Michael on November 7th, 2008
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I just finished reading At the Supermarket Checkout, Frugality Trumps Brand Loyalty.  Fascinating excerpt:

Shoppers are even buying toilet paper differently. “When they get to the end of the month, and they’re out of paycheck, they may buy a smaller-count pack,” Mr. Falk said. “You’re seeing that shift in consumer behavior during a pay-period cycle more than we maybe have in the past.”

I think this point shows us two things:

  • The economy really is in the toilet.  (Yes, there’s an intended pun there.)
  • When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, you can be forced to make additional decisions that are ultimately not in your best long-term financial interest.

I say this because the shelf life of toilet paper approaches infinity.  Unlike the strawberries I bought just three days ago, toilet paper never goes bad unexpectedly.  And, unless there are some serious medical issues, you are pretty much eventually going to use all the toilet paper you purchase.

Since, when you buy toilet paper in bulk, you pay less per roll, it’s better to buy large quantities of toilet paper.

Yet when you get to the store and you don’t have the $3.99 for the 24-pack only have $0.99 for the 4-pack, you pay more per roll.  You can’t wait until tomorrow for payday to get the more cost-effective 24-pack.  You’ve got to go today.

Far better to make a conscious effort to reduce spending as appropriate then spending less in the short-term knowing all the while that in the long-term it will cost more.  Yet another advantage of living Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go to the bathroom.

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How have you shopped differently?  Feel free to talk about non-bathroom related products.

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2 Comments to “Toilet Paper As an Economic Indicator”

  1. Wen we go shopping and we see something we use regularly on special, we usually buy it even if we don’t need it because we’re saving.

    Costco often offer bulk packages which is cheaper than 2 smaller packages.

    If you’re living pay check to pay check, you’re living out of your ways.

  2. Studenomist says:

    I try to make all of my monthly purchases at the start of the month so that I do not have to worry about frequent visits to the store. With that being said, stuff happens and unfortuneatly sometimes your frugal instincts don\’t kick in..

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