Friday, December 9, 2016

Reviewing and Budgeting for 2017: Household Goods

I am sitting here watching the snow come down. It just started a few minutes ago. We have only had about 1/2 inch this season but I think our luck is running out. 

As you know we have been reviewing our expenditures for the past year and this year- now 11 months worth. We had to take a break with Hubby not home all day but we are trying to catch up. Hopefully this trial will end soon. I miss not having Hubby here all day.

Reviewing our household goods for the past year, we spent $3648.40 or $ 304.05 per month. If we just look at this year's figures through November, the cost was $ 3590.48 or $299.21 per month. 

To refresh your memory, household goods is anything that is non food that comes into this house. So it includes cleaning products, all soaps- laundry, dish, body wash, dishwasher, bar soap, tissues, toilet paper, napkins, paper towels, plastic bags, food saver rolls, etc. Any products that are purchased for a project that Hubby will do are included. Insecticides, bug spray, ant traps, are all put in this budget. It also includes anything we buy for the house like dishes, small appliances, computers, laptops and this year it included Hubby's scooter which cost $1300.00. Just about everything that we don't eat goes into this category unless it has it's own category like personal care.

If you back out the $1300.00(which is a one time expense) for Hubby's scooter, we spent $2348.40 on everything else or $ 195.70 a month which is more reasonable. 

That said, for 2017, we would like to greatly reduce this monthly expense. We would love to get it under $100.00 per month or less. We want to cut back on the purchasing of goods like stuff for the kitchen and the rest of the house. We are well furnished and have plenty of items to work with. We are looking for a TV but that will be this month hopefully unless we change our minds which we do sometimes. Then we could use the budgeted money for just cleaning, bug spray, paper products, and other things.

I also plan on cutting back on those products too. I WILL be making my own laundry detergent for the HE's in 2017. I will also get back to making my own dishwasher detergent that I used to love. I will be making all of my own cleaning products with the exceptions of soap, body wash and dish liquid. I already use vinegar instead of Jet Dry in my dishwasher. I also use lemonade mix packets to clean the inside of the dishwasher instead of spending a fortune on a bottle of cleaner for that purpose. I use as little as possible of every product to do the job.

We use handkerchiefs most of the time unless we have a really bad cold. We use about 2 rolls of paper towels a year so I won't be purchasing any in 2017 since I have plenty. We use cloth napkins most of the time. Everything that I can buy with coupons or in bulk at B.J.'s I will.

I use as few plastic bags as is possible. I make my own food saver bags from rolls that I buy cheaply on Amazon or at Walmart. If I don't have meat in them, I wash and reuse them. I do the same with any plastic bag. I reuse Ziplocs the same as my food saver bags. 

Trash bags are treated like gold around here. I try to only use one to two a week. We use our garbage disposal when scraping plates. We try not to waste any food so that it doesn't have to go in the garbage disposal. We reuse plastic bags from the grocery store for wastebaskets in every room of the house except the kitchen. We recycle everything that our garbage service will take. I am pretty strict with this. If Hubby throws an envelope or piece of used paper into the wastebasket in the office, I retrieve it and recycle it. We have gotten to the point where we pretty much have to jump in the recyclable barrel to compact it so that we can get everything in. However, our town just signed a new contract with Waste Management for next year. They are renting( of course we pay this in our property tax bill)  huge rolling recyclable barrels that are 64 gallon or 96 gallon starting January 1. They delivered each of us the new barrels this week. However they will only be picking up the recyclables every other week instead of weekly. That will take some getting used to. But the barrel we got should be more than plenty for two weeks worth and easily handle those shipping boxes that come from Amazon and elsewhere.

Produce bags and any other plastic bag like from large bulk packages of toilet paper are reused for trash also.

So our plan is in place to spend as little as possible on these things and I will show you what and how I do it as the year goes on.

Do you have any ways to save on these non- food products that you would share with us? Please leave a comment so that we can learn from you.


  1. Your post inspired me to comb through my own spending in our "house" category & figure out what it was actually spent on. Some fascinating learnings! Basically, this is a catch all budget category for us, but I too think I can do much better - better watching of sales & discounts, etc. We really don't buy much for the house, so I think we'll be able to reduce this budget line item for 2017.

    1. Hi Hawaii Planner,

      You just inspired me to keep posting. I am glad that I inspired you.Good luck with that category.

  2. I've been improving my grocery shopping awareness and you and Hawaii Plan have me thinking household is my next area to tackle and track. I use some of your strategies but so much more to do. I hate waste of any kind.

    1. Hi SAM,

      I hate waste too! I will be right here trying to motivate you.

  3. Just found your blog this pass year and really enjoy it. We have been doing budgets but you have given me so many ideas. I want to detail more where our money is going. We are both retired and love to save. I tell people I save til my penny screams. Have a good week.

    1. Welcome Anonymous!

      Thanks for the kind words. I am glad that I can help.

  4. Oh do you have much snow? We only have the cold temps in VA and a few flakes.
    Thanks for the ideas, I should be able to do better on household expenses. My brain seems to be mush lately, and the money keeps rolling out. :(
    Would you mind sharing your HE laundry detergent and dishwasher detergent recipe in a future post?

    1. Hi Kathy,

      We only ended up with 2 inches but there is more coming. I plan on sharing both detergent recipes when I make them.