Don't flush your money away
Have you ever wondered how to calculate a good deal on toilet paper or paper towels?
I have been able to buy both items for free on rare occasions. But most things in life arenâ€™t going to be completely free. I rely on my savvy skills, my coupon knowledge, and coupons from the Savannah Morning News to help me stock up on these items when I find them at a good price.
Hereâ€™s how to get these items at my stock-up prices. After all, itâ€™s easy to throw random numbers out there for you, but if you donâ€™t know the tips you will never get your prices low enough and get discouraged. I grabbed the weekly sales ads, headed to Publix and Rite Aid and stocked up on these items, and easily found these items at my stock-up price.
I use two methods to determine if I am getting a good deal on toilet paper. One method is used to determine my â€śstock-upâ€ť price. When I stock up on something, I generally purchase at least four of them.
The other method is to determine a â€śgoodâ€ť price -- the maximum amount I would ever pay for toilet paper. If I donâ€™t pay attention, I may just get stuck buying toilet paper when I canâ€™t find it at my â€śbuyâ€ť price. Both methods only apply to two-ply toilet paper. I simply donâ€™t buy anything that is only one.
Method one â€“ stock-up price. If the toilet paper is a penny or less per square foot then I buy as much as I can. There is a very easy way to determine that â€” move the decimal point in the square footage listed two places to the left. For example: If the toilet paper is 400 square feet then $4 would be a stock-up price. If the toilet paper is 450 square feet, then my stock-up price would be $4.50. There is some leeway in that, of course. If the price is within 50 cents of the penny per square foot, then I still consider it a stock-up price. So, if 400 square feet package was on sale for $4.25 I would still consider that a stock-up price because it is within 50 cents of my calculation.
For one-ply toilet paper: If the toilet paper is only one-ply, chances are the square feet will be almost double of what it would be if it was two-ply. I suggest taking the square feet and dividing it in half to get a good price. For example, for the 400 square feet, move the decimals two places to the left = $4. Then, divide that price in half to get $2, a good price for 400 square feet of one-ply toilet paper.
Method two â€” price per roll. This is still a good price but not as good as the stock-up price. The most I will pay for toilet paper is 25 cents per roll. So for a 12-pack roll of toilet paper, $3 is a good price. For a 24-pack of toilet paper $6 is a good price.
For those of you that are skeptical because you just never see toilet paper priced this low, hereâ€™s how a savvy shopper can score a good deal even when the toilet paper isnâ€™t on sale. Recently, at Publix, I bought 400 square feet of Angel Soft toilet paper for $3.84 or 16 cents per roll) I combined double coupons, store coupons and used Walgreen Register Rewards. This is what my transaction looked like:
Four packages Angel Soft toilet paper (400 sq. ft. each â€“ 24 rolls) at $6.99 each = $27.96
One bottle Wisk laundry detergent at $4.49 each
Price before coupons: $32.45
Four 45 cents off Angel Soft toilet paper (Red Plum, Mar. 25) *doubles to 90 cents
One $2 off Wisk (Red Plum â€“ Bluffton, June 10)
$5 off $30 Publix coupon (Savannah Morning News, June 6)
- $4 manufacturer Register Reward from Walgreens
Final price = $17.85 - $2.49 Wisk = $15.36
$15.36 / four packs of toilet paper = $3.84 (less than a penny per square foot and 16 cents per roll)
*All prices are calculated pre-tax.
*The Wednesday paper that the Publix coupon came in was only 75 cents. This was a major score!
Paper towels are a little less complicated. I just use a base rate of 50 cents per roll. Sometime back, I went around to all of the stores and calculated what the regular price was per square foot for Brawny, Smart Option, Marcal, Sparkle, Bounty, Scott, Viva, Decorator and the store brand.
In almost all cases, I kept coming up with two cents per square foot as the regular price regardless of the brand. In some cases, they were as high as four cents per square foot. Because most brands were two cents per square foot, I decided to stick to my per-roll price of 50 cents or less. This was less than any single roll regular price I found in any of the stores. And youâ€™ll find it is the name-brand paper towels you can stock at this price.
Last week, I was able to score Bounty paper towels for 27 cents a roll at Rite Aid, and if you calculate in the +UP Rewards I received, the price was really six cents per roll.
Hereâ€™s how I did it:
Deal: Buy $15 in participating items get a $5 +UP Rewards.
Three eight packs Bounty Basic paper towels at $6 each = $18
- $1 off Bounty paper towels (Vocal Point Mailer)
- two 25 cents off Bounty paper towels (P&G, May 13)
- $10 +UP Rewards from previous shopping trip (The trip was a $10 money maker so these were free)
Final price at register = $6.50 or 27 cents a roll
Received $5 +UP Rewards at register = $1.50 for 24 rolls of Bounty or six cents per roll
If you have any gift cards from transferring prescriptions you can use these to help stock up on paper goods. You can also use overage to apply towards your paper goods. Overage is when the coupon is worth more than what the item costs.
Would you like to learn other ways to be a savvy shopper? Take my couponing 101 class July 24 at 6:30 p.m. at the Savannah Morning News. I will teach you how to use coupons to lower your grocery bill, how to organize your coupons and much more.
Be sure to check the Savannah Savvy Shopper Facebook page on a regular basis for local deals, coupons and freebies at www.facebook.com/savannahsavvyshopper. If you have any questions or would like to sponsor a class for your organization please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Send your tips or questions to Savvy Shopper Michelle Rubrecht atSavvyshopper@savannahnow.com or post them to Savannah Savvy Shopper on Facebook.