Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Plan for Food Spending in 2015

Food Spending.
The bane of my existence. 8-)

Here is a list of what I have spent since 2010(the year I started fully tracking where all the food/toiletries monies went).  Not too scientific as the number of persons being fed varied during these years from 5 to 2, depending on kids at college or not, and kids moving out or not.

2009--$6,254.84 +(I didn't track rebates and gift cards received that year)
2010--$2,291.67 + ($841.73 rebate checks/ $563.99 gift cards received)
2011--$3,080.59 + ($433.22 rebate checks/ $76.00 gift cards received)
2012--$4,196.36 +($67.48 rebate checks/ $5.00 gift cards received)
2013--$4,560.82 +($80.99 rebate checks/ $15.00 gift cards received)
2014--$4,989.49 +($44.54 rebate checks/ $10 gift cards received)

A little explanation of these figures--
I started couponing and deal hounding seriously in Feb. of  2009 so my full year's spending in food was even more than shown that year.  Yikes!
Obviously 2009 was the year I started stockpiling and learning how to coupon in earnest and by 2010 I had a system and ramped up the rebating.

As you can see a combination of rising food prices, a dirth of rebate deals/gift card deals in each succeeding year and a bit of "food lifestyle inflation" and even though I am feeding less people now than in 2010 my food costs have inched up every year since then.

LOOKING AHEAD for 2015.........
With some planning and watching the pennies better we should be able to keep the food/toiletries/paper goods/cleaning products spending at $4800 or less in 2015.
Here's how I am going to do that--

*  Buy Less.  Since we are looking at selling this house and moving within the next 2-3 years I will start reducing the size of our stockpile.  This means using up more of it in 2015 so I'll need to buy less.  Less $ spent + Less stuff to move=Success!

*  Seek out the best deals I can find on what I need to buy.  Stick to my price book principles and think twice before splurging on items I "want" but don't "need".  Make better decisions with the food dollars.

*  Preserve our garden harvest.  We need to get serious about the garden again and can or freeze what we grow.

*   Make more of an effort to find rebates to send for to offset food spending.  Around 2010 saw the end of the Glory Days of rebating/refunding.  Add in that in PA we can't even do the liquor rebate deals most of the rest of the country can participate in. sigh.

*  Food Waste.  While we have minimal food waste most months I could do better.  I will do better.  Successful meal planning goes hand in hand with food waste(or the lack thereof).  By planning you are halfway to eliminating the waster.  8-)

I am hoping that with these measures I can get the spending down below $4800, even though I was $200 over that in 2014 and food prices are predicted to go up 2-3% in 2015.

So what do you spend on food/toiletries a year if you track those expenses?
What measures do you take to keep your food/toiletry costs down?



  1. I try never to buy anything unless it is on sale, reduced, or there is a coupon. Even my milk and bananas are price-matched at WM, using Aldi's price. Dehydrating, canning, freezing keeps items available year-round. I rarely have food waste. When I do keep something too long, the hens turn it into eggs.

    Since I still have no water(leaking frozen pipe), Burger King is my friend! I eat out at church meals five times each month, more for something to do than to save money. However, I am aware that these free meals are meals I don't pay for.

    I don't track my spending because I have trouble keeping receipts together. That is problem I should solve!

  2. Sluggy, I do have some wiggle room in my grocery budget. It is all inclussive of everything eaten, cleaning products, paper goods, personal care items. It does NOT include pet supplies/food. We are a family of 6 adult eaters. I budget $4799.96 for items from stores, plus an additional $1000 for our organic CSA membership. In addition, I set aside $50/month for any restaurant food/take out. I do not tap into that "fund" for things like birthday celebrations and costs associated with eating out for that. (that's tallied under my celebrations budget). So a total of $6399.96/year BUT with the 3 oldest kids contributing to the food budget, I am actually out $2799.96 of my own actual funds or $233.33/month for the remaining 3 of us. So back to the amount available to me (kids contributions plus my own monies), I have $533.33/month allocated towards food. Of the $400 I have available to spend at the actual stores, here are some of my tricks:

    -cook from scratch
    -use less meat, more vegetarian inspired meals
    -eat seasonally
    -purchase plain ingredients: the bag of fzn peas is almost always cheaper than the one in a sauce
    -buy private label brands (shop Aldi's)
    -cherry pick loss leaders
    -don't be brand loyal
    -buy cleaning items at Dollar Tree
    -use coupons if possible
    -keep a price book
    -home preserve produce (while I don't currently garden, farmer's market extra produce, CSA share extra produce is fzn or home canned. We're enjoying tomatoes canned on Labor Day(my annual task), home made jams on bread etc)
    -limit soda consumption to a treat
    -make your own snacks
    -soup for dinner one night a week
    -tote leftovers to work/school
    -incorporate planned overs/leftovers ASAP or freeze
    -seek alternatives (stores, resources, substitutions due to price hikes)


  3. There are 2 of us and I spend about $287 and change a month for food, personal care, cleaning and paper goods.


  4. These are all commendable goals.

  5. Our goal for the year is around $5K for groceries. Although, judging by our January spending, we have some work to do!!! :-)


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