Inkjet printer ink is one of the most expensive liquids in the world - it costs more per litre than Chanel No. 5 perfume, for example - so it makes sense to use as little as possible every time you print.

Here are six ways to help you do just that.

[Read more: Printer buyer's guide - choose the right printer for you]

1. Use third-party inks

printer inks

Choosing inkjet refills carefully won’t make the cartridges last longer, but you will get more for your money.

Inkjet cartridges are at their most expensive when you buy refills from the same manufacturer who made your printer - the ‘original equipment manufacturer’ or OEM.

Buying cartridges from a third party, or ‘non-OEM’ supplier, is considerably cheaper. A five-pack of Canon cartridges for a Pixma iP4600 inkjet costs around £44 from Amazon, for example, while a non-OEM set costs around £6.

You can buy non-OEM inkjet cartridges from high-street stores and online, but check customer reviews first, since some may be inferior to others. However if you use your inkjet to print photos onto the OEM’s own high-quality photo paper, it’s worth sticking with OEM cartridges since their ink tends to be formulated to match the paper and give the best possible photo prints.


2. Print in draft mode


Draft print

If you’re printing something for your own reference, switch your inkjet printer to draft or ‘fast’ mode. The print quality won’t be as good, but text and images will still be perfectly legible. More importantly, your printer will use much less ink.

When you open Word, click File, then Options and then Advanced. Scroll down to Print and click the box next to Use draft quality. Click OK and continue with your printing. 


3. Print in monochrome

Print black and white

Printing a page of text that contains a small photo can use colour ink unnecessarily, particularly if you’re not interested in the photo. Get around this by printing pages using just the black ink cartridge. 

How you change the colour choices will depend on what printer you have and whether you are printing from Word or an internet browser. In Google Chrome, when you click Print there is an option to change the colour. In Word, when you click Print, go on Printer Properties and adjust the colour from there.   

4. Use a different font


Believe it or not, some fonts use up much more ink than others and while significant savings only occur when printing thousands of pages, you can still benefit from a switch. It’s reckoned that Times New Roman and Garamond use the least amount of ink, while chunky fonts like Comic Sans and Verdana use the most.

Better still, Ryman’s Ryman Eco font is a free font that supposedly uses 33% less ink than others while still preserving readability.


5. Use a web page’s own ‘Print’ option

print page

Printing a web page usually prints everything on it - the logo, site menu, advertisements and so on. If all you want is the text in the middle of the page, this is a huge waste of ink.

Many web sites, however, offer a ‘Print’ option that opens a new page with just black text and minimal unwanted content to reduce the amount of ink that’s used.

Look at the top or bottom of a web page for a Print button or check out the Print Preview when you select Print in your browser to see what is likely to appear on the page.


6. Don’t print at all

cute pdf writer

If you’re just printing something to make a permanent record of it, why print it on paper at all? Instead, print the document as a PDF file to retain all content and formatting, and save it on your hard drive. You can always print the PDF to paper later if you need to — or email it to someone to save on postage costs.

Windows users will need a PDF utility for this and CutePDF Writer is a free download. Once installed, Cute PDF Writer appears as another print option in the Print dialog box — just select it, click Print and select a location to save the file.

[Read more: What’s the best printer for use at home?]