Not All Cash Is Green


I know those look like ink cartridges, but your eyes are playing tricks on you. That’s actually money. Remember what I said about knowing the value of a dollar? Don’t underestimate the value of this plastic in disguise. Allow me to explain…

Staples allows people to recycle used printer cartridges and will pay you $2 a pop for them. Huh?! It doesn’t even matter if you bought them there. I hang onto my used cartridges for a few months at a time until I have enough to bring in. Last week I took nine in and got $18 in store credit. It took me just under a year to save that many, though that may be a conservative amount compared to some. For fun, let’s say you use ten cartridges a year, which is about what I do. That’s $20 a year of cash back for your purchases. $80 in four years. In my experience, the average lifespan of a printer is right around there. Guess how much my printer cost? Correct! $79.99. This means that barring the cost of the first, you could theoretically go a lifetime without having to pay for another one. Each subsequent purchase would be covered by the cost of the cartridges. And this example assumes you use a fairly small amount per year; imagine all the upgrades you could make with more. That, my friends, is what we call cheating the system.

The thing to know is that you don’t get the money at the time of recycling. Ideally, you would plan ahead (words to live by on this blog!) and make a special trip to drop off the cartridges. A few weeks later, you’ll get the credit via email; which means you have to go back to Staples to use it. That is why it’s important to recognize the value of a dollar. It would be easy to shrug off the $2 incentive as a waste of time because it’s not a ton of cash, but I know you’re smarter than that. Now look at the picture again.


See? Your perspective has changed already.


One thought on “Not All Cash Is Green

  1. I have had good luck purchasing “generic” cartridges on Amazon (make sure you read the reviews for your model), which would save a lot if you go through that many in a year.

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