Guest Post: Calculating a Stock-Up Price on Toilet Paper

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.

Photo Credit: MateosBday
DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy.
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  1. 2

    Beth G. says

    Glad I could help! Wish there was something as easy for paper towel pricing…

    One more way to evaluate the price (and maybe a simpler perspective for the math) is to pick up the package you are interested in and look at the total square feet, say it’s 585 sqft. Make that a dollar amount right there by putting in a decimal point = 5.85. So you can then say, “If this package is more than $5.85, I can probably wait for a better deal.”

  2. 3

    Jackie says

    We recently had our septic pumped and he suggested putting beer yeast in the tank. We actually already do this since my husband makes his own beer. He said it helps break down the “materials” faster than any of the chemical that are made it for it. Thanks for the article!

  3. 4

    Jenna says

    This is a great post! I had to go back to the Meijer post from a few weeks back to see what I paid for the Quilt. North. TP. $1.16 for 190.6sq/ft! I usually try to buy when less than $0.25/double roll. Love this way of looking at it! Thanks!

  4. 5

    stephanie says

    this article was great! I was going by price per roll (.20-.25 per roll) but it makes so much more consistent sense to compare this way. Did dry heave at the last bit, so will skip on the google LOL! Thanks so much.

  5. 6

    Alanna says

    I have used so much of the information I have gained from this website . . . this is yet another GREAT example of taking some extra time and savings some money. I love finding tricks like this. I printed this out and will make sure I use the information the next time I have to shop for T.P. I also want to share the information with several of my frugal friends! Keep up the fabulous work and thank you so much for helping us frugal friends out here saving money.

  6. 9

    M E 2 says

    My “toilet paper math” is even easier. Anything equivalent to and/or less than $1 per 4-pack of TP is a good deal. 12 double rolls = 24 regular rolls. 24/4 = 6 …. therefore anything $6 or less is a good price, IMO.

    • 10

      Courtney says

      That’s my mom’s “toilet paper math” too…how funny! Of course with sales and coupons, I am able to do better than that, but IF I am in desperate need of tp, that’s the method I go back to.

  7. 11

    MT says

    Thanks for mentioning family cloth! Most people do “dry heave” at the thought. But its not that bad. Especially when you already do cloth diaper laundry! What makes me dry heave is the though of paying for something I’m just going to flush down the toilet…might as well wipe my bum with dollar bills lol. Honestly family cloth is not bad and it feels much better than scratchy paper!

  8. 12

    Jules says

    My husband likes to do what i call the ”mitt.” He takes the roll of the roller, then wraps the tissue around his hand..for blowing his nose AND #2 (dont ask how i know about he #2 lol). I think to save money i will now ration him a certain number of sheets for the day, then he is on his own.

  9. 13

    karisa says

    The one thing I learned a couple weeks back was to look at the ply. I thought I was getting a good deal at Walgreens on their Cottonelle, as it came to less than $0.01 a sq. ft. However, it was only 1 ply! Needless to say we’ll need to use twice as much to get clean.

  10. 14

    Chris says

    I know I’m horrible for not looking at the ply, sheets, or square footage. But my best run was at Wags using coupons and rewards- $1.50 for a 12 pack (or 13 cents per roll), which totally beat my 25 cents per roll previous record from Meijer.

  11. 15

    Heather S says

    This is great info. I think that ply does have a somewhat important factor when buying tp. I notice that I, and other family members, are more apt to use more tp when it’s only 1-ply, therefore going through tp faster than a 2+-ply tp. But if that 1-ply tp is super duper cheap (cheaper than a stock up price on a 2+-ply tp), then I say “why not!”. Thanks for the info, it’s very helpful.