6 Household Essentials You’re Probably Paying Too Much For

Most of us have go-to brands that we buy again and again. But are you overspending on those essentials without even realizing it?

We crunched the numbers to see how much money the average family of four can save each year on the things they use the most.

1. Toilet paper

toilet paper

Most families go through 208 to 416 rolls of toilet paper per year. There’s a lot of variance in that number because roll sizes differ wildly across brands. The best metric to use when pricing toilet paper is price-per-sheet (price-per-square-foot doesn’t take the ply into account).

While it may seem a little intense, calculating costs this way is the only surefire method of getting the best deal. While many popular premium brands cost around $0.0042 per sheet for a typical 12-pack, smart shoppers can often find value packs like Charmin Ultra Strong on sale for just $0.0026 per sheet instead.

  • Potential Savings: $205.01 per year

Slick Tip: Check out how several leading toilet paper brands compare to see which rolls are worth your money.

2. Shampoo and conditioner

Shampoo and conditioner

Assuming you use the recommended amount of shampoo and a similar amount of conditioner, the average family will use around 24 to 40 bottles of shampoo and conditioner each year (depending on how many times a week you shower). And at $5.25 each, the annual cost of both can add up fast.

By actively seeking out sales, however, you can snag jumbo sizes and sets for half the price. For instance, we’ve seen Head & Shoulders Dandruff Shampoo and Conditioner duos sell for as little as $2.85.

  • Potential Savings: $57.60 – $96 per year

3. Laundry detergent

laundry detergent

According to CBS News, the average household washes almost 400 loads of laundry every year. The typical cost per load is 21 cents, but buying detergent while it’s on sale can dramatically drop the cost to around 3 cents per load. It’s also smart to buy in bulk. So, if you spot $6 bottles of Purex Liquid Laundry Detergent discounted to just 99 cents on Slickdeals, stock up.

  • Potential Savings: $72 per year

Slick Tip: Submit your store receipts on rebate apps like Ibotta, Checkout 51 and BerryCart to score cash back on household essentials. It’s actually not uncommon to get stuff for free when you stack rebate deals with sales and coupons.

4. Paper towels

paper towels

Most families go through at least two rolls of paper towels per week. Considering that the average cost per roll is $1.40 (or 4 cents per square foot), you can save more than $50 per year just by purchasing larger rolls on discount.

Walgreens recently offered 48 Bounty Large Roll Paper Towels for $43 with $10 in Rewards Points, which meant shoppers stocked up at only 2.6 cents per square foot.

  • Potential Savings: $52 per year

Slick Tip: One of the best ways to make sale prices even better is through manufacturer’s coupons. You can usually get them online now, instead of clipping them from a newspaper.

5. Dish detergent

dish detergent

Most of us run our dishwashers daily, so buying in bulk typically yields the best price breaks. The average cost per tablet is 25 cents, but we’ve seen Finish Dish Detergent sell for just 12 cents per tablet (with free shipping).

  • Potential Savings: $47.45 per year

6. Toothpaste


If you use the ADA recommended “pea-sized” amount of toothpaste and brush twice a day, the average family will use anywhere around 16 tubes of toothpaste per year. So, buying your favorite brand when it’s on sale is always a smart move.

We’ve seen prices get cut in half on Slickdeals before, like when the price of Colgate Max Fresh Whitening Toothpaste dropped from $3 to $1.50 per tube. And since toothpaste usually lasts around two years, you can wind up saving a ton by buying in bulk.

  • Potential Savings: $24.09 per year

Adding it all up

When you add everything up, the average family has the potential to save $496.55 each year just by utilizing the tips above.

We’ve partnered with Slickdeals.net to help our readers find the best sales on products they love. Slickdeals is a trusted online community dedicated to sharing, rating and reviewing deals and coupons, with 11 million users curating the best deals daily. Check out the Slickdeals.net homepage for the top deals of the day.
Any product or service prices/offers that appear in this article are accurate at the time of publication.
This article fits under the following categories:

Lesley SheridanLesley Sheridan is a freelance fashion and beauty writer who lives for Pinterest boards, animal prints, strappy shoes and coupon codes. She's written for Slickdeals, Wpromote, Bellacor, Dot & Bo and #1 New York Times bestselling author Sylvia Day's lifestyle magazine, Beyond Words. Her bookshelves are filled with Kevyn Aucoin makeup guides, and her favorite band is and will always be INXS. A Kentucky girl at heart, she currently resides just outside of Cincinnati with a husband who wishes he were an astronaut and a dog whose favorite word is “pizza.”

Recent Articles

These Austin neighborhoods prove they are anything but “weird” with their rising rent prices.

If you’re strategic about your registry and ask for what you really want, the possibilities are endless.

Most Popular