Don't buy original cartridges
I've had the same problem for years. I don't print photos much but use a lot of color in my documents. I've had many inkjet printers over the years from HP, Epson and Canon. I once bought a really expensive "office" printer from Canon, thinking that I'd get many years and many thousands of pages out of it, but after 2 years the scanner simply stopped working and a year after that the black ink wouldn't print. I took it to Canon to repair and they said it can no longer be repaired because they don't have the spare parts! I complained bitterly and they eventually agreed to sell me a new model for half price. It actually turned out to be a good buy, almost the same quality for a third of the price of my previous one. Because the ink was so expensive I switched to using refillable cartridges with replaceable chips, which I bought from China using ebay.
These worked fine for another 18 months and then the printer wouldn't switch on. Because it was out of warranty (again), I took it to an independent repair shop, but they said it needed a new power adapter, so it went back to Canon. They said the print head was worn out (claiming it was due to the use of incompatible ink!). The cost of a new print head and power adapter would cost as much as a new printer. I complained again. And again they offered a reasonable discount, so I bought the latest top-end model - which at least came with all new parts and another year's warranty, as well as a set of ink cartridges. The construction is fairly cheap, but the print quality and convenience (duplex printing, paper handling, document scanning, etc.) makes this a very good printer indeed, but I can't tell yet until 2 years from now because Canon printers seem to be designed to last at least as long as the warranty, but not much longer.
Anyway, so this time, because the replaceable chips aren't available for this model yet, I bought a batch of 20 sets off pre-filled cartridges from a supplier of compatible ink in China (a company called Yotat) - total price $200. I over-paid because they shipped it by courier, which cost $60; still not too expensive. Next time I'll ask for regular airmail and the cost per unit for a set of 5 cartridges will then drop down to about $7.50 (or $1.50 per cartridge). Canon sells each cartridge for around $16. I don't see any difference so far in the print quality and it's just as convenient as using original cartridges.
There are other - even cheaper - options. Other companies sell refillable cartridges with chips that bypass the printer sentinel. It means that the printer always reports as being empty, but you can ignore this. Then you fill up each cartridge from an ink bottle using a syringe. This works fine, but I've always found this to be a bit messy. More than once, I'm in my suit ready to go out to work, I'm printing off 20 copies of a document, and half-way through I have to refill the ink on one or two cartridges. Invariably, I get ink stains on my hand or shirt.
The cheapest option yet is to attach a series of external tanks. Several print shops will do it for you for about $30. The tanks are huge, about 200ml each, and each 200ml bottle of compatible ink only costs about $3-$5. Even with all the printing that I do, I think I only had to replace the ink about once a year. That's no more than $25 p.a. for perhaps 5,000 sheets (mostly text but with color illustrations) - or 1/2 cent per page. The (good quality) paper costs about 1/2 cent also, so that's a total price of 1 cent per page - whereas with genuine inkjet cartridges, I usually reckon my print cost to be around 15 cents per page, the cost of the paper becomes irrelevant! The Epson printers are usually the best workhorses for this kind of external tank setup. The printing becomes so cheap that I don't think twice about setting the print quality to the highest setting.
I now use the Canon for printing complex two-sided documents that need to be automatically collated, but if I just have to run off a few hundred full-color flyers or posters, I use the Epson printer.
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