In 2015, we’re putting extra emphasis on budgeting since it’s a must for financial success. Each month, we tackle a different category, and by year’s end, we’ll have one big resource for maximizing your entire budget.
Our Home & Personal category has an array of uses in our budget. It covers any of our non-food necessities (e.g., paper towels and toilet paper), home goods (e.g., pillows!!), and personal care items (e.g., deodorant and contact solution). In our budget, it’s actually a mere subcategory nestled under our “Everything Else” category. We keep it there because our Home & Personal spending fluctuates from month to month. Like any other area of our budget over the years, we’ve found ways to cut our spending in this category, so we wanted to share our tips and tricks today.
Buy in Bulk
When it comes to home and personal care necessities that we use year round, our number one way to save is by buying in bulk. Not only does it save on the cost per item, but Johnny and I both get a certain peace/satisfaction knowing that when we unexpectedly run out of deodorant, there’s another brand spankin’ new one just a cabinet away. And it’s a nice prevention tool from either of us having to borrow the other person’s deodorant and smelling like a different gender all day long. Which, has never happened, of course.
Our go-to destinations for our bulk purchases are Costco and Amazon. Amazon has quite a few basic necessities that come in packs of two, three, six, etc., and the prices are usually great. The only downside to our obsession with buying in bulk is that I have an entire closet in our apartment (very precious space in Manhattan!) devoted to all of our extra paper towels, toilet paper, soap, toothpaste, deodorant, fabric softener sheets, Clorox wipes, and what have you. But to us, extra space and all, it’s totally worth it.
Subscribe & Save
If you haven’t heard of this feature, it’s a nifty little option that comes with Amazon Prime. With items that you know you use up at very regular intervals, you can create a subscription and have the items automatically shipped as often as you need them (e.g., every month, two months, six months, etc.). And on top of being really convenient, it also saves extra money, anywhere from 5% to 20%. It’s a win-win. The only word of caution is to check your subscriptions every month or two to make sure you are still good with the subscribing schedule for each item. Otherwise, you may end up with six unopened tubs of Clorox wipes… not that that’s ever happened, either.
Create a To-Buy List
Johnny and I used Wunderlist to keep all of our different to-do lists in check, and one of our lists is a “To Buy” list. On it, we list items for our home that we want or need but that aren’t absolutely essential at the moment. And then we buy the items as our budget allows it. When our “Everything Else” category has a lot of money leftover at the end of a month, we pick one of our “To Buy” items for our home — like maybe a new toaster because our two-year-old roommate broke ours (We didn’t even know toasters could break!)… just a hypothetical, of course. This list also gives us time to space out purchases, avoid impulse buys, and wait for items to go on sale before we buy them. And it gives me peace of mind knowing it’s typed out somewhere that we NEED a new throw for the living room couch. Highly important.
This tip only applies specifically to home furnishings, but it has saved us boatloads over the years. Johnny and I have enlisted Craigslist, secondhand furniture shops, and thrift stores for many items in our home (which you can see here). We like our home to reflect our personal tastes, but we currently have a very small budget for decorating. Buying secondhand has helped us in furnishing cheaply, while still giving our home a bit of our own personal style. And there’s something that makes both of us so proud, knowing we’ve found a steal on items bought for our home.
And now for the best part… What are some ways you save on your home and personal goods? We love getting new ideas from you smart folks.