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How to Find a Free Printer

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I've been told on several occasions that there ain't no such thing as a free lunch -- but there definitely is such a thing as a free printer. Why? Because printers are so inexpensive to buy that many people are buying new printers before the old ones have stopped working -- and many manufacturers are so eager to get the profits from selling ink and toner cartridges that they are almost pushing their printers off the shelves.

So if you're really in need of a printer, and can't afford one at the moment, here are some ways to score a printer for free.

  • Buy a PC. Many PC manufacturers -- Dell, for example -- often offer incentives to get people to buy their systems. One very common incentive is a free printer. So if you're in need of a printer and are planning to buy a new PC, then look around and find a system that has a free inkjet attached.

  • Find a friend who has just bought a new printer. Do you know how hard it is to get rid of older technology these days? It used to be that you could donate your old PCs or printers to schools and other charitable institutions, but today, for the most part, they have very specific needs that can't be fulfilled by an older machines. So if you know someone who has just gotten a new printer, and has tried and failed to donate it to a worthy organization, see if he or she will donate the free printer to another good cause -- namely, you. And this is not totally selfish on your part -- by putting it back into use, you will be keeping that printer out of our landfills (at least, temporarily).

  • Check out a barter Web site. One of the more popular ways to either get rid of a printer or scanner you don't need, or get hold of one you do, is to use one of the barter sites. I recently gave away two old printers on Freecycle.com, which uses Yahoo groups to let people advertise almost anything -- as long as it is free. Another popular place to go is Craig's List, which offers a multitude of online classifieds -- including free stuff.

  • Check out the local yard sales. No, I admit -- printers that you find at yard sales aren't actually free. But if your bargaining skills are properly honed, you can take home a used printer for $10 or $20 -- and that is so close to free that it almost doesn't matter.
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