Brynne Conroy | 

What You Should Be Paying for These 5 Household Staples

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It can be a lot to measure the prices of each individual product in every single size across all the stores. But here at The Krazy Coupon Lady, we have a whole team of people who look at historical pricing at everyday retailers. In stalking price tags on household staples like toilet paper, paper towels, kitchen appliances, and pantry staples, we’ve become pretty familiar with pricing trends across various brands. And with that experience, we’re able to definitively tell you what a ‘good’ price is on any given item.

Today, we’re going to look at five major household staples, including toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, dishwasher tabs, and trash bags. They’re all consumables, which means they’re something you’re going to have to replace fairly often. Now let’s see if you’ve been paying too much. And if so, we’ll show you how to find a better deal.

For more savings tips on household staples and beyond, download the KCL app or text HACKS to 57299.


1. Aim to pay no more than $0.02 per square foot of toilet paper.

To compare prices on toilet paper, don’t pay much attention to brand terms like ‘Double Roll’ or ‘Triple Roll.’ These terms are subjective and boil down to marketing gibberish.

The only way you can really compare the price of toilet paper is by comparing square feet vs. price. Here’s the formula you would use: Price for toilet paper / Square feet in pack = Price per square foot.

You can consistently find store-brand toilet paper for $0.01 per square foot at Target, Costco, and Sam’s Club, but if you shop elsewhere, like Walmart you can find it for $0.02 per square foot and still consider that an acceptable price. Here are the stores where you can get the best prices on toilet paper on a consistent basis:

A graphic with the prices of toilet paper.

RELATED: Here are even more ways to save money on toilet paper.


2. Pay $0.02 (or less) per square foot of paper towels.

You might be surprised to learn that you can find even brand-name paper towels like Bounty for just $0.02 per square foot – but it’s true!

Here are some of the best places to pick up paper towels on the cheap:

A graphic with paper towel prices.

Now, at Costco and Sam’s Club, you won’t have to do anything special to get low pricing. But if you’re shopping at one of the other stores, you may need to use some other savings hacks. Here’s how to score these low prices at each store:

  • Walgreens & CVS: Wait for a sale on paper towels. Don’t forget to stack any sales with coupons and rewards program incentives.
  • Amazon: Use Subscribe & Save to push the price even lower than $0.022 per square foot.
  • Walmart: Keep an eye out for manufacturer coupons to push the price even lower — though you’re not likely to beat the Subscribe & Save pricing.
  • Target: Combine Target store coupons, manufacturer coupons, and Circle deals to get the lowest price — even on Bounty. Bonus points if you claim the extra 5% off for paying with your RedCard.



3. The best price on laundry detergent varies by quality.

Bottles of Tide laundry detergent sitting on a shelf.

Okay, so, with laundry detergent, the price you want to aim for depends entirely on how picky you are about quality. To calculate the price of laundry detergent, you want to measure by load rather than by fluid ounces or any other metric. Here’s the formula: Price of laundry detergent / Number of loads = Price per load.


Aim for $0.12 per load with conventional brand detergents.

You could go with a conventional brand, like one of the following:

  • Kirkland Signature
  • Member’s Mark
  • All
  • Gain
  • Presto
  • Tide
  • Persil

Price will also be affected if you’re buying a powder vs. a liquid vs. detergent pacs. Here are the cheapest ways to buy these conventional brands:

TIP: Remember that you can bring the price down even lower with things like Subscribe & Save and Circle Deals! Regardless of where you shop, you should aim to pay $0.12 or less per load.


Brand loyalty changes your pricing metrics for natural laundry detergents.

Natural laundry detergent will cost you a little more. Some common brands include:

  • Ecos
  • 9 Elements
  • Tide PurClean
  • Seventh Generation
  • Method
  • Mrs. Meyers
  • Clean People
  • Grove
  • Dreft

Here’s where you’ll find some of the best everyday prices per natural brand:

A graphic with the price of natural laundry detergents.

You can easily see that the cost is going to vary depending on your brand loyalty. You’re probably tired of hearing about Amazon Subscribe & Save and Circle deals at this point, so here are some other savings strategies:

  • 9 Elements is a P&G brand, so be sure to check out P&G coupons before you shop.
  • Both Grove and Clean People offer their own subscribe & save programs, which can save you 15% off every order.
  • CVS often has sales, coupons, and opportunities for ExtraBucks, so be sure to sign up for the ExtraCare rewards program to maximize your savings.


Spend no more than $0.13 on ‘cheaper’ laundry detergent brands.

Walmart is your bae when it comes to cheap laundry detergents. But bear in mind that in many cases, you can get the conventional brands even cheaper, which is probably a smart move as you’re getting a higher quality for less money.

Some common cheap laundry detergent brands include:

  • Purex
  • Arm & Hammer
  • Tide Simply
  • Amazon Basics (formerly Solimo)

And here’s where to get the lowest base price on each:

A graphic with prices of cheap laundry detergents.

RELATED: 10 Ways to Squeeze the Most Value From Amazon Subscribe & Save


4. Don’t pay more than $0.10 – $0.26 per dishwasher tab.


Dishwasher tabs tend to be expensive, but there are some places where you can find them between $0.10 and $0.26 per tab on a regular basis:

A graphic with prices for dishwashing pacs.

That said, don’t discount drug stores like CVS or Walgreens. While they don’t have the lowest base prices, when they have sales, they do it up. Be sure to join the rewards programs and keep an eye out for store and manufacturer coupons, too.

RELATED: Suds Up with Savings: Make Your Own Laundry & Dishwashing Tabs


5. Buy your trash bags for $0.13 or less.

trash bags

When you’re buying standard kitchen trash bags, you want to pay $0.13 per bag or less.

You might not always be able to get Glad for this low price unless there’s a sale. But garbage bags are one thing that’s usually okay to buy store-brand.

Here are some of the cheapest regular prices that’ll keep you under budget:

A graphic with prices for trash bags.

If your family is particularly intense with what you expect out of your garbage bag’s strength, you can check out our reviews of these store-brand trash bags‘ quality.

TIP: It’s pretty rare to find trash bag coupons that meaningfully bring the price per bag down. You’ll want to keep an eye out for sales and in-store promotions.


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