Social media post reveals the one item shoppers won't skimp on to save money

Shoppers said they'd settle for cheaper brands for things like butter, flour and sugar  to save money, but many drew the line at buying cheap toilet paper.
Shoppers said they'd settle for cheaper brands for things like butter, flour and sugar to save money, but many drew the line at buying cheap toilet paper. Photo credit: Getty Images.

Most food shoppers are aware that as home brands can be cheaper than premium brands, there are savings to be made if they switch.

But while many shoppers would swap to cheaper brands for grocery items such as spreads, flour, sugar and butter, when it comes to loo paper, a little luxury appears to win out.

Posting on the Budget Busters Facebook Group on February 3, Taupō Budget Busters co-founder Isobial Jackson invited members to comment on what brands they've switched to and saved.

They were also asked to comment on what items their family won't scrimp on in pursuit of savings. 

In just under a week, the post has racked up over 80 comments. 

Washing powder and/or laundry liquid, canned spaghetti, Weetbix, cat food, and tea bags were among the non-negotiables mentioned by members.

But most members said they couldn't compromise on toilet paper, 15 commenting that they wouldn't settle for a cheap version.  

"I don't switch toilet paper for cheap stuff as I found we actually end up using more," one user said.  

"Won't scrimp on toilet roll, cat food or watties sauce but I'm good with most things if [it's] cheaper as it's saving me more money," said another.

Another group member commented that they'd had to switch to a cheap brand of toilet paper as the "3-ply kept blocking our toilet because the kids use so much".  "But I have a stash of good stuff I use," the person added.

One person said they like 3-ply toilet tissue because there's nothing worse than "easy to tear" toilet paper.

"I will swap out almost anything - except toilet paper.  For the rest, I'm like an advert for the generic brands," said another.

The sentiment of the group was summed up by another person's comment, to "never swap for cheap toilet paper". It "costs you more in the long run" and "runs out way faster than brands that cost slightly more", meaning "you'll end up wasting more money," the person said

One member did concede to buying the cheapest toilet paper, explaining that with a family of five or six home most of the time, they "go through a lot".

A person who had switched from 3-ply toilet paper to 2-ply noticed the saving.  

Another said they were adamant they'd "never change from 3-ply" but the prices had "got crazy". 

"Always found people just plow through the 2-ply making it same outlay or more expensive overall, but bit the bullet and bought a 40 pack 2-ply, so far it's lasting," they said.

Commenting to Newshub about the level of response to branded versus unbranded toilet paper, administrator of the Budget Busters group, Isobial Jackson said at first she was "a little taken aback".

Drawing from her own experience shopping for a family, she said there is still some stigma about buying generic brands, particularly items that touch the skin.

"Brand loyalty is also a big factor and of course there is valid discussion around whether the branded ones, especially double length, do have more product or you just use less," Jackson said.

Among the grocery items group members said they would compromise on to save money, included butter, jam, coffee sachets, flour, sugar and butter.

On Wednesday, the cheapest home brand toilet rolls available at Pak'nSave are the 'Value' brand white 12-pack, 2-ply toilet tissue, priced at $2.99 (25c per roll/180 sheets). A 24-pack of the same toilet rolls costs $5.99 (also 25c per roll).

Prices for 3-ply toilet rolls start from 50c per roll (double the price of a 2-ply roll), a 4-pack of Pam's 3-ply costs shoppers $2.00.

At Countdown, shoppers can buy 'Essentials' brand white 12-pack, 2-ply toilet tissue for $3.60 (30c per roll/180 sheets), or 17c per 100 square sheets.  A 40-pack of the Essentials toilet rolls costs $11.50, working out marginally cheaper at just over 28c per roll.

Confirming due to COVID-19 supply chain issues, 'Essentials' is currently the only home brand of toilet paper currently available at Countdown, Tim Bastin, merchandise manager for everyday needs, told Newshub demand for different toilet paper quality is "pretty evenly balanced" across the range.

As available stock, prices and specials change, comparing prices online and in store will help shoppers get the best deal on the day.