In this era of advancement where the cost of computers and technology is dwindling to such an extent that there are more cell phone users than well-fed people in the world, it's almost unbelievable that ink cartridges are usually priced at such a high margin that they cost almost half or sometimes twice as much as the printer itself. Often the life of a cartridge is not very extensive and so, whether you like it or not, you are compelled to either buy a new printer each time a cartridge expires or just swallow your pride and wear the cartridge cost. However, some sensible buying tips can help you decide what you really should do.
Something many people do in order to get cheaper cartridges is to buy from a supplier or vendor who offers ink cartridges online other than the genuine one from the printer manufacturer. This is actually a good strategy as you can get really suitable deals online or otherwise, but you have to be wary because this gives vendors opportunity to sneak in fraudulent cartridges which may not have the promised ink level or do not function properly. Hence, as a norm it is important to pick a trustworthy vendor. The vendor should also have a good reputation when it comes to customer service, so you can promptly exchange any faulty cartridges that may come your way.
Other than purchasing from a reputable vendor, you should also judge the kind of cartridge you would benefit from most while keeping your costs at the minimum level. Usually 'introductory' or mini-cartridges are sold with the printer and have a lower level of ink than the actual full-sized cartridge available as a refill. Hence, a good idea is to confirm any such gimmicks before purchase and maybe pick a different printer if you like. Additionally, some printers support high-capacity or XL cartridges, which are a bigger investment than normal cartridges but they obviously last longer and are more economical, especially if you plan to print on a regular basis. Finally, if you require a colour printer, you may also consider buying a printer which supports individual single colour cartridges, because if you use only one particular hue extensively in your day-to-day printing, you can generally use every drop of ink in the single colour cartridges replacing only the colours which are used more frequently than not.
A neat trick some people put to use is refilling cartridges, usually drastically cheaper than any of the other methods. This is a great idea, however it comes with its setbacks and the giants of the printer manufacturing industry are taking measures against such aftermarket cartridges. A badly refilled cartridge may not only give poor prints but may no longer be compatible with the computer, as refilling might damage the computer chip incorporated into the cartridge, which the printer needs to interact with in order to print. In my experience the best printers to buy if you are considering the option to refill are the Canon and Brother printers which support the individual single colour cartridges.
At the end, there probably would be a trade-off between cost-effectiveness and convenience. If you can afford buying brand-new manufacturer cartridges, you will continue to pay through the nose! On the other hand, if you want a cheap but reliable strategy, you can always change your printer when the cartridge runs out of ink and use the tips mentioned above to put a cap on your printing supplies' expense.