Elissa Sanci: The poor pay more for toilet paper — and other things

toilet paperThe poor pay more for toilet paper.

That’s a weird sentence, isn’t it? There are a number of things you may be thinking right now, including:

  • Why do they pay more?
  • Why wouldn’t they spend the same amount as wealthier people?
  • Aren’t there cheaper brands of toilet paper?
  • And, most importantly, who took the time to research what socioeconomic class of people spend more cash on toilet paper?

To reach this conclusion, University of Michigan professor Yesim Orhun and Ph.D. student Mike Palazzolo tracked purchases of toilet paper for the past seven years. They found that people who made less money weren’t able to buy in bulk or stock up during sales, which translated to eventually losing money.

frugalityIt sounds silly to care about something as small as toilet paper, but it speaks volumes. If the poor aren’t able to invest in something as common and relatively inexpensive as toilet paper, then how can they ever invest in something more important, like vehicles, homes or education?

They can’t. Because they don’t have a large sum of money to pay for more expensive items that will last far longer, people from less affluence are more likely to buy cheaper items that have significantly shorter life-spans. The inability to spend money to save money is what keeps the poor, well, poor. And that’s the sad truth.



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