How to save money on toilet paper

Save money on toilet paper

6 tips and tricks to save on the panic-buyers’ favourite item

Another lockdown and another supermarket rush – we’ve all been here before! This time around, here are some tips to arm yourself when you’re shopping for the panic buyers’ favourite item: toilet paper.

Background

Every personal or family budget distinguishes essential expenses from discretionary expenses. Toilet paper, a basic household product most of us use every day, falls into the first category.

Unlike other paper products, such as paper towels (for which washable cloth napkins serve as reliable, eco-friendly stand-ins), toilet paper doesn’t have a convenient reusable replacement.

Yet it’s still possible to save money on toilet paper with or without taking the — for many Kiwis — unfamiliar leap into bidet toilet attachments or even on a squatting toilet, common in much of Asia and the Middle East.

Here’s the top six ways to save on toilet paper:

1. Make every sheet count

How much toilet paper do you really need to use each time you go? Less than you’ve been using, probably.

The trick is finding the optimal balance of surface area (the more, the better) and wipe integrity (essentially, a stronger wipe).

According to a physicist hired to settle the question once and for all, the ideal toilet paper configuration is a hybrid “folded wad” that’s stronger than your standard neat fold but has more surface area than a messy wad.

It’s the most efficient option on a wipe effectiveness basis — that is, if you’re trying to minimise your toilet paper usage while achieving an acceptable threshold of cleanliness.

2. Keep an eye out for great deals

Using coupons and shopping on specialty bargain websites and stores can save a lot if you’re buying toilet paper all the time.

3. Subscribe to a toilet paper provider

Most of us are accustomed to subscribing for services such as Netflix, but believe it or not, you can also subscribe to have regular toilet paper deliveries.

4. Avoid buying it at the supermarket

Whatever type of toilet paper you prefer, if you’re buying at the supermarket you’ll probably pay more per roll, and you’ll run out sooner because you’ll likely have to buy in smaller quantities.

Instead, it’s much better to purchase a generic bulk pack from a large store. You can buy in higher quantities and likely at a lower cost per roll or sheet.

5. Keep it simple

Premium toilet paper can be three-ply, coloured, scented, and come with imprints on the toilet tissue itself. For this sort of luxury, you’ll pay a premium price.

But, whatever you do, don’t give in to the temptation to get the one-ply stuff, store-brand or otherwise. It doesn’t go as far, is less absorbent, and is way more irritating over time, especially with frequent use.

Instead, keep it simple with a firm but unfancy two or three-ply unscented variety. This will hopefully be best for the environment too – there’s less or no colours and perfumes which can be bad for the environment.

Pro toilet-paper tip: also avoid flushable wipes. They’re expensive and aren’t always flushable at all. Especially in older homes, drainage systems might not be able to deal with them, leading to expensive and mucky blockages.

6. Pay attention to sheet count

Every pack of toilet paper should include this information somewhere on the outer wrapping. You might have to do some basic calculations to figure out how much paper you’re getting for your buck. (Multiply the number of rolls by the sheets per roll).

Then, you’ll know the best measure of how much toilet paper you’re really getting and what you’re paying for it in per-sheet terms.

The bottom line – avoiding the panic buyers

Enact a few of the tips above to help you avoid going head-to-head with panic buyers the next time you venture out. Happy toilet-paper shopping.