Thrifty. Cheap. Bargain-hunter. These three words overwhelmingly describe my family. The last time you were at an end-of-season sale at Kohl’s and someone elbowed you out of the way? Probably one of my relatives. Did you get run over by a buggy at the After-Christmas sale bonanza at Hobby Lobby? Another relative. Where the 75% off signs are posted, my family migrates. We’re a strange type of hunter/gatherer that only frequents the clearance bins.

So, anything to save money is good. It’s real good.

Did you know you can save money just by changing your printer margins? Change them to .75 inch and you’ll save money. For every ream of paper you buy, you’ll save 12 cents. This doesn’t sound like much, but if you’re someone who prints a lot of stuff, that’s a lot of money. Let’s say you just use a moderate amount of paper a year — maybe 5 reams. Ok, that’s just 60 cents for you. But, if you use 10? There’s a buck twenty.

Ok, so it doesn’t really save too much money for the average homeowner. (But me, the master of cheap still does it. In fact, I set my margins at .6 inch because I’m just that cheap!) What about businesses, though? What about schools? How often do schools go through stacks and stacks of paper. I can safely estimate that all of the homework assignments, worksheets, handouts, and lesson plans I printed in my two years of teaching used at least 2 reams of paper for each student I taught. That means I used 56 reams. Because I changed my margins, I saved the school $6.65. There were 16 teachers plus an after-school program (that should count as 4 teachers worth because they did a lot of worksheets and had a lot of kids.) If everyone had changed their margins, then the school would have saved $133 during my tenure. That’s a lot of money for a little school.

If all of those math numbers made your brain hurt (as they did mine…. Kevin E, I’m trusting you to check my math and expose the flaws created by my fuzziness), then let me make it simple: Reducing the margins saves money. In fact, Penn State did a study. They estimated that by simply changing the default margins on all of their paper consumption, they would save over $100,000 a year.

Of course the other bonus is that less paper = less trees being turned into paper. So, in this case, saving green is very green.

What would I recommend? Check out Tamara Krinsky’s website Change the Margins (that’s where I got all of my info). Then, change the default margins on your Word program to be .75 inch. (Or join the ultra-thrifty and change it to .6 like me!) Get your boss and co-workers on board. Save some green. Save some trees. Pat yourself on the back. Job well done.