Learn how to make a toiletries budget & what expenses to consider when budgeting your monthly toiletries list. Tips for making your own toiletries as well, like homemade toothpaste or homemade makeup remover.
It’s no surprise that as a frugal food blog, the most common question I get is “How much should I spend on food?” (Which I answered in this post.)
Another common question is “How much should my toiletries budget be?” or “how much should the average household spend on toiletries?”
Considering a lot of people buy their toiletries from the grocery store, it’s only fair to wonder how to budget for them. I came up with a step by step plan to help you create a helpful toiletries budget.
Does the grocery budget include toiletries?
Simply put, I wouldn’t recommend it. Toiletries are not purchased as frequently as food. If you want to save money, it is important to be detailed in your spending. It is easier to be detailed if this budget category is kept separately from the food budget.
Many years ago, I bought everything from Walmart. We grouped all of our “Walmart” purchases together into one lump sum and called it our grocery budget.
I don’t recommend doing this. Here’s why:
- If you want to save money on toilet paper, toothbrushes and shampoo (aka toiletries), you have to know how much you’re currently spending. That won’t happen if you’re lumping it all together with other purchases.
- It’s random. If you run out of any number of items in a given month, you could easily blow your budget. Living within a budget (and saving money) requires planning, and there’s no rhyme or reason to this method.
- It was a monthly thing. Unlike food, most toiletries DON’T need to be replaced every month, and they have longer shelf lives (if they “expire” at all). Budgeting monthly meant either not having enough, or having too little. Neither of which is a good thing.
Why you should make a toiletries budget
I’ve learned that guessing when it comes to making a budget won’t work. You can’t come up with a random number for your expenses. It must be done strategically!
Whether you’re trying to save money or you’re just trying to make your expenses consistent, creating a budget is important because:
- It helps you save money.
- Your expenses become consistent.
As a result of budgeting for the toiletries spending category, you may even find that some of your toiletries swaps are better for your health, and for the environment.
How to Make a Toiletries Budget
- Calculate exactly what you’re spending. When shopping, make sure you’re checking out with JUST toiletries in the cart or on the belt.
- Make a monthly toiletries list of what you’re buying. List every personal and/or toiletry item you’ve purchased for the past 3 months or so, give or take.
- Start Reducing Your Expenses. Look at each individual item on your list and ask yourself: How can I eliminate this expense? If I can’t, can I make it myself? Can I substitute with something else?” Repeat this same method for all the toiletries on your list. Every month, every other month or once a quarter (it all depends on your budget).
Household Toiletries List to Budget
To name a few:
- Dish and hand soap
- Dishwasher tabs
- Laundry detergent
- Toilet paper and Paper towels
- Cleaning supplies
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Body Wash
- Toothbrushes and paste
- Razors, Q-tips, Cotton Balls, Floss
And so on, and so on.
How to Breakdown a toiletries budget
Over the years, we’ve whittled our toiletry budget down significantly. Here is my current list of basic toiletries for my family of 4.
- Toilet Paper. Every 6-8 weeks from ALDI for $5.49
- Shampoo/Hand Soap/Body Wash/Deodorant/Lotion. Once a year I place a big order from Bend Soap Company for $85 (orders over $50 ship free, and orders over $100 save 15% – click HERE to shop Bend Soap Company)
- Bathroom Cleaning Supplies. Once a quarter from Young Living. You can read why and how we afford essential oils (and Thieves cleaning supplies) on a budget HERE.
- Razors/Q-tips/Cotton Balls/Floss
- Toothbrushes. I invested in these Sonicare toothbrushes and we won’t need to replace them for several years.
Make these DIYs to Reduce your Toiletries Budget
Here are the products I make at home to save money on toiletries.
- Exfoliating Body Wash
- DIY Foaming Hand Soap
- Hand Sanitizer
- Homemade Shaving Cream
- Homemade Sunscreen
- Whipped Magnesium Lotion
- Homemade Make-up Remover
- Detox Mask with Charcoal and Clay
- Lip Balm
- Tinted Moisturizer
- Homemade Powdered Foundation
What is the average cost of toiletries, monthly?
For my family of four, it runs about $177.69 a year, or $14.81/month.
Our average monthly and yearly totals used to be significantly higher several years ago, but by slowly switching out one item at a time, we have a budget for toiletries that works, and that’s predictable!
The above steps for getting a handle on your toiletries budget is similar to what I teach in Grocery Budget Bootcamp. Knowing what you spend and how to change your spending habits can make a big difference in your budget! Learn the details and much more in this online course.