How to Determine a Good Stock-up Price on Toilet Paper
One of the cardinal rules for saving money is to give up brand loyalty, but if there is one item people tend to be fussy about, it seems to be toilet paper. Of course some people have medical issues or septic system needs that relate to choosing a certain brand, but I personally don’t want to spend any more money than I have to on something that’s going straight down the toilet. This article can help you learn how to determine if you are getting a good deal on toilet paper without needing a Ph.D. in mathematics.
The quick rule of thumb for a good stock-up price on TP is when you can snag it for 1 cent (or less) per square foot or the final price should be the same or less than the square footage of the package.
Read on if you need the cheat sheet to know the easy way to figure that. I promise you don’t need relive the horrors of your pre-calculus class to figure this out, though a regular calculator can be helpful to have in the store if you want to figure to a fraction of a penny which brand is the best deal.
Some people shop by the number of rolls in a package, or the number of squares per roll, but you really get the most reliable price determination when you figure the price per square foot for a package. Unfortunately, because stores only list the number of rolls in a package for the sales ads, it can be difficult to do comparison shopping until you are actually in the store looking at the package to know what the total square footage is. To make it even trickier, a ‘roll’ is not a standard size (or length of square feet), sometimes even within the same brand! Then you factor in all of the different options for double rolls, big rolls, mega rolls, ultra soft/strong, 1/2/3 ply etc. and your head is spinning faster than a 3-year-old pulling the paper off the roll.
To keep the math simple, you want the final price to match or be less than the total square feet of the package. The total square feet for the package is usually listed on the very bottom of the front of the package, in small print. For simplicity, know that it is a good deal if you move the decimal point of the price 2 places to the right and it equals the total square footage of the package.
12 double roll pack (equivalent to 24 regular rolls), listed as 400 sq.ft., on sale for $4.00
400 sq.ft. for $4.00 = 400 sq.ft. for 400 pennies = 1 sq.ft. for 1 penny = Good Deal!
9 Mega roll pack (equivalent to 24 regular rolls), listed as 385 sq.ft, reg. $7.99, on sale for $5.00
$5.00 / 385 sq.ft. = 500 cents / 385 sq.ft = 1.3 cents / 1 sq.ft = So-so deal
$5.00 sale price, use $1 off coupon, doubled at VG’s; Final price = $3.00
$3.00 / 385 sq.ft. = 300 cents / 385 sq.ft. = 0.78 cents / 1 sq.ft. = Great deal!
Usually you’ll do best using a coupon matched with a sale price, and because this staple never goes bad, you want to try to stock up ahead of time. If you find yourself unexpectedly out of TP, you at least have a general idea for what is a decent deal, since it is not always the store brand or the one on sale. This can also help you determine if the warehouse club jumbo packs are good price.
Some general ideas for reducing cost and/or conserving use of toilet paper in your home:
- Limit small children to 3 squares at a time.
- Use cheap/free TP in the kids’ bathroom.
- If you are brand loyal/choosy, get coupons by:
- Signing up for emails on the company website
- Sending the company a letter or email of praise
- Emailing or calling to specifically ask for coupons from company
- For those on a septic system, many people say Scott brand has saved a lot of money on plumber’s bills for more consistent break-down of paper.
- If YOU don’t like a particular brand but find a great deal, use it in the guest bathroom.
- Pinch the toilet paper roll before putting it on the holder. This prevents it from rolling so easily and therefore conserves the amount you use, also can help foil those TP shredding cats!
- Use overages from other deals to get your preferred TP on the cheap
- Not for everyone, but some households are willing to use “Family cloth”, at least for #1 wiping. Google it if you aren’t already dry heaving! ABOUT the AUTHOR
Beth is an avid coupon clipper, deal detective, and sale seeker. She has a framed receipt of saving 110% on recent a Kroger visit, and uses her savings to fund her love of all things related to U2.