Wednesday, June 11, 2008

WFMW: Affordable and Quality Household Items

Updated to add current prices. Please see disclaimer at bottom.

Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer hosts the weekly edition of "Works for me Wednesday", where you will find oodles and oodles of valuable tips. Click on over and join the rest of the blogging world at Shannon's blog!

For all of you who are money conscious (and really, who isn't) ... yet still cherish QUALITY ... than bring your eyeballs closer to this screen because I'm going to share with you four of my biggest household money savers... (yes, I know this is a long post... but it is worth it!) By the way... This post is for the person that always wondered, but didn't want to put out the money to find out first hand...

#1: Baby Wipes

Okay moms... I know you are all picky about your wipes -- each mom having a preferred brand -- especially when it is your first baby. So am I. When Hunter was first born, we used a boat load of wipes that were given to us at showers -- all brands, scents, sizes and packaging. But the wipes I loved the very best (and still do) are ... drum roll please ... Kirkland Signature Unscented Baby Wipes.

In my humble, yet picky opinion, these wipes are high quality for "generic" wipes. The box contains 8 packages of 88 wipes for a total of 704 wipes. The individual soft plastic packages have plastic flip tops, and are each sealed with a piece of plastic sticky tape, but once the tape is removed, the plastic flip top does a great job of keeping the wipes moist. And to be honest, I occasionally leave the top open, but only the top wipe dries out, while the rest stay moist. According to the package, these wipes are not flushable... but... I've been known to flush them, and our toilet hasn't clogged (although, I would NOT recommend this for a septic tank).

Things I love about Kirkland Signature unscented Baby Wipes:

  • They are affordable ($15.49 per box = $1.93 per package, or $0.02 per wipe).
  • They are strong.
  • Each individual sheet is very large (7.1" x 7.9").
  • They are alcohol and scent free.
  • They are gentle -- enough for me to use them to remove my makeup and my eyes don't burn or sting.
  • They last me forever!
  • Enough said.
#2: Toilet Paper

I am a stickler when it comes to toilet paper. It has to be soft but not too soft, strong, and work. I hate Scott brand, Angel Soft brand, and others because they are too scratchy... but still, I like affordability, as I'm sure you do to!

I also hate buying new things just to try them out -- especially when they are in bulk. If I don't like it, it becomes a waste of my money! So ... imagine my surprise when I was at a home group meeting a few years ago at my TrendyChurchFriend's house and saw that she was using Kirkland brand toilet paper! Basically, I got to try it out for free, plus, she gave me her own glowing review. And... I fell for it -- hook, line and sinker. I've been using it for years now, and have even sold my mom on them ... and she's the pickiest queen bee I know.

Things I love about the Kirkland brand toilet paper:
  • The total package is HUGE with (I think*) 24 rolls of toilet paper
  • The rolls are individually wrapped in clear wrapping, enabling me to leave a couple rolls sitting out in a basket or back of the toilet without getting dusty or nasty, or take a roll with us when we travel. This would be great for campers.
  • It works well in a septic tank.
  • It is soft. Not Charmin soft... but then again, I don't like it THAT soft -- too "linty" and Kirkland TP doesn't have lint. I LOVE that, because sometimes I use it to take off my eye makeup (if I've run out of wipes).
  • It is strong.
  • It is affordable (*$17.99 for 36 rolls = .49 per roll -- cheaper than what I thought it was yesterday!).
Gotta love it!

#3: Paper Towels

I'm sure it will come as NO surprise when I announce that my favorite type of paper towel to use is... Kirkland Premium Big Roll Paper Towels. Not because it is "Kirkland brand," although one might think I slightly favor this store brand over others (I have NO idea why you would think that) ... but because they are really, really good, absorbent and strong. Like the toilet paper, only more so.

I use a lot of paper towels. More than I should admit... but I like that they are more sanitary than using a dish towel. I use them to wipe off my counters, stove top and microwave, table, chairs, Hunter's hands and mouth (well, sometimes his whole body ... depending on what we've eaten), I clean bathrooms with them, sometimes I dry dishes with them, I dry my hands with them... the list goes on and on... but these stinkers are strong!

Actually, Consumer Reports tested name brand and store brand paper towels to see which ones were truly the best. They soaked the various products in water for the same amount of time, each towel was weighed to see how much water it would hold, and then a special machine was used to measure the amount of force required to tear a towel. They found one store brand that was the strongest, absorbed fastest, and cost 42% less ... Kirkland Signature paper towels from Costco. Which makes sense, since the Kirkland Signature brand is so good... and did you know that the Kirkland brand toilet paper and Kirkland brand paper towels are the largest selling items in the entirety of Costco???? It's true. But a savings of 42%??? That TOTALLY rocks in MY pocketbook.

Things I love about the Kirkland brand paper towel:
  • Each roll is individually wrapped so they won't get dirty or dusty.
  • It takes forEVER to use them all.
  • You get 80 large sheets per roll -- 85 square feet per package
  • Each sheet is 2 ply
  • Each package comes with 12 rolls
  • You get a 42% savings over other store and name brands (*$15.99 for 12 rolls = $1.33 per roll, or $0.014 per SHEET!)
Now ... the trick is navigating your way through Costco and leaving the checkout line with a bill that is UNDER $200.

#4: Laundry Detergent

I know what you're thinking... Kirkland brand again...

SURPRISE!!! I'm not choosing Kirkland brand! WHAT??? Heresy... Burn her at the stake!

Calm down... Kirkland brand isn't bad... it's just NOT what I use. I use "All Free and Clear" -- which, surprisingly, is CHEAPER THAN KIRKLAND Free and Clear brand at Costco. Yes. It is. My husband has very sensitive skin -- so does my baby. It works great at cleaning clothes, it doesn't break out anyones skin, and comes in huge containers at Costco.

Things I love about All Free and Clear (I buy the really big jumbo bottles, but couldn't find a picture of one to show you) laundry detergent:
  • #1 Recommended by dermatologists and allergists
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Clear of dyes
  • Free of perfumes
  • Proven to remove two of the top everyday allergens (dust mite and cat dander)
  • Available in HE (high-efficiency front loading) formula (which sadly, I don't need -- BIG sigh)
  • Lasts forever
  • *A 300 ounce container of All Free and Clear is $8.75 -- compared to Kirkland brand of Free and Clear which is only 170 ounces at $12.99! Incredible!
Each of these items I've mentioned are BULK items... which means, you need to have a place to store them. Many people don't like to buy bulk for that very reason -- I'm included in that "many people" bunch -- but I make an exception for these items because they are so cost efficient and the quality is so high. In fact, I'm starting to like bulk more and more.

*Prices were confirmed from our local Costco on 6/10/08 -- prices may vary depending on location -- new information is in blue.


frillsfluffandtrucks said...

I looooove Costco too...except I use Bounty papertowels. But I buy them at Costco! Does that count? ;)

~ Sarah

Becoming Me said...

Great tips.

Briggie said...

i love the All detergent, it's great and no big bottle to lug around. thanks for stopping by my blog, let me know how if you make the mac n cheese and how it came out!

Veggiemomof2 said...

Kirkland Dishwasher powder is recommended by Consumer Reports as one that works without rinsing the dishes first. Something about an enzyme in it..I'm going to try the Great Value brand which was also recommended. (Target/Costco is not nearby)

Susanne said...

Kirland Diaper Wipes were the only ones I used when my kids were babes. Kirkland TP is THE best. I'll have to try the paper towels out. I've never seen that particular ALL at my Costco. Maybe because it's in Canada.

Shalee said...

I used to make my baby wipes. Stinkin' easy and cheaper than anything out there.

This is where I wish I had a Costco card. I need to find my friends and ask them to let me tag along the next time they go. Those toilet paper/paper towel tips sound mighty good!

Gettysburg Mom said...

hi there- i wanted to thank you for your post last week about water play. it's been so helpful this week! thanks again!

Amanda said...

This is such a great WFMW post, or anytime post! I love how you broke down the pricing and, especially, that you mentioned how hard it is to buy something new without having someone's thoughts who have tried it.
I've been trying to convince my husband that we should try the Kirkland TP. I bought Angel Soft last week because it was the best bargain at the time, but I had to stop using it; way too rough :) As for laundry detergents, I buy based on value AND scent; scent is key to me (not so much for rugs, kitchen towels, or rags, but definitely for clothes, bath towels and sheets). So, next time I'm buying detergent, I will sniff the ALL to see if I like it. I do use HE for front loaders, but my favorite brand--Arm & Hammer--does not make an HE yet.

Again, thank you for the valuable information.

Michelle@Life with Three said...

Great post! Is Costco the only place you can buy Kirkland brand? We have a BJs and a Sam's Club, but no Costco close. If we did, I'd be stocking up on the wipes, tp and the paper towels for sure! We already use the All small and mighty -- and I love it, too!

Anonymous said...

Very helpful post! I'll be tagging along with my sister the next time she makes a costco run.