Now, we’re taking a hard look at the junk drawer of our personal finances: “Home Supplies.”
Everything that doesn’t fit in another category in Mint gets lumped into “Home Supplies.” Taking a look at some of the items we purchased in 2016 that landed in this category, a patternless mess of the random stuff emerges.
- shaving supplies
- fence paint
This isn’t everything, but you get the idea. I care so little about this area of our budget that I didn’t even bother to put the aforementioned list in alphabetical order.
Last year, we spent $5,717 on “Home Supplies.” OK. I care a little more because that’s a lot of money.
We had the big house for part of 2016, so this amount includes a few repairs we made in preparation for closing.
But I can’t blame the big house for everything. In December 2016 alone, we spent $200 on “Home Supplies.” I see a lot of entries for the elusive “Amazon.”
Rather than continue this pattern of behavior, we decided to change things up this year.
Last year, we used Amazon’s shopping cart as our shopping list and that was a HUGE mistake. Once we hit the $49 mark to ship for free, we placed our orders.
Instead, we put a shopping list on our fridge. Just a simple sticky note in which we list all of the things we think we “need” to buy. Before we place an order or head to the store, we wait a few days and see if we can either A) find what we need in our own cupboards or B) live without it.
Thus far in January, we’ve taken $20 out of the bank for quarters for the laundromat. We wash our laundry at home using The Manatee, hang dry our clothes, and then dry our towels and blankets at the laundromat. Great so far, but we have 11 months to go.
In our 2017 budget, we set a goal for ourselves to keep our spending on “home supplies” to $2,450. Cutting our spending by 57% will be HUGE for us as this area of our budget has gone on unchecked for way too many years.
Like our grocery spending, I am unwilling to give in some areas.
We use Dr. Bronner’s Organic Tea Tree soap and it’s expensive, but it’s effective and earth friendly. I will not, I just cannot go back to toxic soaps sold at big-box retailers. Between the antibacterial agents and the fragrances, we won’t use these soaps. Dr. Bronner’s goes just about everywhere with us so that we can avoid these toxic soaps–that’s how serious we are about soap. Thus, we know we’ll spend $39.99 on a half gallon refill about every six weeks.
Dr. Bronner’s <3 and obligatory seashell decor
We buy one roll of paper towels each month. We weren’t buying paper towels, but now that we eat bacon with breakfast, it’s super greasy and a paper towel works well. If someone has an anti-grease solution for bacon that doesn’t involve paper towels, I’m all ears. (I’m also looking for a replacement protein like watermelon seeds, but I’ll save subject for another day.)
We’re avoiding any kind of upgrades on our home. Sure, we could replace the mini blinds that the cats have wrecked, but they’re (mostly) intact. Our white walls are boring, but paint is expensive and house painting is in my top five of “worst activities humans have ever invented.”
Our home supplies category includes some personal care items, which don’t actually belong. I think we can do a better job with categorization so that we can differentiate mindless spending on random stuff from Amazon from spending on that which is truly necessary.
I’m sure there are other opportunities to be mindful of and cut spending on “home supplies,” but it’s going to take the rest of the year to fully understand this category.