This is going to sound weird, but bear with me: I literally thank God every time I buy toilet paper.

My friend, Kathy, once said she hated buying toilet paper because it was literally like flushing money down the toilet. I totally get that.

When I was broke, which was every minute of my life before I landed this dream job, I used to fantasize about what it would be like to go to the grocery store and buy whatever toilet paper I wanted.

That’s because I used to stand in the aisle with my calculator, comparing unit prices and square inches, trying to figure out which toilet tissue had the best value. Then I’d try factoring in one ply, two ply and three ply, how much we would use on average and how that week’s sales and coupons affected everything.

After what seemed like forever, I’d settle on something and leave, feeling like I’d missed something and was making a terrible mistake.

Yeah, first-world problems, I know, but it made my heart race.

How nice it would be, I thought, to just grab what I really wanted – the Charmin Ultra – and move on.

Today, that’s exactly what I do. And I count my blessings every time.

It’s a relief for my husband, too, I think. Before, when we were shopping together, if he said, “I’ll go grab the toilet paper,” and tried to peel away, I would be seized with panic and go into full control-freak mode.

“Um ... Sure! Yeah! OK! Just make sure you’re getting the right kind,” I’d say.

“What’s the right kind?” he’d ask.

“I don’t know. Whatever’s cheapest,” I’d say.

He’d leave and come back in about two minutes, which told me that he definitely didn’t get the right one.

“This one was the cheapest,” he’d say, holding whatever.

“But was it the best value?” I’d ask, nervous.

“Um ... yes?”

I would try to send him back with more detailed instructions on how to find the “right” toilet paper, to which he would say, “Um, yeah. Actually, I think I’ll get the milk.”

I can remember as a kid helping my mom scrape pennies together so she could run down to the store and buy a single roll from Freshmart. I bet she did the same calculations.

My mother-in-law always seems to have Quilted Northern in stock. I wonder when she felt financially secure enough to start routinely buying the good stuff.

It’s nice to be able to appreciate the little things. If you’ve ever been stuck in a public stall without a square to spare, you know what I mean.

email: or call MoneySmart at 849-4612. Follow me at