Author Topic: Has printer paper suddenly become very expensive in the US?  (Read 1022 times)

ctuser1

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I am on my last ream of the 2 big cases I had purchased some years ago. I spent some time looking around everywhere, and the best I could score is $60.59 for 3 cases of 8 reams each of 20lb, 96 brightness paper, delivered.

This works out to 0.5cents a sheet for legal sized printer paper. I am not in much of a mood for spending any more time on this - so I ordered it for Wednesday delivery. This feels, however, like a very expensive price to pay for printer paper.

I remember being able to routinely score better quality (24lb, 96-98 brightness) paper for < $1 a ream = <0.2cents a sheet till a few years ago. In fact, I have never before paid more than $10 for a case of 8 or 10 reams of paper. Staples easy rebates used to be big for scoring cheap paper back in the day. They no longer seem to do that.

Has printer paper truly become very expensive? Or am I missing some trick here that the resourceful and kind Mustachians can point me towards? At the rate the kids have started running through printer paper of late - I expect to run through 10-15 reams a year, or so. So this will be a recurrent expense - and I hate spending more money than absolutely required for recurrent expenses.

PMG

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Re: Has printer paper suddenly become very expensive in the US?
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2020, 12:50:19 PM »
Legal is usually more expensive than letter. Though I havenít been watching prices.

ctuser1

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Re: Has printer paper suddenly become very expensive in the US?
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2020, 12:54:58 PM »
Legal is usually more expensive than letter. Though I havenít been watching prices.

Sorry. That was a typo.

I got letter sized paper. 3 cases of this one to be exact:
https://www.staples.com/tru-red-8-5-x-11-color-printer-paper-20-lbs-96-brightness-500-ream-8-reams-carton-tr56964/product_24401981

Sibley

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Re: Has printer paper suddenly become very expensive in the US?
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2020, 01:00:00 PM »
Well, Staples when I just clicked on the link says that the 8 ream is $23.99. They also have 10 ream boxes, and a few other options. Did you compare unit costs? Too lazy to do the math :)

However, my guess is that's not too crazy. Staples is big yes, but not big enough to have a monopoly.

ctuser1

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Re: Has printer paper suddenly become very expensive in the US?
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2020, 01:16:13 PM »
Well, Staples when I just clicked on the link says that the 8 ream is $23.99. They also have 10 ream boxes, and a few other options. Did you compare unit costs? Too lazy to do the math :)

However, my guess is that's not too crazy. Staples is big yes, but not big enough to have a monopoly.

I did spreadsheet it out. I paid $2.21 per ream of 500 before taxes for the 8-ream cases after applying a coupon (15 off 60). All other options are more expensive.

$2.21/ream is not very expensive, per se. What really struck me is that I searched around in the usual suspect deal forums for active and expired deals - to understand what kind of good deals typically post. It seems that for the past year or so, this is about as cheap as printer paper ever gets.

A few years ago, I would routinely score FAR (Free After Rebate) papers from one of the office supply stores. This continued for some time even after OfficeMax folded.

Ah, how I miss the time before the great recession! I had all three office supply stores (Staples/OM/OD) within 2 miles of where I live and they would compete with each other to give me free paper and all other kinds of stuff!!

Rosy

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Re: Has printer paper suddenly become very expensive in the US?
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2020, 03:21:21 PM »
Tips
1. Seems the best prices are right before/after school starts, incl BOGO.
2. Buy during the school tax holidays - zero state tax:).
3. Staples often has promos - $5 or $10 bucks off their GCs.
4. I use my Swagbucks button when I order online it gives me an extra 4% cash back in swag bucks at Staples. (Cash or GC once you hit $25).
5. Top it off by using a credit card with 5% rewards - on top of all that. Chase gives you 5% on office supplies in their rotating categories.
6. Check for rebates or other discounts ...

I used to be a mystery shopper - one of the independent office supply stores in town always had good deals on quality paper, so I could get a true premium quality box for around 17.99 to 19.99 - which meant free for me - since the MS co would reimburse $20 of any purchases I made.
I easily accumulated a seven-year supply+ that way.

You got a really good deal - kudos for ferreting it out. 15 off 60 is excellent - if you were able to use even just a 3% rewards card on top of that and something like Swagbucks or similar another 4% - then you'd have saved an extra 8%...

ctuser1

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Re: Has printer paper suddenly become very expensive in the US?
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2020, 06:19:52 PM »
Tips
1. Seems the best prices are right before/after school starts, incl BOGO.
2. Buy during the school tax holidays - zero state tax:).
3. Staples often has promos - $5 or $10 bucks off their GCs.
4. I use my Swagbucks button when I order online it gives me an extra 4% cash back in swag bucks at Staples. (Cash or GC once you hit $25).
5. Top it off by using a credit card with 5% rewards - on top of all that. Chase gives you 5% on office supplies in their rotating categories.
6. Check for rebates or other discounts ...

I used to be a mystery shopper - one of the independent office supply stores in town always had good deals on quality paper, so I could get a true premium quality box for around 17.99 to 19.99 - which meant free for me - since the MS co would reimburse $20 of any purchases I made.
I easily accumulated a seven-year supply+ that way.

You got a really good deal - kudos for ferreting it out. 15 off 60 is excellent - if you were able to use even just a 3% rewards card on top of that and something like Swagbucks or similar another 4% - then you'd have saved an extra 8%...

Thank you.

I will try to time my purchases next time with the August/Sept back to school timeframe, AND use the cashback sites.

I had purchased so much paper and other office supplies back in the day when FAR deals were abundant, then engaged in further gluttony during store closeouts back then, that I have been out of this deal-hunting game for some time now. So I wasn't sure if the market has indeed changed from when I last remember - or if I'm missing something. Thanks a lot of validating that I'm still on the right track.

reeshau

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Re: Has printer paper suddenly become very expensive in the US?
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2020, 02:38:29 AM »
Isn't it obvious?  It's all going to toilet paper now.

deborah

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Re: Has printer paper suddenly become very expensive in the US?
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2020, 03:20:11 AM »
Actually, a friend of mine runs a cartridge refill place. They are the busiest they have ever been. Everyone is now working from home. That means everyone is suddenly using their home printers. This implies a paper shortage to me.

Michael in ABQ

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Re: Has printer paper suddenly become very expensive in the US?
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2020, 09:19:40 AM »
Actually, a friend of mine runs a cartridge refill place. They are the busiest they have ever been. Everyone is now working from home. That means everyone is suddenly using their home printers. This implies a paper shortage to me.

Yes, the same thing is happening with toilet paper. A certain amount is made for commercial use in large rolls. That need is reduced and there's no additional capacity for residential sized rolls where the demand is normally steady. Plants aren't going to completely retool for what is going to be a minor blip in the long-term. 

Printer paper distributed to businesses directly isn't necessarily being redirected to retail supply chains. So Staples sales of paper have doubled, while the paper company you've never heard of who supplies dozens of businesses around town is shut down. Their supplier doesn't have a relationship with Staples so they can't get their supply to market now.