how much cash are you flushing down the toilet? a frank look at saving money on toilet paper

saving money on toilet paper

I’ve got some potty talk for you.

Today I’m going to get to the bottom of how you can save money on toilet paper (you can even use your savings to wipe away some debt).

So lets get a roll on…

In our household, dunny paper is one of the great multi-taskers: we use it not only for it’s intended purpose, but also for nose blowing, kitchen floor wiping, splatted cockroach disposing and the occasional streamer strewing.

To me, ‘facial tissues’ and toilet paper are exactly the same thing, except loo paper comes on a roll rather than in a pretty box. My mother, however, finds it mortifying that I whip out a loo roll in public to blow my nose. DH also agrees that it’s pretty embarrassing.

What is the world coming too when we get embarrassed about using the wrong shaped tissue paper for wiping snot on? Just saying…

Anyway, because it’s a multi-tasker, our toilet paper has to meet certain criteria: disintegration upon contact with liquid is not ok. A certain level of absorbency is a must. Artificially scented toilet paper is also a bad thing (it doesn’t help stop the sneezes).

And you know what? Cheap-o toilet paper suits all our needs.


How to save money on toilet paper

1. Buy a cheaper brand

I admit it. We buy our toilet paper from Rough Scratchy and Co because let’s be frank here, I’m not writing letters to the queen. I truly have no appreciation for coloured, printed, 3-ply, scented loo paper.

What’s more (and I realise this may be too much information), I think that the cheaper, no frills brand works better because it has more traction, if you know what I mean, and it doesn’t tend to get left behind (in your behind – sorry, couldn’t help myself). We use 2 ply homebrand, and I find it just as absorbent, if not more so, than the expensive brands.

I’ve discussed the pros and cons of toilet paper with family and friends (as you do), and some argue that the 3-ply stuff is one of life’s little luxuries. I have to say though, when it comes to luxury items, toilet paper isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Dark chocolate and champagne? Well, now you’re talking. But dunny paper with little printed flowers..?

I’ve also heard the argument that if you buy the more expensive 3-ply paper you use less because it’s thicker. If you’ve been using 3-ply for a long time, then that might just be the case. However, I think that the number of squares that come off the roll has more to do with habit than it does with thickness.

2. Compare and save

There is no standardisation for toilet rolls. One, two or three ply, 180, 260 or 1,000 sheet rolls. How do do you compare prices to get the best value?

The first step is to settle on your desired ply. If you never want to use single ply toilet paper, then eliminate it (get it? I could go on all day) from your comparisons.

Then compare the per sheet cost within the desired ‘ply’ range. To calculate the per sheet value, divide the cost per number of toilet rolls in a pack, then divide this amount by the number of sheets per roll. This is the comparison amount.

For example, our home brand toilet paper costs $4.29 for a 12 pack, each roll containing 260 sheets. That means each roll costs 35.7c and each sheet 0.137 cents. This makes it easy to compare value between brands.

3. Use less

According to the Toilet Paper Encyclopaedia (no, I can’t believe there is one either), the average number of sheets a person uses per quiet time is 8.6 sheets, or 57 sheets per day (assuming a frequency of 6 – 7 trips to the small room). That’s around 20,805 sheets of toilet paper per person, per year (did you fill out that question on the census?).

If you buy the Wondersoft brand, that adds up to $60 per person (or $240 per family of four ‘regular’ users) per year. Kleenex Cottonelle comes in at $83 per person per year (or up to $333 for a family).

Switch to home brand and you can reduce your loo paper cost to $28 per person per year ($114 for the family). That’s a saving of up to $55 per person, which isn’t too crappy for something that only gets used for a second before being flushed.

4. Bulk up and save

Toilet paper is a great item to bulk buy because, if you have the space, you can store it indefinitely. Supermarkets regularly have specials on toilet paper, but don’t forget to check out discount stores like Kmart, Aldi and Crazy Clarks, or buy online by the box load from websites like The Toilet Paper Man. If you do buy online, share the cost between friends or family to save on delivery fees.

5. Squish the roll

This is especially useful if you have children who like to watch the loo paper unravel in streams onto the floor. If you give the roll a good squeeze before putting it onto the holder, it creates a resistance that prevents this kind of excess. It also makes you aware of how much you’re unwinding off the roll.

6. Fold, don’t scrunch

Not that I want to get too personal, but apparently, if you’re a ‘folder’ you have more surface area, and therefore need less to get the job done.

Here’s a tip on how to get the time-saving convenience of scrunching with the saving power of folding:

Wrap the loo paper around your hand as you unroll.

Instant fold without all the folding.

8. Do your business at work

The cheapest toilet paper is that which you don’t have to buy yourself.

If your boss has an issue with you spending company time in the small room you can remind him of a productivity survey which found that almost all ideas, creative break-throughs and solutions to problems come in moments of solitude and quiet reflection, not by slogging away at a desk.

9. Go recycled – pay more but save the planet

According to Greenpeace, Americans could save more than 400,000 trees if each family bought one roll of recycled toilet paper — just once. [source]

That’s a lot of trees. I have to admit that after using recycled loo paper for the last five years or more, we switched this year to homebrand because it is cheaper. I think I need to reconsider that decision.

I realise that calculating the per sheet cost of toilet paper or shopping at Rough and Scratchy might seem like taking frugality too far. But I honestly believe that saving on the little things will leave you flushed with success.

:)

What are your tips for saving money on the toilet paper? Why not leave your suggestions in the comments section below?

*Photo by graphia, used under the creative commons licence.

SAVE MONEY AND TIME ON THE GROCERIES

THE FRUGAL AND THRIVING WAY

Comments

20 Responses to “how much cash are you flushing down the toilet? a frank look at saving money on toilet paper”
  1. Delphine says:

    I whole heartedly agree with everything you have said. Have had discussions on the pros and cons of toilet paper and its luxiourness myself. Always had a stockpile in the loo. Many years ago before my 12 year olds birthday party, I was asked (by girly 12 year old), if we couldn’t hide the stockpile – just for the party. Toilet paper obviously has its embarrassing traits. When my son left home he was happy to report that he had found a really cheap source of toilet paper – he was decidedly pleased with himself. Daughter on the other hand has the terrible 3 ply with pretty flowers. She didn’t get the toilet paper gene. Another use for toilet paper, cleaning up after a puppy, and a handy face wipe when there is random up-chucking by over indulged children.

  2. Lol. Love the smattering of potty jokes through this post.

    I can’t think of any ways to save on money when it comes to the actual toilet paper, but you could use the cardboard rolls to raise carrot seedlings…

  3. Christeen says:

    Hi
    FUNNY, FUNNY post! A couple of years ago we were returning a lost cat to people that lived in a very expensive house and my daughter asked to use their toilet. After we left she tells me that they must be rich because they had flowers on their toilet paper. She even took a few pieces in her pocket so she could show me!

  4. Melissa says:

    Hi Delphine, we have a stockpile in the loo too! People often ask if we have enough. Well, it’s just cheaper that way :) . The little fella is too young to be embarassed by us…yet. I’m sure it will happen.

    Hi Mustbethrifty, love your idea about using them to raise carrot seedlings. You’ve given me an idea for a roundup post – what to do with toilet rolls.

    Hi Christeen, thanks. LOL re your daughter taking a toilet paper sample!

  5. Rach says:

    I read once that by squashing/ pinching the roll it helps reduce over use, basically the kids (and adults) find it a little harder to pull and get half a roll, instead they pull and get 3 or 4 sheets :)
    It does work, and is quick to do. We use Toilet paper for tissues too:)
    I keep the stock pile in a seperate room, with one spare in the loo room. This is because toddlers and spare toilet paper = blocked loo! LOL.

    Sick kids (adults) and toilet paper can also lead to waste. When “sick” sometimes lands in the wrong place…not fun to clean up :(

    My Nan always had a lovely lined basket full, (easy to move when the grandkids came over).
    Trying to find the best value for toilet paper really is a science. LOL. 2 ply v’s 3 ply for value, remembering which brands or ok and which disintigrate on contact, etc etc.
    Loved this post, very funny:)

  6. Rach says:

    Ok I feel a little silly ***Blush***, I had two toddlers competeing for lap space so missed that you already mentioned the squish thing. Sorry.

  7. Cara says:

    We buy our toilet paper in giant bulk loads at a store where everything is sold in bulk. I told my mother-in-law about it, and she asked me to get her some next time I was there. But she was mortified when she was given boring old 2ply. She let me stack it in her bathroom, but when I went home, she whipped it all out and replaced it with the thick 3ply, scented and with pictures on it. Next time I visited I chuckled under my breath when I saw it. I guess you can tell a person’s personality by their toilet paper. LOL
    Cute story about the little girl and the lost cat.
    And I loved all the puns through the main article, great job Melissa.

  8. Jill says:

    Just a though on air freshners. Being allergic to most things scented can have its drawbacks, perhaps more so when it comes to the bathroom. My cousin reminded me of a great way to kill toilet odours off all most instantly. Strike a match!

  9. Melissa says:

    Hi Rach, thanks, have to remember to make sure the little fella doesn’t block the loo!

    Hi Cara, that’s a little sad about the MIL getting rid of the two ply, funny how people are funny about dunny paper!

    Jill, are you allergic to natural scents? I’m really allergic to artificial smells and use a homemade toilet spray from natural essential oils (recipe is on the website). But of course, striking a match is also effective!!

  10. Felicity says:

    I’m afraid this is one topic that l just can’t be frugal about…………l have my favourite toilet paper and that is it! unfortunately no compromise for me….usually. But at the same time l live in a small town where you have to buy whatever they have available. So sometimes l’m left disappointed. Yes, it sounds weird but l probably put more thought into purchasing “dunny roll” than most products……….lol

    PS: l do love the line “I’m not writing letters to the queen”

  11. Melissa says:

    Hi Felicity,

    I’m so glad that there’s someone who likes nice loo paper willing to comment! While I don’t appreciate nice loo paper myself, I do appreciate that we all like different things!

  12. Felicity says:

    Thanks Melissa, l will point out l do like to buy in bulk or when “TP” is on special.

    Then you walk to the car, or walk home with a massive pack of dunny roll on your arm!

  13. Melissa says:

    Bulk TP – if someone comments on all the rolls, I tell them it’s because they give me the…. ;)

  14. Conor says:

    I would just like to say – I HEAR YOU!
    We have just gone from 2 incomes to less than 1.5 as hubby off to Uni, I’m planning a big bulk buy on items such as toilet paper / cleaning products etc. We usually buy Home Brand or the eco friendly recycled version, sometimes with the printed frogs (still cheap!) I have been crunching the savings out of every grocery item as groceries are the second biggest expense in our family, after the mortgage! Last night we went to Kmart and brought up on the 32 packs of toilet paper, coming in at 0.13c per sheet, 24.21 cents per roll. i calculated up our savings on toilet paper alone (buying in bulk and a cheaper brand – as like you I’m not fussed with something I will never see again!) and we will save up to $50 alone a year on toilet paper!

    Thanks for this, I feel like less of a weirdo for getting excited about saving money on toilet paper, and am proud to be leaving Kmart with my cartons on TP bulk buy!

    • Melissa says:

      LOL, you’re not a weirdo, nothing like a good saving, especially on something so disposable as toilet paper :) . Congrats on your saving – and that’s just one item! A little bit on this item, a little bit on that and all of a sudden over the course of the year, you’re making big savings. The little things truely do count when saving money.

  15. Kahn Quinlan says:

    Yeah, I’m a little bit of tight ass (sigh) when it comes to TP. It comes from growing up with tight ass parents, as kids us four children were actually perscribed a number of squares per day, 20 for the girls, 10 for the boys. I am a self proclaimed TP nazi, my wife is always using it up (she does five rolls to my half a roll), every time I do a number two I count out for sqaures, rip them into two two’s and wipe, fold, wipe, newpiece, wipe fold, wipe, and that seems to get the job done.

    So instead of 20,000 odd pieces a year I am proud to say I use approx. 1600, that’s of the two ply cheapo variety of course. I probably use less because I try and always hold off my morning duties till I go to someone elses toilet.

    And yes, I have always honestly believed that you can tell A LOT about a person by the type of toilet paper they have.

  16. MummaT says:

    What great commentary on loo paper! All those things you think about, but are embarrassed to bring up….or apparently not! Using a match is certainly effective to get rid of odours. I giggled at the thought of a match, a stockpile of highly flammable loo paper and methane gas! May just get rid of the small room too!

  17. kathryn says:

    I have an alternative solution. Go to a thrift shop in search for flannelette material or bedsheets. Cut them into appropriate lenths with your pinking shears. Voila…you have reuseable and soft bathroom wipes (TP)
    Have a drawer / box to hold clean ones, and a covered pail for used.
    Wash with your laundry. I know, I know…you are all going yuck ! Think about your washcloths you use in the bathroom, and how you wash your complete body with them. Then you dry off all the nooks and crannies when coming out of the bath.
    Maybe it’s about time, we start going back to using hankies, instead of kleenex.
    These little bits of cloths are not going to take up any room in your washer either. While your at it, start making your own laundry detergent. Hang on the clothesline. If anyone asks, and you are embarressed..say they are washcloths. Keep TP for guests.
    Now you are truly frugal.

  18. Michelle says:

    I am the bulk buying toilet paper queen! Toilet paper is one of the household items I can’t bring myself to have 1 or 2 ply. It has to be 3 ply for us, but I don’t care about patterns or perfumes. I only buy in bulk when it is on special. I once brought an entire shopping trolley full of bulk toilet paper, and even had bags hanging off the sides of the trolley. It was certainly a sight travelling back to my car, and I was actually worried how in the world was I going to fit all this TP in my car. I got some giggles, some interesting comments but seriously I didn’t care. My husband just rolls his eyes at how much of a stash we have downstairs, as it looks something like a mega castle at the moment. It is the ultimate item to stash, it doesn’t go off and doesn’t have a shelf life. Considering how much toilet paper we go through, we have to be prepared for any situation. And he hasn’t had to think about running out of loo paper for years, so his distain doesn’t bother me either. I know that sometimes buying in bulk isn’t always the go, and I am not brand or shop loyal either. But I am always on the look out for bargains. We use toilet paper for wiping noses, cleaning up spills and picking up squished bugs too. I usually take a new roll in the back of my car on long trips just in case. Also when my kids have colds out comes the toilet paper, rather than going through heaps of tissues.

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