By Jill Cataldo
I enjoy answering questions from readers on how to save the most money on items we buy frequently for our households, and paper products are certainly on the list of items I always want to have plenty of on hand at our house! This topic always generates interesting responses from readers:
Really? A letter about the price of toilet paper? I have never given a moment’s thought to toilet paper prices, and you know why? Because it is a necessity! Please, can you stick to more interesting topics?
While I realize that bath tissue may not be the most exciting topic, the argument that we shouldn’t look for the best prices on toilet paper because it is a “necessity” simply doesn’t hold water (no pun intended!) The same argument could be made for food, beverages and plenty of other grocery and household items – they too, are “needs.” Why not try to get the best prices for everything we need?
Regular coupon users know that there are typically a plethora of coupons available for bath tissue and other paper products, which makes it even easier to get good deals on them. We all know what toilet paper’s purpose is – it gets used once, and then it’s discarded. I have the same mindset toward bath tissue as I did to disposable diapers when my kids were babies – they’re used once and then thrown away, so I never wanted to spend more on them than I had to.
I also find that I’m not terribly brand-specific when it comes to disposable items – not just bath tissue, but things like napkins and paper plates too. While there are some variances in quality, most brands are comparable to one another. If quality is equal, I aim to pay the lowest possible prices among the brands I like to buy.
When I refer to “brands,” I’m also including stores’ own house brands in the discussion as well. I’ve found that many house brands of paper products are comparable to name brands, and several of my local supermarkets also offer store coupons for their own brands too.
While the topic of bath tissue may not excite everyone, it’s a subject I receive a great deal of email about, and I always try to address issues that money-conscious readers bring to me. (It seems I’m not the only one who doesn’t want to flush more money than necessary down the drain!)
Here are a few more savings tips from readers like you who wrote to share their own methods for finding the best prices for bath tissue:
I know that it’s hard to get the best deals on toilet paper since they name the rolls so many different names; single, double, mega, jumbo, and family. Also, did you realize that they are not all the same width? I found that one major brand is 1/2″ narrower than another leading brand. That can make a big difference in how much toilet paper you are getting. I find that if you go by the cost per square foot, you get a more accurate comparison. All packages have that information on it, but it does take a bit more figuring, that’s for sure.
“In a recent column, you discussed trying to determine the optimum, lowest purchase price on paper products, such as toilet paper, facial tissue and paper towels & napkins. As you pointed out, one can’t do this by the piece, such as by the number of sheets of toilet paper or the number of tissues or paper towels or napkins, because their unit sizes differ so much. However, they all provide the square footage of each purchase. So, it seems to me that the simplest method is to determine the unit price per square foot, by dividing the total price you will pay by the total square footage you will get. Caveat emptor!