Wipe Out Excessive Spending On Toilet Paper

by Guest Contributor · 18 comments

Though this is a real expense that should to be talk about, this guest post might bring out some interesting comments…

It amazes me just how many people have strong loyalties to toilet paper brands. For a product you use to wipe your bum, it can generate quite an emotional bond. I used to be married to a man who would only accept a specific, premium brand of toilet paper. I had grown up with a much cheaper brand and was astonished at not only the price, but also at how thick this new brand felt. All in all, any good quality paper will do the job well, so let’s look at some ways to cut costs in the bathroom.

Generic is just as Good, sometimes

It is undeniable that many generic brands are cheaper because they are frankly not worth the money. Whether they are two-ply or four, they are thin, barely absorbent and fall apart (oh no!) just when you want them to stay together. Unfortunately the only way to find out just how good a toilet paper product is is to purchase it and try it out. For this purpose a simple four pack is your best choice.

Toilet paper should be relatively soft to the touch and feel sturdy as well as substantial. If you can read the newspaper through the product you are not going to get good absorption. Unroll a few sheets and crumple it up or fold it in the manner you would when using the product. If it still feels comfortable, try it out in the bathroom. Otherwise return it to the store and ask for your money back. Most stores will refund your purchase.

It may take a while, but you will find a product that feels good and works well. The savings over the course of the year can be significant in a larger household, but are still worth while in a small one.

Buy in Bulk or on Sale

If you have a membership at one of the popular warehouse clubs, consider purchasing their house brand. The two big warehouses each have a decent generic toilet paper brand. The price is significantly less than that of the premium brands they sell along side.

Toilet paper coupons are common. If you can get the coupon multiplied, it is even better. Purchase when the brand is on sale and really score big. Once a sale is announced, stock up.

Just Use Less

In college I had a roommate who could use half a roll of paper at a sitting. It was truly frightening how much toilet paper she wasted, especially in light of the fact that toilet paper was one of those equally shared expenses.

Teach your children, spouse and housemates to use less toilet paper. With a decent product a “basic” wipe takes about four sheets. You may need to wipe twice to feel clean, but that is pretty true of most papers. More “business” will clearly need more paper, or at least more wipes. Folding paper rather than scrunching it up makes it more effective as well.

Between the price of a generic product, better shopping habits and using less, the savings will really add up.

Please comment to discuss, not disgust!!!

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Money Green Life May 29, 2010 at 6:12 am

this post was kind of silly, but yet still fun to read. I bought a bulk of toilet paper exactly 1 year ago from Costco for some $20+ and currently I’m on my last roll. Can’t believe it lasted me this long. Also, I’ve really grown fond to the Kirkland brand. One tip I can offer is I usually go in the mornings before I jump in the shower. I wipe myself after I go, but not super clean. I give it a couple wipes and then I jump in the shower and wash the area clean with soap and water. I save on toilet paper that way, i guess.

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john raines July 22, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Yuk!! TMI!!

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Amber May 29, 2010 at 6:59 am

I agree that it’s silly to spend lots of money on super premium, fancy, scented papers. Those thick papers feel so weird.

What really needs to happen is that people have to start buying recycled toilet paper. It’s absolutely ridiculous that trees (often virgin forests) are cut down to make the paper we use to wipe ourselves. I started buying recycled about 3 years ago once I realized what a waste the other papers are. No, the recycled stuff isn’t the cheapest possible option, but we are willing to pay a little bit more in order to help the environment. The cheapest option (per sheet) is buying Forest Green in bulk online at Amazon.com. You get free shipping and if you sign up for the auto-delivery program you get a discount. If you don’t want to ship things, it looks like Costco has the Mercal recycled TP and paper towels in bulk.

(In Australia, BTW, the recycled stuff is way cheaper than the normal stuff (which makes sense, it’s got to be cheaper to reuse paper rather than logging, right?; available in the grocery stores and always going on sale).

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Jenny May 29, 2010 at 8:38 am

Most of the time, you can just use the less expensive brand but trial and error still works best. I’ve used some toilet paper that gives me a rash after just one use (yes, it’s that bad) and I would never use them again even if they were extremely cheap.

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basicmoneytips.com May 30, 2010 at 4:35 am

Interesting article – I never really focused on saving money in the bathroom except in the area of cleaning supplies. Have you ever noticed how much name brand cleaners are verses their generic counterparts. I have not been able to see enough difference to warrent spending the extra on name brands.

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Lulu June 1, 2010 at 6:43 am

I use Angel Soft toilet paper which is close to generic but it feels thick and soft enough to get the job done. I love this toilet paper and buy a giant pack of 24 when I go to the store. I am sure I look funny with the giant roll of toilet paper in my cart but I have toilet paper for MONTHS………

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Stephan June 1, 2010 at 2:09 pm

while i enjoyed the article, tp is definitly one of those products where i dont shop just by lowest price. i have always felt it worth it to spend an extra few dollars each month to get premium tp. i hate the tp at my work, or any public place in general because they always get the cheapest, thinnest, worst tp out there, all to save a few bucks.

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Veronica June 3, 2010 at 8:02 am

What about not using TP except for #2? I use cloth wipes and they work great.

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Bonnie June 3, 2010 at 10:49 am

@Amber-the reason recycled TP costs more than virgin TP here in the U.S. is because our government subsidizes the virgin paper industry. It definitely costs less to produce recycled TP than virgin. Regarding brands, we use in-house Kirkland brand from Costco. Tried the recycled brand, but too scratchy. May try that one from Amazon. Used to use Charmin Ultra b/c it’s so soft, but it takes forever to break down in the toilet and leads to clogs. Plus it costs more even w/ coupons.

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Curtis June 5, 2010 at 12:29 am

Well…I use the best and most expensive toilet paper you can buy. Four sheets and two wipes? HAHAHA…I would say, as embarassing as this is…I use probably 12-15 sheets and 4-5 wipes…and I don’t have a problem spending the money for it as long as I feel clean and comfortable. I cannot use the cheap crap – I actually carry a roll of my stuff with me when I have a travel and have a roll in my desk at work. Using anything but the good stuff is painful….

Toilet paper is one thing I will not cheap out on.

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David June 9, 2010 at 7:21 am

What about the Japanese gadgets that use water and air instead of paper to clean your bum? How long would it take the amortize the cost?

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The Best Money Blog June 15, 2010 at 11:17 am

Haha. I just posted a comment on another one of your articles about buying toilet paper in bulk.

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CleanButt August 26, 2010 at 4:36 am

I use enough TP to get the job done. Sometimes, it’s little, sometimes it’s practically the whole roll. Like Curtis, I do what I have to do in order to be clean. I unfortunately know some people who could use some advice in this area. It’s not pretty having to smell someone’s “issue with tissue”.

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Capitalist January 7, 2011 at 7:55 pm

I honestly cannot believe that you are recommending that readers buy a 4pk of toilet paper, essentially “use” it, then return it to the store if it isn’t just-so. Heck why stop there: Buy one of each brand of orange juice, take a sip out of all of them, then pick out the best one and return all the rest.

This is not “saving” money. All you are doing is shifting the cost from yourself to the unfortunate store. Everything’s fine as long as somebody else is paying for it eh?

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squeaky July 3, 2014 at 9:05 am

Recently some of the types they offer at the office and in public have really impacted my rear! I started taking the flushable wipes in a zip lock (advised my my Dr.) and wow. My tush is better. Plus I use way less paper at home or out. Just 1 wet wipe (with some witch hazel added) is usually enough. I get they on discount or Kirkland brand. I’m saving so much Toilet paper I’m shocked! Although I pay for 2 products, I think since I’m the only girl, we are now saving alot.

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Arminius Aurelius July 4, 2014 at 4:41 pm

After I got out of the Navy in 1957, the following summer I traveled to Europe for 3 months bicycling to Germany, Austria and France. Stayed at Youth Hostels foe about 25 cents a night. The toilet paper in the Hostels back then was newspaper [ no kidding ]. So if you really want to save money, you might want to consider that. In the 1960’s things began to improve dramatically.

I had a male friend visit me for 4 days back in January. He went thru 2 rolls of toilet tissue. I always said he was full of SH_T politically but I guess also bodily.

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Alex October 16, 2014 at 9:04 am

I use the Kirkland Signature brand. It comes out to about a penny a wad. That is more than affordable enough for our family.

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Wishing4Cleanliness October 16, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Kudos to Squeaky! I, too, need an alternate to cheap work tp. Despite numerous attempts and gobs of tissue used, you end up with a still-dirty-but-now-sore behind! Hint to flush-able wipe makers: come up with refillable, discrete packaging that can be slipped into your pants pocket – an everyday use pack!

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