How much should I budget for laptop consumables?

Saturday, March 14th, 2009 | laptops, resources

This question is the same as asking: “How much should I budget for petrol for my car?” It all depends on what model car you are driving; how much driving you do; and what the current price of petrol is.

The same is true of laptop consumables.  The cost depends on three factors.

The type of equipment you use has an impact on the cost.  Scanners, for example, do not use any consumables.  Printers use paper and toner (ink) cartridges.  The type of printer determines the cost of the cartridge – it is important to know its cost before you purchase a printer.  A cheap printer may use expensive ink cartridges, while a more expensive printer may have a lower running cost.  Do cost comparisons before you purchase a peripheral.

The extent to which you are performing certain functions determines the amount of consumables you will use.  The more you print the more paper and toner you require. 
If you learn to work on-line your need for printing will reduce and the cost of consumables will come down accordingly.  When you feel that you simply cannot afford certain consumables, consider whether you could perhaps do without them.

The cost of consumables also depends on where you purchase them.  Shop around for the best prices – you will be surprised to see the variation of prices from different outlets.  Sometimes items such as data sticks are given away as promotional goods at trade fairs – look out for such opportunities and grab them.

Consider whether the use of all the peripherals available to you is really necessary.

You may be able to afford their initial cost, but the cost of consumables is a recurring one, which you need to budget for.

Click here to find answers to more laptop related questions.

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1 Comment to How much should I budget for laptop consumables?

Sharon Elin
Saturday, 14 March, 2009

I used much more ink and paper in years past and now have tried to change. I’ve moved my teaching toward a more “green” and environmentally-friendly (cheaper) approach, in which students go to a computer to find resources, read materials that I’ve put in files for them to read, and complete tasks that I assess online. The only obstacle to this approach is when students don’t have access to computers.

One way around that is that I often used an LCD projector to project an image of my computer screen on a wall, showing notes and/or questions for students to answer. No ink or paper is used for this; the LCD bulb is the only “consumable,” along with the electricity to power the projector and computer. Students would use their own sheets of paper to take notes and/or write their answers, rather than filling in a readymade worksheet that would have required ink to print and a Xerox copier to run enough copies for every student.

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