Shopping & Retail

How Do I Know I’m Getting a Good Deal on Toilet Paper?

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During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most curious shopping phenomena revolved around toilet paper.

Facing potential lockdowns, shoppers hoarded jumbo packages of toilet paper. Those shelves began to look much like the bread and water aisles in the South whenever there’s a threat of snow or ice.

People literally threw punches at Costco trying to snare toilet paper for their families. That’s one illustration of just how important toilet paper is to our everyday lives, even though we don’t think about it as much now as some people did during that dark time.

Still, it’s something that’s consistently on all of our shopping lists. So how do we make sure we get a good deal?

How Do I Comparison Shop for Toilet Paper?

How do you comparison shop for toilet paper?

That’s what a Clark Howard listener recently asked.

Asked Candace in Florida: “I am perplexed about this topic and tried to do the math myself. I feel like my money is going down the toilet!

“How do I know I’m purchasing a good deal on toilet paper? I go through rolls and rolls in a week when I purchase from the warehouse club’s jumbo packs. Are there better deals? Can you help me get to the bottom of this?”

First, kudos to Candace for the way she phrased her question. She’s clearly got a sense of humor with those puns.

Clark recommended a “Japanese-style toilet attachment,” otherwise known as a bidet, as the cheapest solution. You’ll save most by avoiding toilet paper altogether, he says.

As far as toilet paper goes, the packaging can be confusing. But there’s a way to simplify your deal evaluation.

“Don’t look at the sheets. Don’t look at the number of rolls. Look at the total square footage,” Clark says. “If you really want to know if you’re getting value, divide the price by the total square footage.

“You can do the same in any store you’re looking at toilet paper and then you’ll know whether or not you’re getting a deal.”

Evaluating Toilet Paper: Comfort vs. Price

You may consider more than the best price per square foot.

In the past, Clark has acknowledged that at least once, his own family complained about the quality of the toilet paper he bought because it was such a good deal.

“Now that we get down to the very nitty gritty on this. Some toilet paper you don’t need to use a whole lot of. Some brands you need to use a lot more,” Clark says. “Some are like [sandpaper].”

Clark and his podcast producer Christa then took a detour to discuss the giant institutional toilet paper rolls. The kind with the individual tan sheets that you find in school bathrooms.

Clark even said that in some cases in the past, using a Sears catalog was more comfortable than using those institutional rolls.

“But we digress because your question is are you getting value? Do the math,” Clark says.

“And you think through if you try different brands, warehouse club or wherever, how many sheets do you have to use to effectively get the job done. And that will be your most efficient use of toilet paper.”

Final Thoughts

Buying toilet paper isn’t all about the deal. At least for many people.

But, putting aside comfort and isolating prices, there’s an easy formula to compare options. Just divide the total square footage by the cost. Then find the one with the cheapest price per square foot.

This post was last modified on February 28, 2024 12:03 pm

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