20 Best Tips

Homeschool Printing Tips

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This post was sponsored by Staples. Words, ideas, and recommendations are mine. Please read my full disclosure policy for more details.

Printing Tips and Tricks

Emails frequently pop into my inbox with questions like:

  • What printer do you have and recommend?
  • Do you have any tips for saving money on printing?
  • How do you print it all? Doesn’t it get expensive?
  • Do you really print it all?

Perhaps you’ve noticed that I have a thing for printables. Along with creating the printables comes the inevitable – you have to print them out somehow. Our printer has gotten nothing if short of an amazing workout over the years. While ink can get pricey, there are a few ways that we try to save money on printing.

Printing Tips 101

Ink is never cheap, but printing is something we all end up doing. Here are a few ways that we’ve saved some money over the years. If you have a tip to add, please be sure to leave a comment below and share – I’ll add them to the list as I can!

  • Invest in a good printer. Believe me, I’ve been sucked into what seemed like a great deal, only to have a printer seemingly inhale the ink right out of the cartridges and not print well. You might pay a little more up front, but in the long run having a printer that lasts and does a good job is worth it!
  • Use the draft option when printing. Rarely do I use the best print option. The draft mode has always done a great job for us.
  • Print double sided – you’ll save a bit on paper too! Every little bit helps!
  • Paper matters. Pay attention to the type you buy. Super thin paper may be cheaper, but sometimes it doesn’t do the best printing. We use a paper with a bit of a heavier weight so it lasts longer for many of our printable projects.
  • Watch for sales. Ink does go on sale and buying it in bulk can be cheaper too!
  • Take advantage of the Staples Easy Rebates program – you can get money back with the click of a button and don’t even have to mail something in!
  • Recycle used cartridges for a rebate. Take advantage of refilling ink cartridges or turning in used cartridges for recycling and a rebate.

You don’t have to print every page of a document. Print what you need and save ink and paper that way. Sometimes I forget and just hit ‘print all’, but there are frequently pages that we don’t use in printables, and it’s ok to be choosey.

Our Printer Choice

Favorite Printer

For the past six years we’ve used an HP Officejet All-in-One printer, but with our move two years ago we had a little issue. Our printer wasn’t wireless and the only router we could plug in to was in our laundry room above the dryer. The constant rocking from the washer/dryer combo on the printer *may* have taken its toll on the poor printer (through no fault of its own).

We LOVED our HP All-in-One and it honestly did great on ink and print quality, so we took a trip to Staples to check out some of the updated HP printers – especially the wireless ones with eprinting capability. We purchased our last printer there and also a few of our laptops, and they have always been such a huge help.

There were a few features that we wanted to have in our new printer:

  • color and b/w printing
  • wifi networking {no cords to hook up to our network}
  • ePrinting {so we can print from our iPad or phone}
  • 2 sided printing
  • print/copy/scan/fax capabilities
  • ability to hold a lot of paper {because I hate to refill it}
  • USB card input

The printer that we finally decided on was the HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus All-in-One Printer (currently $199). There are actually two different versions of this printer – the one we picked or the HP Officejet Pro 8600 with a smaller touchescren (currently $149). Essentially the HP 8600 was an updated version of the printer that we already had and loved – and it has been a great addition to our house.

A few things that I love about our HP 8600:

  • ePrinting ROCKS! Being able to quickly print a missing worksheet via a pdf file from my iPad is rather handy.
  • We’re wireless – oh, how I wish we had done this years ago. The printer is now stored in our homeschool room, so no more running to the laundry room or having our printer get ravaged by crazy dryer.
  • Printing on fast draft – this has been a HUGE $ saver for us on ink costs. Most of the things I print are done via the fast draft mode {check your printer settings}
  • Have I mentioned the wireless and eprinting? Yeah – loving that for sure. And I can email something to the printer if I’m at a friend’s house and it will be at home waiting for me. How nice is that?

Jolanthe Signature

I received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it and received no other compensation. We honestly had planned to purchase this HP printer because we love HP and Staples. All opinions expressed in this review are my personal and honest opinions.

This post may contain affiliate or advertiser links. Read my full disclosure policy .

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  1. Speaking of Staples….I always do their paper rebates. I NEVER pay for paper. They often have easy rebates on printer/copy paper. And they have the easy rebate that you take care of right online. Which is awesome since I always forget to mail in those paper rebates. You just do it online as soon as you get back from the store and in 6-8 weeks you have your money in the form of a check or directly deposited into a paypal account! Yay! Free Paper!

    • I’ve never tried the paper rebate, but I will look into it now! Thanks for the tip, Lesley!

    • Jennifer Vasquez says

      I do the same thing. I stock up so well on paper during back to school sales that I have enough to last the entire year….no joke. And I pay pennies or nothing at all. LOVE it!

    • I do the same thing. In fact, I just got my Staples refund for paper in the mail today! Woohoo!

    • Maria Martin says

      so going to look into this!

  2. We also have a HP All-In-One and love it – it is definitely my favourite office supply. It doesn’t have the e-print and wi-fi functions that you mention and I am now drooling over. However, it is so reliable I don’ t think I will have an excuse to buy one anytime soon LOL!

    • I know what you mean about not being able to justify it!! That’s the same reason we didn’t get a new one right off the bat either, especially since ours did such a great job. Too bad that location took its toll {grins}.

  3. Heather Stone says

    I love Staples rewards. I have saved so much money, especially in the last 6 mo. I mostly buy ink, but I also like to buy paper there, too.

  4. I’m out of ink so this comes at a perfect time! As for my favorite office supplies I’m finding that an assortment of pens and pencils makes written work more enjoyable for my son that doesn’t like to write!

  5. Staples has the easy rebate program, which makes it easy to apply for rebates online, without an envelope and a stamp. That makes it easy.

  6. new pens!!

  7. Hope Marshall says

    What office supply DON’T I love?? :) Organization stuff, labels, etc. Too hard to choose!

  8. Bonnie Boucek says

    I love their paper rebates. I also love their teacher rewards were you get paid to shop so you can shop more.

  9. Maria Martin says

    Our very first wireless printer just died – loved the wireless feature – but SO not the printer (Dell) – went to Staples and their manager took me around, listened to my primary desires for our printer and showed three to me in our budget AND based upon the cost to continue to buy the ink down the road,. For us it came down to an Hp and a Brother. We chose the Brother b/c not only was it on sale ($70 off!), but I had a Staples coupon for an additional $20 off! SOLD! I agree on the double sided and fast draft – those are my life lines of printing! Thanks for sharing your printables and your secrets!

    I have SO got to look into these mentioned “Paper Rebates!”

  10. Rochele Porpora says

    My favorite office supply would have to be my HP All in one printer but I have been wanting to upgrade because it has been pulling two pages at once and doing some other weird things. Aside from that it is still usable so I don’t think I will be getting one anytime soon.

  11. One office supply I absolutely LOVE is my laminator! One office supply I need right now is ink cartridges! ;-)

  12. Kate Christian says

    I don’t do double sided printing. I use paper that is printed on one side from other stuff and just use the back of it to print on for the kids schooling. I rarely buy any paper that way. My mom worked for a year in a church office. They would buy bulletin covers for their Sunday worship service that came in a pack of 250. They would only use 100 of them so my mom started bringing me home the rest to use. She hasn’t worked there in almost a year and I am just coming to the end of my supply.
    I do however use the paper saver/fast draft feature on my Brother.
    Oh, and wireless printing? My husband Laughed at how giddy I was when I got my printer. I had six computers hooked up at the time and was able to print from any of them anywhere in the house. Guess it doesn’t take much to make a homeschooling momma happy! ;)

  13. stephanie kirk says

    Looks like I need to check into the Staples rewards on paper! Thanks!

  14. I can’t live without index cards. Much better to take notes on than scraps of paper. Thanks for the opportunity to win! I love your blog and have been a subscriber for a while now.

  15. Our printer gets a lot of use but our favorite is dry erase markers because we have kids close in age; one can use the workbook by putting the worksheet in the special page protector and then use the dry erase marker to do their school work leaving the page clean and ready for the next sibling to use.

  16. My printer because I love printables!

  17. I love this site and would love a Staples gift card!

  18. Jane Ellen Jones says

    The office “supply” that I love is my three-drawer organizer. I can now find everything: pens, rubber bands, paper clips, rulers, tape, stapler…they all have a home. I can’t believe how long I suffered without this simple fix! Oh, and I too love my Brother All-in-one. It’s fairly easy on the ink, although I definitely need to check into the draft printing option! And ditto on Staples Rewards, I never pay for paper either! Love that store!

  19. Jen Proctor says

    this would be very helpful! i have a samsung laser printer and the toner cartridges are pricey, but the paper yield is so great that it makes it a better deal in the long run, i believe, as opposed to ink. :)

  20. I love file folders.

    Name on rafflecopter: Mary Happymommy

  21. The office supply I love most is ALL OF THEM! Seriously, though, I love binders, pens and pencils, planners, post it notes, anything laminating related, ink, organizing containers, double stick tape, etc. If it’s at Staples, I’ve drooled over it. Haha!

  22. i love their accordian files for organizing my homeschool. they are good quality, i found that out after i bought some from a cheaper store and the clasp broke on me making them useless. pays to buy better quality.

  23. Carla Marvin says

    I have 3 office supplies I absolutely could not live without–really can’t choose which one is the most important, but if you forced me, I’d probably say the wireless HP printer!! The other two are our Purple Cow Laminator and our fabulous paper trimmer (which severely cuts down on the amount of arthritis pain from cutting out so much). :)

  24. I’ve been looking into getting a new wireless printer. Thanks for sharing your choice.

  25. Oops! forgot to share my favorite office supply-a good pen :)

  26. I love post-it notes.

  27. My favorite office supply is pretty colored notebooks and folders. Makes the school day a little cheerier!

  28. Office supplies I love for homeschooling are good binders, good pens, good erasers and a good printer. We just recently went with a wireless printer that prints on both sides and I am loving it!

  29. Donna in OKC says

    I love it all! Office Stores and Dollar Tree are my kryptonite.

  30. Cula Parker says

    Pens and Markers are my obsession! I have hundreds, my mood changes daily as to what pen i’ll use that day.

  31. MusingsoftheMonroes says

    Every time I’m in an office supply store, I’m really drawn to their calendars and planners. I love the idea of getting organized so any other products that help with that I will browse for too. Oh, and I can’t seem to leave without picking out some new pens!

  32. pickled pandas says

    Gotta be binders, we put all of our work for units inside separate binders, it’s a fun way to look back at what we’ve learned!

  33. Jennifer Vasquez says

    I appreciate the ink.

  34. I LOVE my laminator!

  35. NaConda Frank says

    I really love Staples’ rebates! but my absolute favorite supply would be pens. Different ink colors, points, gel…you name it!

  36. I am an organization junkie and love all the little office supplies you can get at Staples. It is my type of toy store, lol :)

  37. I am in the market for a wireless printer now!

  38. I love binder for organization but what I really want to get is a Proclick binding system. It’s on my wish list.

  39. Bethany Glosser says

    I can’t get enough of post-its! All kinds, all colors. I love & adore them. :)

  40. Tamara Abboud says

    We have an HP all-in-one too without fax. We like it, but I will have to try paper rebate and fast draft … Sounds like a great way to save more money! Thanks for the tips!

  41. A computer and printer is pretty important.

  42. Can’t live without my printer! Have an older HP Deskjet All-in-One.

  43. Thanks for the Staples tip. I always thought that Canon consumes less ink than HP. Always a perception that I have after using a HP printer which depletes ink in a few prints. How many pieces of paper can you print with a cartridge?

  44. Pretty folders!
    Wendy Clark
    clarksrfun at gmail dot com

  45. My laminator.

  46. New notebooks and all organizational stuff :-)

  47. I have this same printer and use my ipad as my main computer. So, I have some questions… How do you print draft from the iPad? Also, how are you only printing one page out of many. I’m a little confused. Thanks for your help.

    • I’d have to have my techie husband answer that since he hooked it all up for us. I just know that it’s linked up to our network/router now, so when I am in a document or a page on my ipad I can click ‘share’ and the print option shows up and then identifies our main printer and it does the rest. ;)

      And as for just one page, I typically just choose ‘print current page’ instead of printing the entire range – that’s what I meant by that. :)

    • Thanks Jolanthe. When I click on my share, print from the page it doesn’t give me an option of daft printing. If your husband has any pointers I’d be very greatfull. I’m not a techie and hp nor apple are very helpful. Hp wants me to use there ap which I can’t figure out how to jump into the ap from a safari page.
      Anywho, thanks for sharing this page and info.

    • You should be able to go into your main printer settings {from your control panel} and set the ‘default’ to always print in draft mode, unless you choose otherwise.

    • Thanks ill try that.

  48. My favorite right now is my label maker. I treated myself to a brand new one when we decided to start homeschooling and I am in love! I will also vouch for Staples paper rebates. We just got a box and an extra ream for absolutely nothing. Woo hoo!

  49. I love my wet erase markers. I think they are so much better than dry erase. They don ‘t smudge or come off before a worksheet is finished.

  50. Kimberly R says

    My favorite office supply is pens and markers in pretty colors :)

  51. Marcia Ramos says

    Since becoming a new SAHM I miss my work color printer and desperately need one at home!!

  52. Post-Its!

  53. I would love a new printer or laptop! Thanks for the giveaway!

  54. I love my sharpie pens, sharpie markers, and lined post its!

  55. Anna Allgyer says

    I haven’t done much, if any, research on laser vs inkjet as far as ink & toner costs, but we own and love a Samsung color laser printer. It’s the CLP315W, if you want to know ;) And yes. Wireless printing DOES rock! So does fast draft. Especially with Samsung’s Mobile Print app….sometimes it’s actually easier for me to print from my phone than the computer!!!!

  56. I love my old HP LaserJet 2100. It’s old, but a powerhouse and prints great.

  57. Courtney Nelson says

    I wish we had a staples closer!

  58. April Christmas says

    I have a Kodak office All in one and I love the wireless-ness if it! If I get this gift card I want a paper trimmer. Or maybe I will just get ink, since we go through so much of it!! Thanks for the tips!

  59. Staples is my favorite office supply store!! They always have the best back to school deals and I rarely ever pay for anything because their rebates for ink cartridges are amazing.

  60. Vasti Ester says

    I love my office organizers. We live in a small apartment so I need to be extra diligent about putting everything away. Having a home for each and every thing helps us all tidy up faster. I am waiting for the Martha Stewart office line goes on sale.

  61. Sonya Hicks says

    Oh my..how do you choose just one favorite office supply? I guess one of my favorites would have to be excellent pens that come in pretty colors. I just can’t do boring black and blue. Pretty colored pens make me happy :)

  62. I love my laminator but I am sucker for any school supply.

  63. CharleneM2 says

    I love the comb binder that I recently bought. With so much curriculum being in electronic format I can print and bind books for the kids.

  64. I think my favorite office supply is either our dry erase markers or our laminating machine.

  65. great giveaway and love all the tips!

  66. I also have an HP Officejet 6600. It uses too much ink for my liking. I love having a printer in my school room, though
    . The other office supply that I love is my laminator.

  67. I’m forever running out of ink. Great tips!

  68. I am addicted to Binders :)

  69. spesamoracademy says

    Blank paper. I’m an addict.

  70. Post-Its and Paper! Okay, that’s two. :p

  71. laminating sheets!!! :)

  72. I love any kind of writing implements! Pens and markers and mechanical pencils. :)

  73. Not sure if anyone has mentioned it but getting a laser printer instead of inkjet will save you a ton of money on ink costs as well.

  74. Bethany Furness says

    Just starting out with homeschooling (tot schooling really) and I forgot how much office supplies are! This gift card will get put to good use here! Thanks for the info about your printer also. We are thinking of purchasing a b/w laser printer and continuing to print color at the library.

  75. I can’t just pick one! I do love a fresh notebook though.

  76. I love good-on-one-side paper. We ask our office-working friends to collect it for us.

  77. We have the HP OfficeJet Pro 6700. It’s just a little smaller than the one you have. We compared the 2 and we just didn’t have room for the bigger one. Anyways, we LOVE the printer! We bought it 3 months ago during all the great back to school deals, and we have printed well over 300 pages on the starter ink and are still going. Couldn’t be happier! Thanks for the great giveaway….I will eventually run out of ink!

  78. Lauren Caggeso says

    We love ink :-) :-)

  79. It seems I go through a lot of color toner but with our HP printer, there is an option now to buy the XL black toner. It’s only a few dollars more than the regular black toner but it gives you double the black ink! Hope this helps someone! It was great for the person at Staples to help me know this :)
    Staples also gives you the best rebates on ink cartridge recycling!
    Thanks for all your awesome emails and information!

  80. Thanks for the tips! We love your printables, well worth the cost of ink & paper :)

  81. Chiana Sanderson says

    It may sound simple, but can I get a reliable pencil sharpener? We went through 3 in 1 year.

    • I’m looking for one too – on twitter, someone told me that Staples has a great electric one, which I’m going to have to check out!

  82. I’ve been out of ink for a month now, and it’s really making our homeschooling unhandy at times

  83. I love pens! And good paper! Well…really all office supplies!

  84. Kristin Renee says

    $50 at Staples would be so wonderful for homeschooling!

  85. tammy cordery says

    I need paper and ink

  86. Tammy Jones says

    I am always using my computer and printer. I just wish the ink refills lasted longer and were less $$. We have a Kodak printer.

  87. I love my HP (same as yours). I recently replaced my Canon PIXMA 990 and is was a true ink hog. I highly recommend http://www.ldproducts.com for ink! They have awesome products at great prices and have wonderful guarantees. Just a tip from me…I print on cardstock and laminate. Since I will be homeschooling 4 – this helps tremendously! Be sure if you are using the 8600 – there is a trick to getting cardstock to print well. Anyway, thanks for this post!

  88. I’d love to buy a scanner!

  89. Oh my…just one?! I guess sticky notes, but also paperclips, manila and hanging folders, highlighters, index cards,… I could go on all night!

  90. We love markers around here, all kinds of markers!! Can’t do anything without them!

  91. Emily Quesenberry says

    My favorite office supply is simple….binders! I recently read Managers of their Schools. It suggests a binder for each child and mom. I have all I need besides books in my binder and so do the kids. No more where’s my pen or where did my notebook paper go? :)

  92. Pens! I love pens. A good pen makes all the writing a lovely, lovely moment. Sad to be so basic, but it’s true. :)

  93. Notebook paper and pens.

  94. I love colored pens:) makes writing fun !

  95. Michelle Hansen says

    I absolutely love ALL office supplies!! It is an obsession. My favorite, however, is my laminator! SO MAGICAL!!!

  96. I love good binders and writing tools. I’m always looking for a good pen.

  97. Cathy Clubb says

    having a copier was my birthday present last year. Wireless b & W brother dcp 7065dn we use it daily.. now that i am doing more presschool stuff , i wish i had a color one available… we have one but its not hooke3d up

  98. electric pencil sharpener

  99. Jess McCarthy says

    I love paper and anything to do with it- planners, binders….

  100. You should be able to go into your main printer settings {from your control panel} and set the ‘default’ to always print in draft mode, unless you choose otherwise.

  101. I’m sorry – meant to reply that to another comment. ;) What are your tips for getting cardstock to print well?

    • Go into printer settings and delete tray #2 (most of us don’t have a 2nd tray). That simple! If you have any issues HP is great for help! Also, we purchased the HP Care Pack for our printer. It was $25 for 3 years of “no questions asked” full replacement! We normally don’t do that but considering I can get a brand-new printer (if needed) for $25 – that sounded like a great deal to us!

  102. I love my HP all-in-one as well. I love paper-all kinds, colors and sizes! I also do the paper rebates…worth the effort every time!

  103. I love those little binder clips. Not just the little ones, actually, I love them in all sizes!

  104. Pretty notebooks. It’s one of my weaknesses, lol!

  105. My absolute favorite is a great pen. And, my absolute favorite pen is the Zebra BP F-301. Seriously, the best.pen.ever.

  106. I love my sharpies! ;)

  107. I love printer ink, I hoard it.

  108. I love to get my copy paper from them

  109. I LOVE Planners, they really help keep life organized!

  110. I am a sucker for pens!!!!

  111. Janet Watson says

    One office supply that I love and can’t live without is Post It sticky notes!

  112. angela_thebilingualhomeschool says

    I don’t think we could be by without our dry erase board and markers we use it throughout the school day

  113. Love our pencil sharpener!

  114. Christina H. says

    Post it notes and flags!

  115. I love my HP printer too. I have the Photosmart 7510. I use the copy function almost every day to copy worksheet pages for the kids. I’ll be looking into the paper rebate – sounds great.

  116. Sarah 'Moon' Trout says

    Cute pens!!

  117. Julie Contreras says

    The biggest thing that has saved our pocket book is refilling our ink ourselves! I was SO scared to do this for a while but it finally got to a point that we just couldn’t afford the ink. I did A LOT of research on whether this was going to ruin our printer and what kind of refill kit to get. There are a bunch of great tutorials on YouTube. Just type in refill ink for HP 60 (or whatever cartridge you have). I purchased our refill kit for $20 off of Amazon and it has enough ink to refill our black 10 times and our color 20 times!!! It’s going to save us close to $800! And trust me the refill process is not nearly as scary or difficult as I thought it would be.

  118. Just one favorite office supply?…It’s so hard to choose! But my first would have to be paper. My latest obsession has been pastel-colored lined paper…love it!

  119. rodeomom_mi says

    post it notes! They are wonderful!

  120. I have a serious love of office supplies, but I have to confess I’m a pen addict.

  121. jeccica simpson says

    paper, I always need paper, and in all colors too!

  122. I am loving the Sharpie pens right now. And my Scotch laminator!

  123. I have a printer that I love, but when I have big printing project, I actually take it to Staples!

  124. highlighters

  125. I couldn’t do without my printer OR my laminator! :)

  126. Wow, it is hard to choose a favorite office supply! (Fall has always been my favorite season in part because of all the school supplies in the stores.) I guess that I would have to say that my stapler is my favorite. It is very reliable and is always on my desk near by, keeping my company and ready for action! :)

  127. I love me some staples!! I seem to always be running out of office supplies!

  128. I love notebooks and pens. I have a ton of journals an d different colored pens

  129. My greatest weakness in office supplies is colored paper.

  130. Office paper!

  131. I love tape, can’t live without it!!!

  132. I need a laminator! :)

  133. My printer is the one thing we use daily and of course lots of paper!

  134. Copy paper is the product we can’t get enough of! Copies and crafts abound in this homeschool family.

  135. My favorite office supply is #2 Ticonderoga pencils both regular and the red grading erasable kind! They are quite simply the best pencils on the planet!!!

  136. Jessica Compton says

    I love all office products, especially organizational products.

  137. love staples paper rebates. I’ve gone canon after being a long time HP fan. the ink is alot cheaper.

  138. Hope Corbett says

    Good pens.

  139. Sharpies!

  140. I didn’t have the patience to go through all 150+ comments, but hopefully I’m not repeating it much.

    If you’re a homeschooler, you can sign up for the teacher rewards program. I don’t know if it’s much different than the regular rewards program, but they have special teacher discount days, etc.

    I’ve been recycling my ink cartridges there, but I might start using Costco’s refill service. Also, I don’t change my ink as soon as it tells me to. It can last for quite a while after then with the fastdraft setting.

    Another must have feature I look for in a printer is separate color ink cartridges. The colors are used up at different rates, so I only replace what I need.

    Finally, in addition to fastdraft and black ink only as default, I have had the print preview setting defaulted too. This is especially helpful to catch those web page printouts that go on for pages with their sidebar menus.

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