Does a Tushy Bidet save you money?

by Jordan Lavin February 13, 2020 / No Comments

I have two boys under the age of five, and that means two things: we’re careful how we spend our money and we spend a lot of time talking about – and dealing with – poop.

Our weekly trip to the supermarket is expensive enough. About once a month, however, we have to stock up on toilet paper. It’s costly, and we go through it incredibly quickly.

I’m not alone in my struggle. According to Tissue World Magazine (It’s real – I checked), the average North American uses almost 26 kilograms of tissue paper per year, most of which is literally flushed down the toilet.

Could there be a better way?

If you’ve listened to a podcast in the last few years, there’s a solid chance you’ve heard of the Tushy Bidet. A modern take on the classic bidet that dates back to the Age of Enlightenment. A bidet is a device that attaches to your toilet and sprays water in just the right direction to help you get clean. Getting one means you may never need to rebuy toilet paper.

But will a Tushy Bidet save you money? Let’s investigate.

Why would I want a Tushy Bidet?

While I don’t care to divulge the specifics of my bathroom habits, nor will I speak from personal experience. The Tushy Bidet, however, is said to have several advantages over toilet paper.

  • It’s gentler. Using water to clean your backside can save your most sensitive skin from the irritation of wiping with toilet paper.
  • It may be healthier. If you suffer from hemorrhoids, yeast infections, urinary tract infections, or just get itchy, switching from toilet paper could help prevent them from recurring. (There could be other causes too, so be sure to check in with your doctor, also).
  • Some say it’s more pleasant. People with periods, pregnant women, seniors and people with relevant chronic illnesses like Chron’s, Colitis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome, may find a bidet preferable to wiping with paper.
  • It’s better for the environment. Canadian boreal forests are the primary source for toilet paper manufacturing, not to mention the carbon emissions produced by manufacturing and transporting 40-million tonnes1 of tissue paper every year.

What are the downsides to the Tushy Bidet?

Your TP-free utopia won’t be without its challenges. There are a few drawbacks I can see to going this route that may lead you to pass on this idea.

  • You still need to dry off. Using a Tushy Bidet isn’t entirely a zero-waste Whether you dry off with toilet paper or a towel that will need to be laundered, your bathroom visit will still have an environmental impact.
  • Germaphobia trigger. While you won’t be dealing with any germs that aren’t already in play with toilet paper, a Tushy Bidet might not be ideal if you’re squeamish. Plus, it’s one more thing in the bathroom to clean.
  • Visitors to your home will ask questions. Bidets aren’t exactly commonplace. While attachment-style bidets like the Tushy are gaining popularity, you don’t see them everywhere you go. If you’re not up for answering a ton of questions about your new bum cleaning device, you may want to keep your bathroom status quo.
  • TP is working just fine. If you’re happy with the way things are working, why make a change? As the old saying goes, don’t fix what ain’t broken. Plus giving up toilet paper will seriously hamper your ability to target your enemies on Halloween.
  • The spiders will flourish. With no toilet paper to smush the spiders with, your home could become overrun with arachnids, and you’ll have to cede the property to them and find a new place to live.

Can the Tushy Bidet save me money?

Personal finance and personal hygiene are inexorably linked. So, can the Tushy bidet help you pad your savings account? Let’s do some math.

Empirical evidence on bathroom tissue use is hard to find (if you’re a budding economist looking for a dissertation topic, this could be the one for you). But a few Google searches, and you’ll find the average person uses somewhere between 2-3 rolls per week. Since some of it comes free by way of public restrooms and abandoned janitor carts, let’s make a conservative assumption that your household uses 2 rolls per person per week. If you’re a single person living alone, that’s 104 rolls per year. For a family of four, that’s 416. At 70¢ per roll, that’s $72.80 for each person or $291.20 per year for a family of four.

The Tushy Bidet Classic model will set you back $99 US plus $15 for shipping to Canada and GST/PST/HST. If you use a credit card with no foreign transaction fee, a Tushy Bidet will cost you a grand total of $171.51.

For a single person with a single toilet, you’ll recoup your initial investment in about two years and five months. Your favourite drying method will probably add a small ongoing expense (either toilet paper or towels and laundry) that may extend this by a couple of months.

For a family of four living in a home with three bathrooms, you’ll probably want a bidet for each toilet. The unit price comes down a small amount because of more efficient shipping, but the price for three will come up to $490.46 by the time all is said and done. Even though your initial investment is much higher, so too are your toilet paper savings. In this scenario, you’ll recoup after about a year and 9 months.

There are different models available with extra features like warm water and premium finishes. If you order a top-of-the-line model with all the bells and whistles, the time to recoup is longer. A single person gets their ROI after 3 years. A family of four will recoup after two years and two months.

How else can I save money on toilet paper?

I’ve long subscribed to the concept that good personal finance doesn’t necessarily equal rigid frugality. Good personal finance means making informed choices about how you want to live your life and spending within your means.

If your method for keeping fresh and clean is important to you, use your money to fund it. Let’s say you want ultra-soft triple-ply cushioned & lotioned gold-leaf-lined toilet paper, that’s okay. If you’re going to get a hotel room and have a shower every time after using the toilet, that’s fine too. As long as you can actually afford it, and it’s a conscious choice to spend money on wiping instead of something else, you’re free to do whatever you please.

If you’re looking at a Tushy Bidet simply because you don’t like paying for toilet paper, you will save money in the long run. But you will have to stick with it for at least a couple of years before you see any savings.

You can shorten this time frame by choosing a less expensive bidet attachment. There are models available on Amazon for as little as $40, which do essentially the same things. But as with all things in life, you get what you pay for. You may be better off spending a little more upfront to get a product that will last a long time and perform as expected.

If buying a Tushy to save on toilet paper sounds odd, you can do things to spend less on TP.

  • Use less. Unfortunately, it’s not always an option. But, you might be surprised to find that you can get the job done with less paper.
  • Look for sales and stock up. If you have room, buying in bulk can help you save in the long run. Price matching and coupon apps like Flipp can help you get your hands on toilet paper for less.
  • Pay attention to the unit price. When an entire aisle in the supermarket is dedicated to toilet paper, it can be hard to make a choice. Look for the unit price (which could be expressed as cost per sheet or square foot) to find the best deal. If you’re really cheap and have free time on your hands, this calculator on Redflagdeals can help you do the math.
  • Choose quality over quantity. You may find that buying cheap paper leads you to use far more of it. Look for a balance of price and quality that gets you the most poops per dollar.
  • Go at work. Using public facilities and their provided paper can reduce the amount you need to use at home. Few things in life feel better than knowing you’re being paid to sit on the toilet.

The bottom line

Yes, using a Tushy Bidet will save you money – but not right away. The initial expense of the product and shipping is equal to a few years’ worths of toilet paper.

If you’re looking to save money in the short term, you’ll have to find another way to reduce your expenses. How you use and buy toilet paper can save you a lot of money without a major lifestyle change.

If you’re playing the long game and are willing to commit to a bidet for your next decade of bowel movements, the savings can be significant. A family of four can realistically expect to save $2,422 over the life of the appliance.

If a better bathroom experience is how you want to spend your money, it may be worth the investment. Finally, whether you choose a Tushy Bidet,  or fancy toilet paper, you alone decide what’s worth spending money on.

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