Toilet paper makes up a decent sized chunk of many people’s household budgets. It’s not cheap. When you have a big family or people who just reel it off the roll, the costs go even higher. If you want to cut some money from your budget, there are ways to do without traditional toilet paper.
The first way is to use reusable cloths. You can use old washcloths, cut up some cloth diapers, or even buy special cloth toilet wipes. Despite the ick factor involved, this idea really isn’t that different from using cloth diapers on a baby. You keep a container next to the toilet and the used wipes are tossed in there and then washed just like cloth diapers. If using the wipes for poop is just too gross for you, you can use cloth wipes for urine only and save the toilet paper for poop. Not only is this cheaper than buying toilet paper all the time, it’s more environmentally friendly. Another plus: The cloths are softer and more absorbent than most toilet paper. Just be sure to train your household so that the wipes aren’t accidentally flushed. Cloth wipes aren’t good for plumbing.
If the cloth wipe idea is too far out there for you, you can install a bidet. The bidet squirts water on your nether-regions eliminating (or at least greatly reducing) the need for toilet paper. Some bidets even heat the water. If you don’t want to buy an all new toilet with a bidet, there are aftermarket options that can be installed on existing toilets. Or, you can do like one woman I know who uses a squirt bottle and calls it her “poor woman’s bidet.” You can combine the bidet with the cloth wipes to reduce the ick factor somewhat. Use the bidet first and then use the wipes.
There are other ideas, but many aren’t practical or would offend Western sensibilities. You can try old newspaper or phone book pages. Leaves work in outdoor environments (just don’t get the poisonous kind). In many parts of the world people just use water and their hand. Toilet paper is a first world “necessity.” There are many places in the world where toilet paper isn’t used. If you want to stick with T.P. but still save money, try using less. You don’t need a whole wad to get the job done. A few squares will usually do. A higher fiber diet will usually result in less need for toilet paper, too, thanks to firmer poops that are easier to clean up.
On a related note, if you want to save even more money in the bathroom, you can follow the old adage, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown flush it down.” You can save money on your water bill if you don’t flush every time you pee. Solids should be flushed every time, but you can go two or three times before you need to flush urine. There are also toilets available that let you choose your “flush strength” according to what’s in the toilet. These toilets use less water when you choose the lighter flush option to flush liquid waste.