The Great Toilet Tissue vs Facial Tissue Cost Savings Calculations

[Note: Prices updated 08-13-19]

Roll of toilet tissue I had to use a little finesse in the title of this post, because the results of my calculations were not exactly exciting.

I’ve often wondered whether it really does save money to use toilet tissue instead of facial tissue when you just have a bit of a sniffle or a corner-of-the eye tear to dab away.

The answer is yes.  It does save money.  However the savings were not quite what I was expecting.

Using costs from my local grocery store, I calculated that one facial tissue costs $.009313 or about one cent each.  One square of toilet tissue costs about $.0002427 each.  I figured that I would almost always use two squares of toilet tissue for dabbing, so for my calculations, I used the cost of two squares of toilet tissue, or $.004854 – about 1/2 of a cent.

In summary, the cost of using one facial tissue is $.009313 vs. the cost of two squares of toilet tissue at $.004854.  That makes the savings $.004459, or a little under 1/2 of a cent.

So, it saves about 1/2 of a cent every time you substitute two squares of toilet tissue for one regular facial tissue.  It would take over 200 times of doing this before you’d save a dollar.

Now if you’re constantly reaching for a facial tissue, then you could have some worthy savings.  Say you use a box of 160 count box of facial tissue a week.  If you completely substituted toilet tissue, you could save $.76 a week. 

Also note that I used a store brand tissue and I used sale prices.  Your savings will vary if you pay full retail prices and/or buy premium brands.

Just for fun (we are having fun, aren’t we?), let’s do the math with full retail prices and non-store brand facial tissue:** has a 3 pack of Puffs Ultra Soft tissues for $4.68.  That makes each tissue cost $.012581, or about a penny each.** also has a pack of 12 mega-rolls of Charmin Ultra Soft toilet tissues for $12.97.  Each roll has 284 sheets (squares), so that makes 3408 squares of toilet tissue for $12.97, or $.003806 each, about 1/3 of a cent per square.

So using 2 squares of Charmin Ultra Soft toilet tissue instead of one Puffs facial tissue will save $.004969 each time, or (rounded up) 1/2 of a cent.

It is still a savings, just not a very glamorous one.  If you used Charmin instead of a whole box of Puffs, you’d save $.62 per box.

If you use a lot of facial tissues, you would certainly save money by substituting toilet tissue for dabbing.

Note, too, that if you are doing a full-blown use (pun intended, because we are still having so much fun with this math) of the tissue, then I’d estimate you’d use at least 4 squares of toilet tissue for blowing your nose instead of one facial tissue.   In that case, all of our calculations are cut in half and they dwindle even more.  You’d save about $.36 per box of tissues  by substituting sale-priced toilet tissue for store brand facial tissue and about  $.62 per box by substituting regular priced premium toilet tissue for premium facial tissue.

None-the-less, it is a savings.  And savings repeated long enough, even small ones, will add up.  Saving $.38 a week will become $98.80 (no interest added) after 5 years.

Myself, I’ll choose the toilet tissue when it’s more convenient than wandering around the house looking for a facial tissue. Otherwise, I’ll pull a nice, soft facial tissue out of the box.  Now that I’ve done the math, I might even consider that tissue a bit of an affordable luxury.

So that’s The Fat Dollar take on using toilet tissue instead of facial tissue.

What are your thoughts?


*Local grocery flyer (Martins Supermarket) prices (08/13/19)
$6.99  for a package of 6 Angel Soft Double Rolls of toilet paper = 2880 squares

$1.49 for a 3 boxes of Our Family Facial Tissues = 480 tissues

** prices for the Puffs and Charmin are from 08/13/19