Posts Tagged ‘savings’

  1. 10 tips to save money moving

    July 10, 2012 by Karl

    moving berry berry berryberry

    In this article I will outline 10 different ways to save money moving from one home to another.  We recently moved in a harrowing journey from Pennsylvania to Indiana.  It is amazing how much stuff you can accumulate in your house during the time that you live there.  Getting it all moved safely and inexpensively is quite a challenge.  Hopefully the research I did along the way will be helpful to The Frugal Berry readers.

    1. Do not pay for boxes.  Many stores will give you boxes for free.  The local liquor/packaging store usually has lots of boxes that are the perfect size for books.  They love to have people come and take their empty boxes so they don’t need to break them down for the trash.  Also, check with your local CVS or food store.  All these places are a great source for empty boxes.  Make sure you call ahead first so you are not wasting time and gas on places that don’t have any boxes at the moment or have a cardboard bailing machine which crushes their boxes.
    2. Label your boxes well to make the sorting job easier at the other end.  Each box should be labeled with the room it should be placed in at the new location.  If you are using boxes with a lot of writing on them already, place masking tape on the top of the box and write on the masking tape with a black magic marker.
    3. Check with your local newspaper to see if they have end rolls of paper that you can use for packing.  Most large-scale printers use massive rolls of paper for their printing operation.  They stop the machines before the roll runs out, and the remainder is thrown away.  A simple call to the newspaper can be very useful for finding packing material.
    4. Borrow or rent a truck.  If you can rent from a friend it will save you money.  If you rent from a dealer, here are a few rules: U-Haul is best for one way rental.  Ryder does not provide one way service.  They are best for local moves where you can return the truck to the same location when finished.
    5. If you are moving a lot of stuff or long distances, consider using PODS or Pack Rat to deliver a shipping container to your home.  Then you can take your time packing it.  They will pick up the packed container and deliver it to your new location, allowing you to pack and unpack at your convenience.  You can even rent the container for a few months of storage if needed.  Unfortunately, they do not service all areas of the country.  An alternative to PODS and Pack Rat is Mobile Mini.  Mobile Mini provides international shipping containers up to 40 feet long for inexpensive storage.  Some truckers will pick them up and haul them on a roll-back truck to your new location.
    6. ABF also has reasonable rates for dropping off a trailer for you to pack, moving it to the new location, and even reasonable monthly storage rates if you are going to be in limbo before you find your new home.
    7. Use your own blankets, sheets, pillows, furniture cushions, and coats for padding around furniture.  Renting blankets for packing the truck will increase your costs.
    8. Borrow dollies and hand trucks from friends who may have them.  This will help the move go faster, and save the fee of renting them.
    9. As you pack, sort through the stuff that you have.  Make sure you are only moving the stuff that you really need and want.  Give away what you don’t want to the local thrift shop.
    10. Of course, recruit an army of trusted volunteers to help you pack, load, and unload at the other end.  This is where belonging to a church or community organization can really pay off.
    We ended up using a 40 foot Mobile Mini shipping container to transport our stuff.  The container was dropped off on a Monday night, and picked up on a Thursday night.  This gave us plenty of time to pack it tight.  The container was placed in storage locally until we called our driver to deliver it to us.  This ended up being our best and cheapest option for moving.
    I love comments!  If you have some good advice on moving please comment about it, and I may include it in the list!  Also check out my other articles on how to save money doing lots of different things.


  2. Save money on your desktop printer

    January 3, 2012 by Karl

    Printer Photo berry berry berry berry berry
    This article will show you how to save money in the way that you use your desktop printer.  This is one more step in becoming a frugal and thrifty minded business owner.

    Printer saving basics

    One thing that seems to be overlooked by many in the population is how much money we spend on toner / ink cartridges. It is no secret that printer manufacturers give away the ink jet printers because they know how much profit they make on the cartridges they sell for them. Ink cartridges never last (perhaps by design), and cost a small fortune to purchase new.

    What you need to look at when purchasing any kind of printing device is the cost of the replacement cartridges, and how many “pages” they can print, to come up with a cost per page. This is really the only way to compare overall costs of printing devices.

    How much ink / toner is used on ‘one page of print’? Obviously, if you are printing a page that is all black for example, it will use more ink / toner than a page that contains only one short sentence. So there needs to be some kind of ‘page print’ standard to say what one page of print is. I believe that generally the manufacturers have come up with some fairly close representations, but I don’t know what their exact formulas are.

    To my knowledge there is not a single ink jet printer out there that is worth purchasing. Even if you get it for free, your price per page for the ink cartridges could bankrupt some small businesses. A toner based printer is the only way to go in my opinion.

    Everyone knows what ink is (for the most part), but what is toner? Think of it as a very, very, very finely ground colored plastic powder that has magnetic properties. The laser “writes” onto a drum which magnetically attracts the toner in the places where the laser has written. The powder is then transferred to the paper, and melted in place with an iron. This is why the paper is always warm when it comes out of a laser printer.

    Every manufacturer has come up with some way to gauge how much toner is left in the cartridge. HP uses a little computer chip on the cartridge that starts counting down pages the minute you put it in the machine. Brother has a mechanical gear device that moves very slightly every time a page is printed. Each method has its own pluses and minuses. The HP toner cartridge print meter can usually be overridden from the menu on the printer. The brother gear driven mechanism cannot be overridden from the printer menu, but can be mechanically reset by hand. Both manufacturers cartridges usually report empty when they are about one-half to one-quarter full. This means that the average toner user is throwing away a good portion of their print capability. The only way to gauge when the printer cartridge is truly out is to let it run until the page is missing color.

    With an HP laser printer, if you are not overriding the toner low alarm from the printer control panel, then the printer will stop functioning when it thinks it is empty, thus wasting much of the toner in the cartridge. Do a web search under the model number of your printer using words like “override toner low”, and you will likely find a post somewhere with step by step instructions on how to override it through the printer menu.

    With a brother laser printer, you need to take the cartridge out and remove three screws on the gear mechanism on the end of the cartridge, reset the gear package, and replace it in the cartridge. Some printers also have an optical sensor that shines a light through the toner cartridge to check toner level.  You can plug the window with black tape or putty to trick the printer into thinking it is full. Again if this is not done, you will be wasting a significant amount of toner. Do a web search on the specific toner cartridge you have, again with words like “override toner low”, and you will find instructions on how to reset the gear mechanism and how to plug the light sensor.

    These are the two manufacturers that I am familiar with, but I’m sure others also have similar setups. The web is a powerful tool in learning if or how you can override these devices.

    Toner Cartridge Photo

    Toner Recycling

    Once the cartridge is truly empty, you have two choices; Buy a new or re-manufactured toner cartridge, or you can re-manufacture it yourself. Toner kits are available for every toner cartridge ever made, to replace the content in the cartridges. A simple search on Amazon will show you the savings. Some are more difficult to do than others. I would not rely on a re-manufactured toner cartridge from a company I have not heard of. Many shady businesses have popped up in this business over the past ten years, and it has become a very cut-throat industry making corner cutting a standard practice with some.

    HP does not support re-manufacturing of cartridges, and puts as many road blocks in the way as possible to keep the money coming to them. If the rumors are true, the toner “recycling” program that HP has come up with is nothing more than a super sized trashcan that keeps the used cartridges out of the hands of the competition. Their cartridges are completely sealed, which means that you need to cut two holes in the plastic sides of the cartridge in order to recycle them. It’s not that hard to do with the proper tool, but it is an added inconvenience if you want to do it yourself.

    Brother’s toner cartridges have plastic plugs build into them that allow you to easily recycle the cartridge. Because of this, Brother gets a 5 frugalberry approval. Not only is their price per page much lower than the competition, but if you recycle the cartridge yourself, you can drop your price per page from about 3 cents, to about a penny (plus the price of the paper). HP is much, much higher.

    Generally speaking, a toner cartridge can be recycled as many times as the photostatic drum lasts in the cartridge. Sure, some other parts will eventually wear out too, but it is the drum that is the important component here. Again, Brother comes shining through on this one because the photostatic drum is built to last, and is actually a separate component of the toner cartridge. The part that is replaced on the Brother TN-360 cartridge does not include the photostatic drum, which keeps the cost of a new cartridge down. With HP, the photostatic drum is only designed for one use, and is part of mechanism that is replaced with the cartridge. Again, 5 frugalberries to Brother!

    Print Server Photo

    Networking Printers

    For years I was resisting buying an all-in-one printer copier machine. When our recent copy machine needed a replacement photo drum, the cost of the new drum made replacing the machine a much cheaper option. I decided to go with a Brother DCP-7040, and we are thrilled with it! Not only is it a work horse, but the price per page is well below anything else out there. Plus, since it does triple duty as a printer, copier, and scanner it takes up less space in the office, and uses only one cartridge as opposed to stocking two different types!

    With most printers you can buy a standard version and a network version. The standard version is usually cheaper by $100 or so, and ties directly into an individual computer, so that computer needs to be running with the printer shared to the network in order for it to be accessed by any other computer on the network. Also, in the standard version, if you purchase a multifunction printer, the scanner will only scan to the specific computer it is plugged into.

    With a network version of the printer, the printer is tied directly into the network router, which means that any computer on the network can print to it without going through another computer. Why the price difference? Well, it’s all just a marketing gimmick. They both cost just the same to produce from a manufacturing standpoint, but the manufacturers want to make some more money, so they price them differently.

    If you already have a standard printer, there is a way to make it a network printer. You can purchase a print server, starting at about $35. This is a little device that you plug the printer into, and then it communicates with the network router either through an ethernet cable, or a wireless signal (it depends on the network server that you buy). You can buy them for one printer, or you can buy a server that will work with multiple printers. If you have a multifunction printer, make sure you find a print server that is designed to work with multifunction printers, or you may have some problems getting the other functions to work.  You do need to be a bit of a technical geek in order to set up a print server.  Make sure the company you purchase from has good customer service!

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