How Much am I Actually Spending on Household Goods and Toiletries?

Let’s look at the receipts.

Later today I’m going to do a big ol’ coupon sweep of my Safeway app, my Walgreens app, and my newly downloaded SmartSource app—plus the physical RedPlum flyer that I didn’t put straight into the recycling this time—to see how much money I could be saving on household goods and toiletries.

But first, we need to figure out how much money I’m currently spending.

As you might remember if you heard me discuss meal planning with Lillian Karabaic on the Oh My Dollar! podcast, I have a pretty good idea of how much I spend on food every month. A few months ago I made a spreadsheet of everything I usually eat, how much it usually costs, and how many servings it contains, and used that to estimate my monthly food budget at $156.49 (or, you know, $150).

Then I tried to make a similar spreadsheet for household goods/toiletries, but gave it up because I didn’t know how many “servings” a bottle of shampoo contained.

So let’s do some calculations.

Aside from one more package of toilet paper that I’ll buy either this afternoon or tomorrow, I’ve purchased all the food—and all the household goods/toiletries—that I should need for the remainder of June.

I also saved all my receipts.

Here’s what I learned:

On Friday, June 2, I went to Safeway and spent $44.82 on food and $11.27 on household/toiletries.

On Monday, June 5, I went to Safeway and spent $12.00 on food.

On Friday, June 9, I went to Bartell Drugs and spent $20.13 on household/toiletries.

On Saturday, June 10, I went to Safeway and spent $35.55 on food and $8.36 on household/toiletries.

On Monday, June 12, I went to Walgreens and spent $35.29 on household/toiletries.

On Tuesday, June 20, I went to Safeway and spent $12.35 on food.

That means that I’ve spent $104.72 on (non-restaurant) food this month—which makes sense, given that I spent nearly a week on travel—and $75.05 on household/toiletries. (Plus another $5 for the toilet paper.)

I’ve already gotten my food costs down considerably, both by meal planning and by doing things like “making soup from dried beans instead of canned beans.” (Still haven’t tried to make my own hummus, but I bet I will someday.)

I’m curious if I can cut my household/toiletries cost by a third—that is, get it down to around $50 a month—by couponing, buying in advance, and buying in bulk.

I’ll start figuring that out this afternoon, and you’ll find out tomorrow.