One area of our budget that encompasses so many things is household goods. It is pretty much everything but food. I only include food in my grocery numbers. So things like soaps, shampoos, detergent, cleaning products, etc. fall under this category. I suppose it could include makeup and shave cream but I include those under personal care. Things like bug spray, mulch, etc. go under household maintenance.
Most of the things in the household goods area are taxable in my state which adds to the cost. Since I like to keep my taxes as low as possible, I really put some thought into this area. Every time I am thinking of buying something, I ask myself is there a substitute that won't be taxed.
A good example is cleaning products. Many cleaning products can be replaced with white vinegar and/or baking soda. I use baking soda to clean my stainless steel sink, to get rid of odors, as a produce wash, to unclog drains, to wash my hairbrushes and combs, etc.
I use vinegar in my rug shampooer to clean my carpeting. I always use it as a rinse aid in my dishwasher instead of buying jet dry. I use it mixed with water to clean the inside of my refrigerator and freezers.
These two products replace a lot of toxic cleaning products, are nontaxable and are a whole lot cheaper than buying all of those other cleaning products. I buy my vinegar and baking soda at my warehouse club in bulk. They have the cheapest price. If you don't belong to a warehouse club, many grocery stores also carry these items in bulk.
I also ask myself, can I go without the item? Household goods like paper towels and paper napkins can be replaced by microfiber cloths and cloth napkins.
Toilet paper is an item that falls into household goods and is probably one of the larger expenses in most households. It is also a paper item that I will not go without. I had a 5 year supply purchased at rock bottom prices at one point but I don't have much left. So I am on the hunt for the best prices again to rebuild my stockpile. I buy toilet paper by the square foot. It is the best way for me to figure out what is the cheapest price. For example, this week Walgreen's has the 12 count Scott Extra Soft Double Roll Toilet Paper for $ 4.99. I have a $1.off coupon making it $ 3.99. This package is 333.6 sq. ft. So when I divide $ 3.99 by of 333.6 sq. ft it comes to
$.01 a sq. ft. Even without the coupon, it would be only $.02 a sq. ft. My buy price is always $ .02 or under a sq. ft. So at $.01 a sq. ft., this is a rock bottom price and I will be buying. This works no matter what toilet paper you use even the thin Scott for those who have septic tanks.
Shampoos, dish soaps, hand soaps, etc. get watered down in this household. Most of these products are so thick that you can easily dilute them and still have them very effective. I buy my dish soaps in bulk when they are on sale, use huge Dawn refills from the warehouse club and do the same with liquid hand soap. The pictured bottle of hand soap lasts us well over a year and I am a constant hand washer. I dilute it in foaming soap containers that I just keep refilling. I bought three bottles almost 3 years ago for under $10.00 each. Just think about how much you could save doing this over buying those little $1.00 to $2.00 containers. The same goes for making laundry detergent. It is much more cost effective than buying it. I was always leery of using the homemade in my expensive HE washer. However once the machine started aging, I thought why not give it a try. It cleans our clothes beautifully and has not harmed our washer. Here is the recipe I use: Laundry Soap . She uses Oil of Olay soap. I use Ivory, castile soap, or any other soap that is in my stockpile that I think will work. It lasts us a long, long time.
These things make up the bulk of our household goods items. I do my best to keep these items purchased as cheaply as possible. Because I buy these in bulk, I don't have to purchase them but once or twice a year. So every time I do buy, I recheck the prices to make sure that I am getting the best deal.
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