Money in the Bank: The Paper Towel Wars

Paper TowelsIf you’ve been following Smart Mouth Broad’s Money in the Bank series for the last few weeks, inspired by Jen’s Spin Cycle on saving money, then you’ve seen my rants, raves and rambles on how I attempt to save money.  One of my biggest tips is, and always will be, “buy store brands.”

There is, however, an exception to every rule.  My exception to that rule is paper products – paper towels and toilet paper to be exact.  You see, I learned how to grocery shop frugally from my mother, and she was the Queen of the Supermarket Bargain.  I don’t think I used, consumed, ate or even laid eyes on a name-brand product that wasn’t drastically reduced in price the first 18 years of my life.

With the exception of Scott paper products.

Mom was big on Scott paper towels, but even more so on their toilet paper.  When I finally got around to asking her why, she told me that even though they were more expensive than the store and value brands, they lasted so long it was worth the price difference.

Lo and behold…she was right.  After I married and had children – and began feeding my family of four on a grocery budget of about $60 a week – I bought Scott paper towels and toilet paper. I’d go through four rolls of bargain brand toilet paper and six rolls of bargain brand paper towels for every roll of Scott brand I used.  So, to this day I still buy Scott brand toilet paper and paper towels.  A 12-pack of the toilet paper will last us, in our 3-bathroom home (keeping in mind there are only 3 of us in this 3-bathroom home), for at least 6 weeks, and a 4-pack of their extra-large rolls of paper towels lasts us, well, 6 weeks.

I sense a pattern going on here.

When I met Beloved he was, if I’m not mistaken, a Charmin devotee.  We’d been dating, oh, maybe three months when I seized the opportunity to go grocery shopping with him.  It was on that fateful trip that I introduced him to two indispensable products:  French Market Coffee and Scott brand toilet tissue.  Ten years later, he’s still a die-hard fan of both (so much so that we began buying the coffee online; alas, stores up here in Podunk, Ohio do not sell New Orleans-style coffee).

Paper towels, on the other hand, are another matter all together.

For some reason, he still wants to buy the 75-cent-per-roll cheapie brands, even though we can blaze through a 4 rolls of them in less than the time it takes us to go through a mega-roll of the Scott towels.  We’ve even debated this in front of our employees (who, frankly, think we’re completely nuts…okay, so they know we’re completely nuts).

I’m winning, for the record, but Beloved says that’s only because they’re so expensive he’s afraid to use them and that’s why they last so long.

At any rate, like I said, there’s an exception to every rule and my exception to the “buy store and bargain brands” is Scott paper products.  They are a good buy for the money.  Do you have a name-brand product you refuse to substitute for a cheaper store brand, and why?

For more money saving tips, visit Smart Mouth Broad’s Money in the Bank series.piggy_bank_small

9 thoughts on “Money in the Bank: The Paper Towel Wars”

  1. I just cannot do ‘value’ toilet paper. Anything else I can handle. But, um, I just can’t stand the cheap, rough, chafing ‘value’ toilet paper. No way.

  2. I feel the same way about paper plates. I bought the generic version of paper plates when our dishwasher was on the fritz last week and they just paled in comparison to the name brand when it came to not wilting under the pressure. The dogs were excited since I had a few episodes of paper plate failure on the way to the table.

    Sprite’s Keepers last blog post..HASAY: Making Mountains out of Mole Hills

  3. If I typically planned to lift a small bare bottomed child using a wet paper towel I would wholeheartedly agree with Jan on the superiority of Scott Paper towels versus the generic paper towel.

    But believe it or not, we don’t routinely use paper towels to lift babies! Even when we have babies back in the house I can’t imagine needing to do this more than a few times a day. In my experience, the paper towel is grabbed to quickly sop up small spills. For small spills the $.01 cent sheet works just as well as the $.25 sheet. So now when I have a small spill to mop up I spin around in the kitchen debating the cost to pick it up. What is cheaper? Napkins? Scott Towels? – we won’t even get started on the dishrag war – My sleeve?

    As the executive in charge of the laundry room I insist upon Tide so even coffee comes off the sleeves in the wash. And it get’s ALL kinds of stains off the crumb guard Jan wears on her chest (they are ALWAYS white). Of course I do have a bottle of off brand detergent in the wash room for cleaning garage towels because, well, I’m cheap!

    So our cost for paper towels is down because it seems like I pull out a dollar bill to mop up a small spill!

    I think I have a perfect solution! We need a double roll paper towel dispenser – one for small spills and another for the Scott Towels when we need to stop speeding trucks from barreling through the front picture window – or to lift small behinds!

  4. I agree with everybody here: paper towels, paper plates, toilet paper and Tide are never-compromised essentials. In my house, add to that: Dawn, Cascade, Vanity Fair paper napkins and most cereals, although not all.

    Cathys last blog post..Cupcakes

  5. Obviously the only way to solve this debate is to do a few months of hard research using the cheap stuff for one or two months and then the good stuff for one or two…

    and then i will expect a 10 page paper, double spaced, with no less than 15 references…

    wait…i’m having a flashback…

    it may or may not be time to get back into school

    thistles last blog post..Stranded on A Deserted Island? What Would You Take?

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