I count household and toiletry items as part of my grocery budget, which means every time I have to buy laundry detergent, there is less money for me to spend on cheeeeeeese or other equally delicious things (what a lie - there is nothing as equally delicious as cheese).
I think the truly cheapest way to get household items like toilet paper and shampoo is probably through drugstore deals. I subscribe to Common Sense with Money and they have weekly posts about the deals at Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid (not to mention Wal-Mart and Target). But 1) I don't take the newspaper and you usually really need those coupons in order to rack up your savings and 2) the idea of going to the drugstore on TOP of regular grocery shopping and then trying to keep track of my Register Rewards and CVS Extra Care Bucks without letting them expire overwhelms me. If you are willing to put in the effort there, though, you really can save a ton of money.
For me, the happy medium is Soap.com. I was wary until I made my first order a few weeks ago when Bart needed new razors and the idea of making a special trip to Sam's Club made me want to weep softly into the carpet. But buying razors at the grocery store makes my soul shrivel up and die a little because I might as well just flush dollar bills away.
And for many household items, I'm not usually willing to go with a generic version because they simply don't work as well (the difference between Tide and the $2 bottle of detergent? night and day for me. And my husband hates any deodorant that is not Old Spice).
Everything on Soap.com is pretty reasonably priced (the Mach 3 razors, for instance, were cheaper per blade than if I'd bought them at Sam's Club), and they often have digital coupons that you just click and they'll take off anywhere up to $3 off. Brilliant.
Shipping is free if you spend over $39 (which thrills my husband because it means I will actually stock up a bit on things he lives in fear of running out of). And if you aren't happy with something, you can send it back for free too.
AND, if you have coupons for items, they send you some postage-paid envelopes with your order that you can stick your coupons in and mail back to them and they'll post them to your account (you have to send them in at least a week before they expire) and you can apply them to your next order. I love it.
There are almost always coupon codes so that you can $10 off or 20% off your entire order, etc. If you use the code FRUGALWIFE when you check out, you can get 20% off your first order.
AND (I know, it just keeps going), if you go through Ebates first, you can get up to 5% back in cash.
I tell you, when that box of deodorant, razors, lotion, and Draino (yes, envy my glamorous life) just showed up on my doorstep, without me having to leave the house or drag my baby out with me, it was pretty much the greatest thing ever. That UPS man probably thinks I have a very sad existence.
Seriously, I am completely sold (just ask my mom, who had to listen to me talk on and on about this on the phone the day after my box arrived).