Why You Should Separate Budgets for Grocery Lists & Household Items

When grocery shopping on a budget, it's important to separate your grocery budget from your household and personal care budget. It is killing our grocery budgets when we buy household and personal care products while we are grocery shopping.

We are at the beginning of a brand new month, and this is the perfect time to separate these two categories and make them their own. You might be thinking, I don't want to make separate trips. You don't have to; I'm going to show you how.

Let's backtrack a little bit. You go to the grocery store. You realize you need hairspray. You grab another package of toilet paper, and you pick up a couple more household items while you're grocery shopping.

You have your grocery envelope, get up to the cash register to pay, and feel like your grocery budget just got squeezed because those household and personal care products are just sucking your grocery budget money away from you. You wonder how to stay within your grocery budget when you're constantly going over.

1. Separate your budgets

You don't need to increase your grocery budget; just separate it. If you are not aware of the household and personal care products you need during the month, they will creep up on you and wipe out your grocery budget. I can tell you that when I was shopping like that versus how I do it now, my budget is in much better shape now.

2. Creating a household category budget

By separating the budget now, you can completely focus on your grocery budget for just groceries, and then you can have a household category budget. You decide how much goes in. Typically, for me, $50 is enough.

Taking note of what is in stock

At the end of each month, I take a notepad and walk around my house. 

I go through my linen closet. I check in my utility closet, under my husband's bathroom sink, where I keep some of our cleaning supplies. 

I also check in my drawers in the kitchen, where I keep aluminum foil, parchment paper, and things like that. I walk through the whole house, and after you've done this for a few months, you get good at knowing what you're running low on. 

3. Order your household items

I make a list of things that I need to get for the month. If I have enough items to last for the month, I might put some things on next month's list. I've written it down at the end of each month and placed an order. 

Shopping online

Typically I get on the Target app on my phone; I order everything I need and do a drive-up pickup. 

Target or Walmart pickup tends to be my favorite way to purchase my household items other than going to Dollar Tree. Another option is getting on Amazon and ordering what you need from there. I think you'll pay higher prices if you do that. 

You'll have to determine prices and which store is best for purchasing your household and personal care product items each month. Sometimes the price is better at Walmart; sometimes, it's better at Dollar Tree. 

Toiletries from Dollar Tree

I usually pick up my kids' shampoo, conditioners, and body wash at Dollar Tree. 

There is so much freedom when we go grocery shopping, knowing that we don't have to worry about purchasing anything other than food. I want to remind you that cash is unnecessary for your household budget category.

Some of you might cringe when I say that because you are cash envelope people, and so am I, but not necessarily with this category.

I would say 99% of the time; I am on my phone ordering a Target order to pick up because, to me, it is the easiest method. When I'm out running errands, I'll swing by, pick up my order, and it's done. 

Luxury skincare

Regarding skincare and makeup, I typically only purchase those twice a year, in May and November, so I will put aside money for that.

My household and personal care products budget typically go for things that are needed in the home. Everyone in the household knows the system.

My husband knows my system now, so at the end of each month, he'll tell me he needs more deodorant, or more bar soap, or whatever it is, and I include it in my Target order. 

Occasionally, I will run out of something in the middle of the month, and I'll need to use my grocery budget to purchase it, but most of the time, it's small things like paper plates or plastic spoons for school lunches. It's so inexpensive, and it does not bust my grocery budget. 

Why you should separate budgets for a grocery list & household items

I hope this inspires you to separate these two categories into their own budget. Having a grocery budget and a separate household budget are small changes that can significantly impact your financial success.

Your grocery budget greatly affects how much money you can save or use to pay off debt each month. How often do you go over your grocery budget? Comment below, and let me know if you separate your budgets. 

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3 of 8 comments
  • MISSMAC IN TX MISSMAC IN TX on Dec 09, 2023

    Paper towels are the biggest $$ waster around. I am thinking about abolishing them except for draining bacon and cleaning windows. Everyone wants to use them instead of hand towels after washing the hands, cleaning every little thing.

    we have plenty of handiwipes (multi use/washable) , sponges, old rags, old dish towels for cleaning. These are recyclable and easy to wash with a load of whites in hot water with bleach/detergent.

    • Maria Maria on Jan 10, 2024

      i fully understand, Paper towels are a total waste especially around people like my husband that uses them for everything and uses too many pieces....

  • Teresa Harrison Harrell Teresa Harrison Harrell on Jan 10, 2024

    I gave up paper towels for a while but then started using them again during COVID. I would use a cloth several times before washing, even just to dry hands. During COVID, I wanted to only use everything once. Paranoid behavior, I guess. I think I will start doing it again. I just kept a small basket of cloth towels on my counter top and another basket by the washer for dirty ones. It worked well and I hope I saved money. Not exactly sure how the extra hot water, detergent and clorox added to the bill as opposed to buying paper towels.