Simple Savings: Print on scratch paper.

For this savings idea, I owe full credit to my 4th grade teacher, Miss Smith (now Mrs. Eckert). Miss Smith was a new first year teacher when I had her, and oh, how I loved her! She was the reason I wanted to grow up and become a 4th grade teacher. (Side note: I did grow up and fulfill that dream of teaching 4th grade for 3 years – and loved it!) A couple things I remember from her classroom, where how much Miss Smith encouraged us to read, shooting baskets when we mastered multiplication tables, and recycling. It was thanks to her that my Mom started a scratch paper drawer at home for the 4 of us children.

An easy way to save? Print on scratch paper!
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You see, as nice as it is to write on plain white paper, do we really need to do so all the time? I have found that, most of the time, scratch paper works just fine. You can write a to-do list on scratch paper. Your children can draw pictures on scratch paper. You can even print on scratch paper. You can use scratch paper for just about anything.

If you are looking for places to collect scratch paper, start with the junk mail. What does your office do with the misprinted papers? If they are just going in the trash (or hopefully, recycling), could you use them first? If you have school aged children, there are many papers that come home from school printed only on one side. Designate a place for scratch paper and start using it.

Think of it this way. For each ream of white paper that you don’t have to buy, that is a savings of $4 to $5.

The place where I use the most scratch paper is in my printer. I print all my coupons on scratch paper. The stores don’t mind as long as the coupons scan! Why should I “waste” a piece of white paper when I can reuse an old one? A word to the wise. Do be careful when you load scratch paper in your printer. If you put it wrong, you’ll be printing words on top of words – and that doesn’t do you any good. Ahem. Yes, I have done that before.

If nothing less, teach your children to use scratch paper for their countless drawings. If you teach them to do so from the beginning, think how much money you will save! Growing up, we used scratch paper so much that I remember the year my little brother asked a ream of plain white paper for Christmas. He got it – and kept it safely tucked away in his closet, not wanting to share with any of his sisters. 🙂

To read all 31 saving tips in this series, you can do so here.

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  1. Is it bad for the printer to put in scratch paper and make the printer print it? Would it decrease the lifespan of the printer? Will it lead to more jams in the printer

    1. I haven’t discovered any problems doing so. I’m sure technically it adds to the wear and tear of a machine, but I’m pretty careful of the paper I use as scratch paper in my printer and it works great!

  2. Absolutely, scratch paper is a great way to save money and the environment! Here are my tips on the subject:

    About your printer, though: If it’s a laser printer that’s not designed for double-sided printing, and the already-printed side of your paper was printed on a laser printer or photocopier, the heat of the printer can cause some of the toner that’s already on the paper to come off and get into the wrong parts of the printer. Over time, this can lead to jams or more serious damage. We were saving a lot of paper at my job for about six months before we killed our printer! Since then we’ve been forbidden to print on the backs of things, so I’ve focused on getting away from having to print so much, instead.

  3. I did this ALL THE TIME in college. And even accidentally turned things in that way from time to time! My professors didn’t mind.

  4. Scratch paper is used most often for taking notes and making lists around here. I always make my grocery list for the coming week on the back of the paper I used for the menu the week before.

    1. Lists, lists and lists! Yep. I do the same! I like the grocery list / menu idea because then you can also glance back to the previous week’s menu as you are planning your shopping for the next week.

  5. We use scratch paper for grocery lists, printing coupons and for the kids to draw or create with. Saves us so much paper but is one tip I think is easy to overlook. Thanks for sharing it.

    I also reuse junk mail envelopes to store receipts in and use them for organizing. I used to use junk mail envelopes for my coupon shopping trips, put the list on the outside, coupons on the inside. But I’ve gotten out of that habit, I think I need to restart it again.

    1. It really is amazing how much paper using scratch paper can save us! I do the same thing with my junk mail envelopes for shopping. It’s so convenient, plus I can cross out the items as I pick them up – and recycle the envelope when I get home!

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