Skip to content
SuperMoney logo
SuperMoney logo

Consumables: Definition and Tips for Management

Last updated 03/20/2024 by

Daniel Dikio

Edited by

Fact checked by

Summary:
Consumables are the everyday products that keep our households running smoothly. They encompass a wide range of items, from food and cleaning supplies to personal care products. While they may not have the longevity of durable goods like electronics or furniture, they have a considerable impact on our finances over time.

What are consumables?

Consumables are the everyday products that keep our households running smoothly. They encompass a wide range of items, from food and cleaning supplies to personal care products. While they may not have the longevity of durable goods like electronics or furniture, they have a considerable impact on our finances over time. In this article, we’ll explore the strategies and tips to help you make informed choices about consumables, allowing you to save money without sacrificing quality.
To put it simply, consumables are products that you use up over time. They have a finite lifespan and need to be replaced regularly. Common examples include:
  • Groceries: Fresh produce, canned goods, dairy products, and more.
  • Toiletries: Shampoo, soap, toothpaste, and toilet paper.
  • Householdsupplies: Cleaning products, laundry detergent, and trash bags.

Differentiating consumables from durables

It’s crucial to distinguish between consumables and durable goods. The primary difference lies in their lifespan:
  • Consumables: These are used up relatively quickly and need regular replacement.
  • Durables: These items have a longer lifespan and aren’t replaced as frequently.

The impact on your budget

Consumables may seem insignificant individually, but their cumulative cost can be substantial. If you’re not mindful of your consumable expenses, they can eat into your budget, leaving you with less money to save or invest. Effective consumables management can free up funds for other financial goals.

Tips for efficiently managing consumables

Smart shopping

Create a shopping list and stick to it

One of the simplest yet most effective ways to manage your consumables is to create a shopping list before hitting the store. This list should include all the items you need and nothing more. Stick to it religiously to avoid impulse purchases.

Use coupons and cashback offers

Take advantage of coupons and cashback offers to reduce your consumables costs. Many stores offer digital coupons, and cashback apps make it easy to save on everyday items.

Consider buying in bulk for non-perishable items

For items with a longer shelf life, like canned goods or toiletries, buying in bulk can be cost-effective. Be sure to check expiration dates and storage requirements.

Reducing waste

Practice FIFO (first in, first out)

FIFO is a simple rule to follow for perishable items, particularly in your pantry and fridge. When you shop, place newer items behind older ones, so you use the older items first. This minimizes food waste.

Store consumables properly

Proper storage can extend the shelf life of many consumables. For example, store dry goods like rice and pasta in airtight containers to prevent pests and moisture from spoiling them prematurely.

Reduce single-use plastics

In an effort to reduce waste, consider opting for eco-friendly consumables with minimal packaging. Reusable items like cloth shopping bags and stainless steel straws can also make a positive impact.

Tracking and budgeting

Keep a consumption log

A consumption log can help you understand your spending habits. Keep track of what you buy and how often you replace items. This insight can highlight areas where you can cut back.

Set a consumables budget

Allocate a specific portion of your monthly budget to consumables. Having a dedicated budget ensures that you don’t overspend in this category.

Use budgeting apps to track your expenses

There are various budgeting apps available that can help you track your expenses in real-time. Many of these apps categorize your spending, making it easy to see how much you’re allocating to consumables.

Ways to save on consumables

Explore Store brands and generic options

Brand loyalty can sometimes be costly. Many store brands and generic options are just as high in quality as name brands but come at a lower price point.

Take advantage of loyalty programs and rewards cards

Retailers often offer loyalty programs that provide discounts, cashback, or reward points for frequent shoppers. Sign up for these programs to maximize your savings.

Buy seasonal produce and products

Seasonal produce and products are often fresher and less expensive. Plus, buying in-season helps support local agriculture.

FAQs

How can I avoid impulse buying when it comes to consumables?

Impulse buying can be a budget killer. To avoid it:
  • Stick to a shopping list.
  • Avoid shopping when hungry or tired.
  • Use cash or a debit card to limit spending.

Are there any tax benefits related to consumables?

Some consumables may be eligible for tax deductions, depending on your location and tax laws. For example, certain energy-efficient home improvements might qualify. Consult a tax professional for personalized advice.

What can I do with consumables that are about to expire?

When consumables are nearing their expiration date, consider these options:
    • Plan meals around them to use them up.
    • Donate non-perishable items to food banks.
    • Compost perishable items when possible.

Key takeaways

  • Create a shopping list and stick to it, use coupons and cashback offers, and consider buying in bulk for non-perishable items to cut down on costs.
  • Practice FIFO (First In, First Out) for perishable items, store consumables properly to extend their shelf life, and choose eco-friendly options to minimize single-use plastics.
  • Keep a consumption log to understand your spending habits, set a dedicated consumables budget, and utilize budgeting apps to monitor your expenses in real-time.

SuperMoney may receive compensation from some or all of the companies featured, and the order of results are influenced by advertising bids, with exception for mortgage and home lending related products. Learn more

Loading results ...

You might also like