#15 Pay Attention to your Paper Plates

I used to buy whatever the lowest price tag was in the paper plate aisle and then move on. Then the other day I decided to take a closer look. When we buy plain ole paper plates, we always use 2 at a time because they are not thick enough or strong enough. So, in reality, they cost double what I was thinking they cost because we have to double them up. While I was in the paper product aisle I did some math. The store’s brand of generic “Dixie” brand (the fancy ones with the design, typically a glossy finish), paper plates were like .04 each (4 cents). I used to buy these for special events and know that I only use 1 per person and not 2 like the regular paper plates. The plain paper plates were like .03 each. BUT, if I’m using 2 each time, that price needs to be doubled so they are actually costing me .06. It was cheaper to buy the fancy ones (in the store brand)!!!

Really, the point of this article isn’t paper plates. The point really is to do the math while shopping. Divide the price by how the product is used and not just by the ounce or each.

Our local Meijer Store is my favorite store because of their produce being excellent. I have noticed over the past few years that their store brand items are getting better and better. I have also noticed this paper plate phenomenon in the cereal aisle as well. Typically, Meijer brand cereal is slightly cheaper than what one would think of as typical “generic” cereal (MaltoMeal or similar bagged and not boxed cereal). Their brand of quick oatmeal is cheaper than the nasty cardboard tasting generic they offer as well.

I’m not good at doing math in my head so here are some choices to think about before you tell yourself you can’t do this. Most cell phones have a calculator somewhere- if you can’t find it, go to your company store and ask them. If you don’t have a cell phone, you can buy a pocket calculator at most dollar stores or you can take a small notepad with you and do it by hand!

Here’s the formula:
Cost / each or usage = cost for one use

Paper plates cost $2.00
There’s 100 plain ones but I use 2 at a time so that number goes down by half to 50
2.00 divided by 50 equals .04
Paper plates cost 4 cents each.


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