Household consumables budgeted amount?

How much do you budget/spend for household consumables (paper goods, toothpaste, aluminum foil, laundry detergent, etc) per month?

I'm recently married, and I noticed that when I first got married, we spent quite a bit on these items, as we needed to stock up on a lot. However, in the past few months, I've noticed a downward trend for our household goods spending and am wondering what others roughly budget/spend for household items?

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  • I don't know. We don't separate out consumables from groceries.

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      • Annieland
      • I was told there would be no math.
      • Annieland
      • 1 mth ago
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      nolesrule Do you answer product questions on Amazon too? 😜

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      • nolesrule
      • Been waiting 5 years for the Stealing From the Future fix...
      • nolesrule
      • 1 mth ago
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      Annieland nope. 😉

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  • I separate them out, except toothpaste goes into personal care items. I used to budget $200-300 a month, but in the past year I started separating out non consumables because I was spending a lot on things like new sheets, pillows, storage totes.. things that weren’t actually consumable or “needed” per se. So I’ve seen it go down to $100-200 a month. 
     

    Basically, I’ve found that it depends on where you’re shopping, how aggressive you are with looking for sales/coupons, and stock up opportunities. Now, going forward, if you eventually add kids to the mix... or a larger home... count on batteries, light bulbs, more detergents, etc.  But everyone does their categories their own way. It’s easy to adjust any category as necessary, just keep an eye on it and you’ll be fine. Congrats!

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  • Hi, Ivory Packet

    I'm a single. I budget $70/month.  I looked back over my budget history. My lowest spend year was $300 (super cheap year) and my highest came in at $1,100. This year looks like it might match my previous super cheap year.  Most years it's under $900/year and my spend average is $63/month over the last 6 years.

    My Household Sundries categories covers what I purchase to keep me, my clothes, and my home clean and functioning.  So, from A to Z, everything from AAA batteries to the occasional bottle of Zowee carpet stain remover. I also use this category for the cash I use in coin-operated laundry machines and for dry cleaning and tailoring services.

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  • I haven't been doing this long enough to have a number yet, but I've also noticed the ups and downs of spending on those items. At this point, I'm including such items in my groceries or pharmacy budget, largely depending on whether I get them from the supermarket or CVS. 

    Groceries I budget a set amount to (for us, it's $100 a week), which accounts for the household sundries that get categorized there.

    Pharmacy I *hadn't* been budgeting for, because I forgot about the non-FSA-covered items. I'm starting out with a small amount per month, because I don't need to spend on these items that often. I'll probably revisit that amount either at year end or when next I need it but the money isn't in the category. 

    I'm really interested to see how others handle this type of stuff.

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  • When I started with YNAB in 2016, it was me, my husband, a toddler, and a baby in a medium cost-of-living area. I budgeted $200-$250/month for groceries/cleaning supplies, but separated out "baby supplies": diapers, formula, etc., but not food. We were on a shoestring budget at the time, though, and I probably would have been better off if I had an extra $100/month to spare for food.

    Now kids are almost 7 and 5.5, and we got a cat. We have $600 in our "groceries" budget for the month. This covers all our food, all our regular cleaning supplies, cat food and litter, over-the-counter vitamins and medicine, and usually things like makeup remover and lotion for me (but not makeup). It's a little more than we need right now, and I may lower it soon.

    What doesn't count there: Household maintenance (tools, throw pillows, containers for organizing, décor, etc.), clothes, makeup, entertainment, etc. Which makes splitting Target bills super exciting. :) But I don't often buy groceries there.

    Plus, what matters is granularity where you need it, and simplicity where you don't. I have a category specifically for Starbucks. I allow myself to transfer no more than $35 each month to my Starbucks card, so it has its own category. But we decided we didn't need the granularity for what food is ours versus what food is the cat's, so we kept it lumped together.

    Fuzzball Meows , if we get something from a pharmacy specifically, we take it out of our medical category.

    Like 1
    • slightlysmall I have 5 medical categories :)

      Prescriptions, copays/coinsurance stuff, vision, dental, and then all the other stuff like bandaids and toothpaste, etc. 

      Like 1
      • Annieland
      • I was told there would be no math.
      • Annieland
      • 1 mth ago
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      Fuzzball Meows Yep, I'm at 8 now in that group, and it's truly necessary.  Finally got a decent workflow going!

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    • Fuzzball Meows You've got impressive granularity there! One of the best things about YNAB, really: how one can customize it for their needs.

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    • Annieland what am I missing?!?! I thought I caught all the medical categories...

      slightlysmall yes. I like the granularity. Vision and dental pay differently than medical, because my company carves them out. And hubby wants to know how much we pay in prescriptions. And copays/coinsurance are just different from pharmacy stuff.

       

      I forgot! I also have the max out of pocket in the savings pile. For when we use up the FSA.

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      • Annieland
      • I was told there would be no math.
      • Annieland
      • 1 mth ago
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      Fuzzball Meows Ok, you asked...

      The "Other" categories are seldom used, but stuff has come up in the last year that prompted me to make them so as not to blur with the more important ones.

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    • Annieland I'm guessing HSA is a category you give money to? I have an FSA, so while the money comes out of my paycheck, it's a set amount with a limit that goes poof at the end of the year. 

      Not sure about the other categories - I'm pretty sure any medical other that comes up will fit into one of the categories I have, but one never knows.  

      Thank you for sharing!

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      • Annieland
      • I was told there would be no math.
      • Annieland
      • 1 mth ago
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      Fuzzball Meows Yeah, HSA Funds is my one rogue category that is designed to match my HSA account balance.  I spent at least 6 months testing various ways to do it, but for me this worked best.  I had a few snafus the first few months after I settled on it but now I fully understand my own method :).  Kinda sad a solution I designed for myself had a learning curve haha.

      I know, my Others are weird, but as a personal example, last year I invested in a very expensive scar treatment following a major surgery I had (don't think it was worth it in the end).  Considered "cosmetic" it wasn't reimbursable in any way, but I didn't feel it should just come out of a "personal care" or beauty type category.  Then if I have other expenses not covered by insurance but covered by an HSA or LPFSA of some sort of random purpose (like medical supplies following surgery) I note it in that category.  Like I said, seldom use, but I siphon it from normal spending as it's usually a one-off.

      Right now I have a glaring Yellow which is driving me nuts, as I just paid out of pocket for my dumb kid's lost retainers, and I have no clue if insurance will cover any portion of it, so it's left hanging until I know what I can reimburse myself from the FSA.  I hope to not have to take it from the medical buffer because there isn't even enough in there for it right now!

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      • Annieland
      • I was told there would be no math.
      • Annieland
      • 1 mth ago
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       Oh, and I just met our annual deductible yesterday!  Didn't even make it half a year! I can never figure out if this is something to celebrate or not.... 🤣

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    • Annieland I'd stick the scar treatment under pharmacy (not Rx), personally, but I'm sure Other works too. I actually borrowed from you and ended up splitting out my general pharmacy into FSA reimbursed and non-FSA reimbursed when I failed to move money from the FSA category to cover some band-aids...

      Re: meeting the deductible, it can go either way. On the one hand, your costs should drop dramatically. At the same time, that usually means there were lots of medical expenses, which is usually not a great thing. I'm exceedingly lucky that my insurance does not have a deductible, but I know if it did, it would definitely be a thing to celebrate, given the costs of cancer treatments.

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      • Annieland
      • I was told there would be no math.
      • Annieland
      • 3 wk ago
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      Fuzzball Meows I feel for you, hon.  And I'm glad you are well-insured for this hurdle.  We just hired an out-of-network physician who has a $2,000 RETAINER fee.  Like, the day after I fulfilled that deductible.  Did not see that one coming.  First appointment (at $600 an hour) is tomorrow and I'm not even sure how they want to be paid so I better start moving some money around pronto.  This is gonna be a wild ride for me as far as submitting insurance reimbursements.

      And here I thought I'd finally have some money leftover in my HSA at the end of the year for a little investing.  Hasn't happened yet!  Cancer sucks, pandemics suck, and mental illness sucks. ❤️

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    • Annieland Are retainer fees covered by insurance? You have to pay for appointments in addition to the retainer fees? Ugh. I hope it ends up easy to figure out!

      I don't know what your options are for health insurance, but it may be worth not having a HDHP with HSA if you're not able to save money in the HSA.  I do know some people who spend out-of-pocket money that could be reimbursed from an HSA, but don't, so they can use the HSA for savings. They also are making a LOT more money than I am, so can afford the out of pocket costs without worrying.

      Definitely on board with you: cancer sucks, pandemics suck, mental illness sucks, and all that's on top of the US health care/health insurance system sucking! ❤️

      Like 1
  • slightlysmall said:
    Plus, what matters is granularity where you need it, and simplicity where you don't. I have a category specifically for Starbucks.

     That is SO true.  It still baffles me the people I know with just a "Costco" category, but hey, it works for them...  The other day I was bugging my friend: So if you impulse buy a new Vitamix while you're shopping for cheese you still dump it all together?  She admitted she *sometimes* will split it out, but usually not.  Hah, I could NEVER.   And yet, I dump every holiday together, every gift together, every vacation expense together.  So interesting and fun to see how everyone does it!

    ETA: I have a category for Coffee and one for Gum!

    Like 1
  • We put "Household" items as their own category under "Home" group - the incentive there is the less we spend, the more we have for big ticket items.

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    • Melissa
    • Routinely questioning every assumption I have about my budget, my spending, and my savings habits.
    • todays_mel
    • 1 mth ago
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    My Home & Garden Supplies category is around $40 - $50. Groceries around $150-200 depending on if I do a big "sale/stock-up" shop. Personal Care is another $50. These are all monthly averages.

    Single, no pets or kids, so not a lot of additional stuff that other households probably have to budget for.

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  • We have a family of 4-5 (one kid away at college most of the year). Ours is called Household & Cleaning and our budget is $75 per month. This includes household consumables: batteries, lightbulbs, detergents, paper products, baggies, parchment paper, office supplies etc.

    Our shampoo, toothpaste, razor blades, micellar water (teenagers!), etc. goes into Toiletries. The budget for this category is twice that of Household & Cleaning (again, teenagers!).

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  • Family of 4 in Midwestern US:

    Consumables (dish washing and laundry detergents, paper towels, toilet paper, etc): $70/mo

    Health and beauty (hygiene and toiletries, makeup, etc): $75/mo

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  • So I'm the only one with a $400 a month Personal Care category?  You must be young or not care about wrinkles!  

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    • Annieland I spend about $15 a month (sunscreen, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste). My 17 and 20 year olds spend $150+ per month - I guess they're afraid of wrinkles?? I don't get it...

      Like 1
  • This is the budget we need to figure out still. We have $2500/mo in "Groceries" that is anything you would buy from a grocery store or resembles food, $1200 in "Other", which is usually fixing broken things, vacations, pharmaceuticals, and cat toys.  Then $800 for "home improvements", which is upgrading things in or part of the house.  All in the category of "Everyday Expenses" and money moves between the 3 budgets on whims.  I just switched to Online YNAB this month though, so now hopefully I'll have time to break that mess down. 

    Like 1
      • Annieland
      • I was told there would be no math.
      • Annieland
      • 3 wk ago
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      Budget Conquistador Welcome to the nYNAB adventure :).  It sounds like those categories are blurring your decision making so I do hope you find time soon to make it a little more granular to your liking.  You don't have to do it all at once.  I've been on nYNAB since early 2016 and YNAB4 since 2009, and I'm still adding, splitting, and removing/hiding categories at least a few times a year.  

      Vacations probably aren't an "Everyday Expense."  If they are, I want your life.  You might want to start with some category groupings like "Food," "Household," "Personal," "Pet Care" and stuff like that.  Don't forget that fat Veterinary category.  That's an ugly one I avoided for way too long.  There's threads here and on reddit with other peoples' category suggestions.  

      Good luck in the transition, lots of us here to help!

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      • Budget Conquistador
      • Ready for the next big adventure
      • Khaki_Screwdiver.8
      • 3 wk ago
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      Annieland Thanks!

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      • Budget Conquistador
      • Ready for the next big adventure
      • Khaki_Screwdiver.8
      • 3 wk ago
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      Annieland I was thinking about renaming my categories, they've had those names for a long time, and I just remembered the reason I have them named that way, such as "Everyday Expenses", is because my old budget tool used to alphabetize my categories, so I had to come up with names that would put them in the order I wanted lol. 

      Like 1
  • Fuzzball Meows said:
    Are retainer fees covered by insurance?

     I have no flocking clue.  According to the contract, the first fees will come out of that money on account, so at least there's that.  I'll just have to wait for the first official invoice so I can submit to insurance and then wait God knows how long for them to decide how much to cover of the "customary charge" (bahahahhahaahah).  I just transferred the $2k via Zelle from my savings account, and haven't even put it in YNAB yet because my medical group balances look a LOT different than they did 3 days ago when I was showing off and doing my stupid happy dance.

    I opened a discussion thread here not too long ago to get different perspectives on what to do with HSA funds.  We do run the gamut here.  I choose to spend.  I've just never spent it to actually ZERO.  I'll figure it out, but I think I'm gonna have to take a little from this month's paychecks because this ended up being an ugly spending month :(.

    (Sorry for all the O/T!)

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