Investing in Ink
You probably won’t hear this tip from your stockbroker or your financial advisor but here at How to Shop for Free® we advise you to invest your money in ink! We aren’t talking about buying stocks in ink or purchasing ink by the gallon. What we are talking about is buying empty ink cartridges. Why would we tell you to spend your hard earned money on empty ink cartridges? You can recycle the cartridges for store credit at your favorite office supply store and then Shop for Free!
Staples allows Base member to recycle 10 cartridges a month provided you have spent $30.00 or more in ink or toner in the past 6 months. If you recycle 10 cartridges per month you will earn 20.00 in credit per month. If you are a Plus or Premium Member you are allowed to recycle 20 cartridges per month.
Number of Cartridges you can recycle per Month
Base = 10 cartridges per month
Plus and Premier = 20 cartridges per month
$30.00 ink or toner purchase requirement must be made in the past 6 months in order to qualify for rewards
So why buy ink and not just recycle the ones you use? The average extreme couponer is not going to have 20 empty cartridges a month(unless you work in a large office) but they are going to want $40.00 in free credit every month. If you buy empty ink cartridges in bulk on eBay you can normally find a lot of 300 for about $38.00. I know some of you may not be seeing the big picture on this yet but hang on and hear me out. For an investment of $38.00 those 300 cartridges as most see as trash will get you $600.00 in store credit (over time). That is a profit of $562.00. Feel free to call your broker and ask them if this “sure thing’ is a good investment.
Ten cartridges (Base Members) will get you $20.00 in store credit per month. Twenty cartridges (Premier and Plus Members) will get you $40.00 per month in credit. If you recycle 10 a month for 12 months that will get you $240.00 in spending money per year. If you are a Premiere or Plus member and recycle 20 cartridges per month every month per year that will get you $480.00 in recycling rewards to spend per year.
10 cartridges x 12 months (120 cartridges) = 240.00 per year
20 cartridges x 12 months (240 cartridges) = $480.00 per year
Before you get ahead of yourself and start scheming about how you are going to get a free laptop, hang on. There is a catch. You cannot hold onto your rewards credits and let them pile up, they have expirations.
Recycle Rewards for Base and Plus Members expire one month after the month they were issued in. (Thanks Dan P #1)
There are ways to stretch out the rewards to make obtaining more expensive items for free do-able. Often Staples will offer rebates on products which you can purchase with rewards then receive the rebate. Doing so will allow you to cash out your rewards money and then that money can go towards your bigger ticket item along with your recycling rewards.
For the sceptics that are thinking it won’t be worth it if they have to buy the ink do the math. If you recycle religiously every month of the year here is how it will breakdown;
If you are a base member and spend $38.00 on 300 cartridges they will last you 30 months ( two and a half years) if you are recycling 10 every month. You will also need to purchase $30.00 in ink 5 times (every 180 days) during that time frame in order to keep earning rewards. You will have a net profit of $412.00.
5 x 30.00(in ink) = 150.00+ the cost of the $38.00 cost for 300 cartridges = $188.00
You will earn 600.00 in recycling rewards for recycling the 300 cartridges over the 2 1/2 years.
$600.00 – $188.00 (Investment +$150.00 in ink) =$412.00 profit.
If you are a Premiere or Plus Member and spend $38.00 on 30 recycled cartridges they will last you 15 months if you are recycling 20 per month. You would purchase $30.00 in ink three times during the 15 month period in order to continue to earn rewards. Your net profit will be $472.00.
3 x $30.00 (in ink) = 90.00 + the cost of the $38.00 cost for 300 cartridges =$128.00
You will earn $600.00 in recycling rewards for recycling 300 cartridges over 15 months
$600.00- $128.00 = $472.00 profit
If you do this every month as well as take advantage of all the rebate deals you will end up with tons of free office supplies and have a huge stockpile of paper and ink so you can print more printable coupons! There are also hundreds of other things you can get for free every month at Staples with you rewards. If you look at Staples website you will be surprised to see all the different products they offer. Use your rewards to get things your family needs that are harder to get for free with coupons. You can get free trash bags, coffee, arts and crafts, toys, vacuums, cleaning supplies, snacks and more. The hardest part will be choosing what to get for free each month!
Do you Invest in Ink? Leave us a comment. We want to hear what you have got for free with your ink recycle rewards.