If you have a big family or you’re preparing for a large gathering, you may need lots of paper goods like disposable plates and paper towels. Or you might just like to keep a stash around the house to save time and energy with cleanup. Whatever your reason, the solution is often to buy paper goods in bulk.
Keep reading to learn how to snag the best deals on these products.
Are paper goods often on sale?
Paper goods are on sale about as often as any other item. It really depends on the store and if there are any promotions or deals going on. Some paper products go on sale around certain holidays, such as Independence Day, when retailers expect people to be hosting parties and gatherings.
When it comes to everyday items like toilet paper, various brands might be on sale any given week. If you’re chasing a deal, you can switch up the brands you buy. However, the quality of the item and the quantity you’re paying for are important factors to consider.
When you should (and shouldn’t) buy paper goods in bulk
Being able to buy in bulk may seem like a great idea — and it is for most people. If you need 30 rolls of paper towels or toilet paper, you’ll want to compare bulk pricing to find the best deal.
If you’re hosting a party or event, it’s also a good idea to have more paper products than you typically need. You can always use the leftover supplies later. However, if you’re already going to be spending quite a bit on the event, adding in the cost of bulk paperware may not help much, even if you’re able to get a sale.
Before you buy paper goods in bulk, consider these things:
- What your family’s current paper product consumption level is
- How long it would take you to get through the items
- Whether you have the space to store what you buy
For example, if you have closet, basement, or garage space to spare, you might buy supplies and toiletries in bulk from a warehouse club. When you can get the items at a great deal, can use them for months, and have a place to put them, buying in bulk usually makes sense. However, if you’re not going to use the items much or don’t have the room, it might not be financially savvy.
How to get the best deal
To get the best deal when you buy bulk-sized paper products or even smaller quantities of them, start by comparing prices. Many retailers have product prices right on their websites. But also factor in how much of the item you’re getting for the price, as well as the item’s quality.
Let’s take toilet paper for an example. Big Box Store One might sell 18 jumbo rolls for $14.79 while Big Box Store Two sells them for $14.95. Warehouse Store X also sells bulk toilet paper for $22.95. So the better deal seems to be one of the big box stores. But is it? You’ll need more info before fully deciding.
Factor in size and quality
You’ll want to compare the amount each bulk package actually contains — for paper products, you can often go by size measurements or item counts. But don’t rely on any advertised equivalencies. A label that says “11 jumbo rolls = 75 regular rolls” makes it seem like you’re getting more bang for your buck, but that might not be entirely accurate if their definition of “regular roll” is smaller than expected.
Instead, look at the fine print. You might check the square footage or number of sheets in the whole package. Also make sure it’s the same quality of product — in this case, it might be one-ply vs. two-ply. If they’re all about the same, then either Big Box Store probably does have the better deal.
Calculate the per-item pricing
You can do this with almost all paper items. If you’re getting paper plates, compare prices and check how many come in a package. Let’s say the dollar store sells a package of 30 plates for $1.25. If you got those, you’d be spending around $0.04 per plate. But if you found another store selling them in packs of 100 for $3, that would be only $0.03 per plate. As long as you’ll eventually use 100 plates, they’re the quality you want, and you have somewhere to store them, that’s the better deal.
What’s the cheapest place to buy paper goods?
It may take time to find which local retailer is the cheapest place to buy paper goods for your household given your preferences. But it helps to know where to go if you’re planning an event with a time crunch. Here are some of the best options to start with:
Dollar stores are convenient and tend to offer competitive prices for paper goods. Going in knowing that items will be marked down is a good way to stay under budget. Some dollar stores frequently offer store coupons for additional savings.
While they probably won’t have paper items in bulk, you may be able to purchase several single items at a lower total cost than a bundled package. It can still be a good deal if you’re grabbing just a few items for your household.
Warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club are great places to buy paper goods in bulk. They often have affordable prices given the amounts that you can buy, and they keep prices low thanks to customers’ annual membership fees.
The major downside of shopping at warehouse stores is that they often entice you to buy more than you need. At least in the case of paper goods, though, they may take a long time to use, but they won’t go to waste like perishable food. It’s still a good idea to pay attention to how much you’re getting for the price and what your household actually needs.
Don’t count out online retailers when trying to find the cheapest place to shop. There are several no-membership sites that sell items in bulk — sometimes with extra discounts — and even provide free shipping.
Get more bang for your buck
You don’t always have to buy paper goods in bulk to save money, but it can be helpful. Pay close attention to what you need for an event or how much your family uses over time.
Then, be sure to shop around and think beyond grocery stores to ensure you’re getting a great deal.