Sometimes Paying More Up Front Saves You Money

pay more save moneyI hate printers. I hate them with a passion. Why?

For as long as I can remember, I have always had an ink jet printer.

I rarely ever used the printer, but whenever I did, it seemed like the printer would have to clean the printer cartridge or perform some task to waste a major amount of the oh so expensive ink.

Often the ink would have completely dried up right when I needed it most.

I’d then take a trip to Wal-Mart or my nearest office supply store to drop anywhere from $20 to $60 on new ink cartridges that would end up performing the same exact way.

Typically, I might get less than 100 pages out of an ink cartridge, which was an outrageous idea to me.

Why are we paying so much for ink? There had to be a better solution.

We Spent Money Up Front To Save Money In The Long Run

Recently my wife and I decided it was time to have a reliable printer in our home again. We were sick of having to wait to print our documents at work the next day or dig out our awful inkjet printer and buy yet another inkjet cartridge.

So what did we do? We spent some money up front on a printer that would fit our printing needs. We bought a laser printer.

For comparison, the printer we bought cost $120 up front. That is four times more expensive than some of the cheap inkjet printers out there. It’s well worth it to us, though.

Why We Bought A Laser Printer

Laser printers work differently than inkjet printers. The ink can’t dry out. The print heads can’t clog with ink. Instead, we can leave our laser printer for months without printing a page and it should work right away when we decide to print something in the future. Laser printers use a powder toner that doesn’t dry out or clog.

On top of the awesome fact that we won’t have to go out and buy new ink every time we leave our printer dormant for a few months, the toner cartridges print many more pages than an inkjet ink cartridge does.

The toner we’ll need for our new printer will print 1,200 pages on a normal cartridge or up to 2,600 pages for a high yield cartridge. This should save us a ton of money over the long haul. While toner cartridges are more expense than most inkjet cartridges, they’re much cheaper on a per page printed basis.

Of course, our new laser printer only prints in black and white and it doesn’t do an awesome job printing pictures, but we’re okay with that. I can’t remember the last time we needed to print something in color and color laser printers would have easily cost of hundreds of dollars more.

Instead, we’ll just pay $0.59 a page at our local Office Max to solve any color printing needs we may have in the future. I’m sure we can even find a coupon to get a better deal.

How Does This Have To Do With Your Finances?

How does a laser printer vs an inkjet printer have anything to do with your finances? The laser printer was the optimal choice for us and will save us money over the long run. While we don’t spend a ton of money printing, we do spend a lot of money in other areas of our lives.

Think about your car, for example. How much thought did you put into your car purchase? You could have examined every aspect of the purchase to figure out if spending more on a car up front would save you thousands of dollars over the long run.

Related: Never Make A Car Payment Again After Using This Easy Trick

You would need to look at gas mileage, average maintenance costs and many more items to come to the total cost of ownership over the lifetime of the car. Compare that to the other cars you are considering buying and you might find out that the more expensive car up front could save you money over the long run.

The difference could easily be thousands of dollars and most people never give it a second thought.

The same exercise can be run on many other purchases you will make during your lifetime. Think about how huge of a purchase a home is.

You could probably save tens of thousands of dollars by buying the right home that will end up saving you money through energy efficiency and the proximity to the places you spend the most time driving to.

Related: The Definitive Way To Know If You Should Pay Off Your Mortgage Early

What If You Don’t Have Enough Money To Pay Higher Up Front Cost?

If you don’t have enough money to pay the higher up front cost, you have a few options available to you. You may want to consider delaying the purchase until you can take advantage of the most cost advantageous option.

If that isn’t an option, you can buy the cheaper up front option and sell it later to recoup some of your costs and upgrade to the most advantageous option later.

Finally, you could take out a loan if you would still end up ahead after paying for interest. I only recommend this for very well thought out purchases that are needs, not wants, so almost nothing should fit into this category.

A little bit of up front effort can clearly save you a ton of money and frustration over the long run. The bigger the purchase is, the more you should consider the long run in your decision.

What purchases have you made that might cost more up front but save you money over the long run? How did you come to your decision and how much did you save? Let me know in the comments below!

Photo by: Stephen_Clarky Text added by: Lance Cothern

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.


  1. Good information. I’m glad that you put the tidbit at the end about what to do if you don’t have the money to pay for it up front, because I think that’s a real situation that many people are faced with. I’d love to buy the best quality stuff, but frankly the money isn’t there to do so unless you buy a couple quality items and the rest absolute junk…which seems counter-productive at best!

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