seconds for printer cartridge to come in approachable area where I could unplug it.

removing printer cartridge from canon printer
open printer lid to take our cartridge

Once I had the cartridge in hand, I took out a screwdriver from my tool box.

refill printer cartridge from cavity under sticker
refill from cavity under label sticker

You need to make a small hole at a spot right under the sticker. You just need to pull the sticker gently and you will see a circular notch under it.

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Just add some pressure with your screwdriver and rotate the driver in clockwise direction.

I also used a nail to measure the depth of the cavity. One thing to keep in mind here is to not dig a broad and deep hole. Just need to reach under the first layer of the plastic. I would say 4-6mm will be enough. Otherwise ink leak and might cause damage to the printer.

Once the cavity is created, fill the syringe with 2-3 ml ink you ordered. Some recommend that you can fill upto 15ml of ink but I would recommend to take it slow otherwise overfilled cartridge may leak and cause damages to the printer.

refill printer cartridge
refilling printer cartridge with ink

In my case, only 1.5ml was enough before it started to leak from the other side.

Quick Caution:

  • Seal the other side where the electronic circuit is on cartridge before refilling it. This will protect from leakage.
  • Put couple of paper towels or some plastic sheet to protect your furniture.
  • Use plastic gloves to protect your hands from ink (I learned it hard way)
protection against printer ink leakages
protect against printer ink leakages

Once you have syringe ready to go, just insert it into the cartridge’s cavity your just created and push the ink slowly (very slowly). Keep monitoring the other side of the cartridge for any leakages.

printer cartridge after refill is done
paste the sticker back to cover the cavity

That’s it !!!

I just messed up my hands as ink started leaking after I a while and I need wear the protective gloves. Other than that, it was a smooth DIY project.

Read more: How you can get your financial freedom through frugal living

How much I saved?

Now lets talk about numbers. As I mentioned above, it used to cost me $61 for a pack of 3 twice a year. If I just compare the cost of black inks since thats what I use most. I will be approximately $81.30 ($61/3 x 4 cartridges) per year. Each cartridge holds about 15-18ml of ink, most of which is dried out in my case so there’s lot of wastage.

I can avoid drying cartridges if I am refilling it myself at home.

Next option was to take it for Costco printer refilling services which costs about $7 per cartridge. My personal experience had been that I have to refill about 4-6 times a year at Costco which costs me on average $35 per year.

Now third option is to refill myself which costed me $6.48 for a bottle of 100ml.

How many times can I refill from 100ml?

The obvious question is how many times can I refill cartridge from 100ml bottle.

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My guess is atleast 18-25 times considering the ink isn’t wasted which refilling and every time ink is dried out, I just put 1 – 2 ml to rejuvenate it.

On average my assumption is I will need 3 to 4ml of ink for each refill on the upper side.With that calculation, I can refill my cartridges on average 20 times.

I know you might ask but less ink inside the cartridge means less run. I agree with you and my guess is there will be less wastage due to dry out and I will be able to rejuvenate the dried cartridges with few drops of ink and re-use the ink inside. This shall improve overall efficiency.

So, talking about numbers, 20 trips to Costco at $7 per trip, will cost me $140. In first option, 20 cartridges at average $20, will cost me $400.

Now compare this to mere cost of $6.48.

a comparison of buying vs refilling printer ink cartridges
a comparison of buying vs refilling printer ink cartridges

As clearly seen, option C is the winner here. Moreover, the freedom you get with it, is far more valuable compared to other options.

I have kept this comparison really simple by not considering fuel cost and time cost in option A and B. In option C, there will be some time cost but it will be minimal compared to first two options as you perfect the refilling process.

What I Learned?

The key lesson I learned from this experience is that many times we shy away from tasks considering we can’t do them or they are too complex without actually attempting to find out. Imagine how much we could have saved and learned just by trying things on our own into some sort of DIY projects. Even if we fail at it, it will teach us invaluable lessons for life.

So look around your home and see what you can do yourself. If it seems overwhelming, try to research about it. There are tons of youtube videos which might be helpful. In the process you will learn a lot and save a lot too.

Lastly, I need you to promise me that next time you need printer cartridge you will first try to refill it yourself as I mentioned above. It’s fairly simple DIY. Also involve your kids to do it with you and make it a fun project for them while teaching them a skill or two. All the best.

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This Simple DIY Saved me 6073%

This Simple DIY saved me 6073%

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