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Generic vs Brand Name Coupons: Paper Towels
This article is the first in a lengthy series comparing generic products with brand name products, showing you how coupons for brand name products may not necessarily be the best deal. In fact, sometimes couponing can cost families money if products are purchased just because there is a coupon burning a hole in your pocket. Although coupons can save a lot of money for families if used on items they already use or items they may use, some couponers excited by the couponing craze are using coupons just to use them or overlooking lower-priced generics that are just as good. Please note that I'm using local prices and that prices may vary by region and store. This series is meant as a ballpark overview and to provide examples only. Also, this series doesn't represent double-coupon prices, which are becoming few and far between as stores adjust coupon prices to the couponing craze.
Paper Towels: The Mother's God Send
As any mother will tell you, there are two things that you can't have enough of: paper towels and washcloths. Because washcloths can be purchased once and used forever, that leaves paper towels to be purchased on an ongoing and seemingly constant basis. So, let's compare and contrast some generic and brand name paper towels.
Bounty Paper Towels
Bounty paper towels are one of the most popular name brands for good reason. Many buyers are loyal to this brand because of the absorbency and the ability to buy them in the mega-super-duper size that many box stores like Walmart and Target regularly stock. Bounty is also very kind with coupons. However, Sally Coupon may get excited about a coupon and rush out the door to buy the mega-super-duper pack, but in my area, all of the coupons for Bounty are in the $0.25 to $0.35 range. My Walmart regional ad advertised an 8-roll pack for $9.48 this week. Using a $0.35 coupon makes the total cost $9.13, which is a cost of $1.14 per roll, not including tax.
Viva Paper Towels
These are my personal favorite because they feel so soft that I'm tempted to go wipe down my car with them or use them as an impromptu blanket. However, they can be a bit pricey. My local Target has a sale on them for $14.99 for a 12 pack, which is a really good price for these in my area. This breaks down to $1.24 per roll before a coupon of $0.35. After the $0.35 coupon, the cost is $1.22 per roll.
Aldi Boulder Brand
If you have an Aldi in your area, be advised that their Boulder brand is, in my humble opinion, pretty darn close in absorbency and softness to Bounty. The cost in my area for an Aldi 6 pack is $5.99, which breaks down to a little over $0.99 per roll.
Store Brand Generic
My local Shop n Save advertises 10 for $10 double-paper towel rolls. This price breaks down to $1 per roll. However, the absorbency, thickness and softness is a bit less than stellar.
If absorbency and softness matter, by all means, be a smart shopper and shop sales and use those coupons to purchase what you like. However, if the existence of paper towels in your house is the important matter, or you just use them as napkins and to wipe down simple spills, generic or Aldi wins as far as cost breakdown. Aldi towels are the clear cost winner in this battle and the absorbency is a bit better than the straight generic.