This is a guest post from Ryan F of The Blog Content Guild

As a grad school student, I use a lot of ink. It seems like I have to buy a new ink cartridge for my printer every month. It’s frustrating to pay for printer cartridges with my meager teacher’s assistant stipend money when I want to be saving my money to buy more exciting tech-related things. Sure, I could get a deal with an HP Coupon every once in a while, but the price of new cartridges always seems high. So, one fateful day, I decided I would refill my cartridges for a fraction of the price at a cartridge refill shop. I did some research, read some Yelp reviews, and found a place pretty close to my house that would refill both my black and white and color cartridges for around $20. I was amazed that it was going to be so cheap. In retrospect, I should have known saving that much money was too good to be true. Here’s what happened:

When I took my refilled cartridges home from the shop, I was feeling good. Spending less money on cartridges meant that I could set aside more money to buy myself a new iPhone for Christmas. Plus, I had helped the environment. My cartridges weren’t joining the 85% of cartridges that end up in landfills. I was actually doing something useful and eco-friendly with them.

I popped the refilled cartridges in my printer, opened up a document on my computer, and sent the document to the printer. The printer started warming up, and everything sounded normal. I watched as the first page emerged from the printer. To my dismay, there were big green blots all over the paper, and the text was orange, instead of black. I hoped the results of the first print job were a fluke, so I tried to print the same document several times. Each time, the paper came out of the printer covered in unsightly green splotches, and the text color remained orange.

Then I took the cartridges back to the refill shop and asked if I could trade them out for some recycled ones that would work with my printer. Unfortunately, my printer didn’t react too kindly to the recycled cartridges either. After four trips to the refill shop, I was fed up. Every page I tried to print with the recycled cartridges looked like an abstract impressionist painting.

The story ends with me getting a refund from the cartridge refill shop, taking a trip to an electronics store, and paying full price for new cartridges. The new cartridges work like champs. Refilling printer cartridges might work for some people, but it didn’t work for me. Looks like I’ll have to find a new way to cut my printing costs, so I can save up to buy some tech toys.