The Cheapskate's Guide to Printing

Online Services: Outsourcing Photo Printing

Tired of high ink costs for printing photos? Consider using an online photo service instead. They're convenient, and they're cheaper for printing 4-by-6-inch snapshots (though larger photos cost more than if you printed them at home). Among the services we looked at, Wal-Mart's offered the lowest prices.

We researched the costs of printing a 4 by 6 photo and an 8 by 10 photo on several photo service sites and compared them with the costs of printing the same-size photo on two current ink jets, Epson's Stylus C84 and HP's Deskjet 5150. (We based printing costs on vendor data, adjusted where necessary to reflect the assumption that a photo page will be covered 100 percent with ink.)

We also found that it pays to shop around. To avoid shipping fees, use services like Wal-Mart's, which lets you pick up your prints at a local store for free.

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