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?