I hate going shopping for household items like toiletries, paper goods, health and beauty items. The reason I despise it so much is that I know it will suck up a lot of my monthly grocery budget. Even though I don't go through it very fast, it still is a downer to know that I need to buy them.
Because of this, I was thinking about ways I could cut back on my non-food budget and found a few ideas that may work for me, some I will have to try out and others I are not for me, though they may be right up your alley.
Hair Products - As you may remember I started using my own home-made shampoo and rinse and after a month I have some results. It works well with some tweaking. My hair is naturally pretty oily so I have stopped using the vinegar rinse and use only the baking soda mix - I have changed the shampoo a bit from 1:3 part baking soda to 1½.
Toilet Paper - The absolute best way to cut down would be to use cloths and have a diaper pail handy to put it in, then toss in the washing machine. However, this is not my thing. I have a mental block on this one. Instead I smoosh down the t.p so it doesn't spin off the roll as easily. I have also found that bulk buying of t.p is usually the best price per roll. Occasionally coupons and sales will make the grocery store a better deal.
Toothbrush and Toothpaste - I used to go all out with sample toothpaste, but the stuff stacking up and falling over under my sink drove me away from them. Now I find BOGO (buy one get one) coupons/sales that knock the price of the toothpaste down 50-75%
I haven't bought a toothbrush in a couple years. My dentist is nice to give me a couple each time I visit.
Deodorants - I haven't picked up on the deodorant stone and have instead found economic satisfaction with coupons for BOGO items and sales, same as the toothpaste.
Feminine Products - A couple ways to cut back is to use either use the Diva cup or Gladrags as an alternative to buying and tossing. This allows you to use, wash and reuse as needed with minimal affect on the budget.
Paper Towels - I do have a few rolls of paper towels, but one roll easily lasts a month or two in my home. Instead I use cloth towels, rags and washcloths for cleanup and drying. It doesn't add much to the washer load, I just need space to store them and have them for easy access.
Soaps - For hand soap I use bottles of body soap or 'designer' soaps, and I drop them into a liquid soap dispenser for my hands. I seem to accumulate these around the holidays so I haven't bought much soap.
For dish soap I do purchase soap from the store with coupons or in the bulk section. I am going to be trying to make my own dish soap in the future and will let you know.
As far as washing soap goes, it was tried and disliked by my partner who does most all the clothes washing. At least it was given a try - instead I get coupons where I can. But making your own washing machine soap would impact your grocery budget very quickly as you can mix up gallons of the stuff for less then what you would pay in the store.
Plastic Bags - I don't wash out plastic sandwich baggies as I don't use them, I always use plastic containers that I can reuse. The plastic baggies that are used are tossed because they are used for meat and poultry products and I would rather toss than reuse them. Since these are so rarely used I purchase a box 2-3 times a year for my needs.
Coffee filters - I don't drink coffee a lot, I make a 10 cup container to last for a couple of days and I don't drink it on the weekends. However, I do have on my list to buy a reusable coffee filter for my coffee maker.
OTC Medicines - I am a store brand groupie all the way when it comes to OTC (over-the-counter) medicines. If you put the store and name brand items side by side, the ingredients look the same and the price difference is a few dollars for each item. Rarely have I found a store brand that is more expensive than a name brand with a coupon even.
Cleaning products - I'm using up my current cleaning products and will be going with some home-made stuff in the future. But really baking soda, salt, vinegar and ammonia are some of the cheapest cleaning products out there and they do just as good a job as others.
The ways I save on household items: