Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Plan for Food Spending in 2016

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)
2015--$4,338.87(including $103.17 in rebates/$110 in free grocery store/drugstore gift cards)

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 dearth 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 until I started bringing them down in 2015.

LOOKING AHEAD for 2016.........
My Goals are much the same as they were in 2015.

With some planning and watching the pennies better we should be able to keep the food/toiletries/paper goods/cleaning products spending at $4000.00 or less in 2016.  Last year we brought the spending down to $4,333 so I am cutting this a bit more to bring it down some more.

Here's how I am going to accomplish that---

*  Buy Less.  Since we are looking at selling this house and moving within the next 2+ years I will start reducing the size of our stockpile.  This means using up more of it in 2016 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 did preserve what little we harvested last year.  I'll garden again this year and hope we have a larger yield in 2016.

*   Only buy seasonally and when possible more locally. 
We pretty much buy seasonally now so it's just keeping on, keeping on in this area.

*  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 waste.  8-)

*  Utilize any savings I can find.  This will take the form of shopping ONLY sale items, pairing sales with coupons(if applicable), sending for rebates when applicable, using offers of free gift cards to purchase needed foods(cashing in c/c points, transferring RXs for free gift cards, etc.).  These are all ways to bring down the out of pocket costs to us for our groceries.

*  Cooking from Scratch more.  I already make most of our meals so this means making more items(components of our meals)from scratch myself rather than buying ready-made foods.  I am talking about dried beans rather than canned beans, making tortillas from masa and flour rather than buying already made ones(unless I can get the tortillas for less than hand making them would cost), etc.

I am hoping that with these measures I can get the spending down below $4000 out of pocket for the entire year in 2016.
$4K a year on food/toiletries/paper goods/HBA is roughly $333.34 per month.
I spent less than $333.34 in 7 out of 12 of the months of 2015.  If I can get those other 5 months under that mark this is very doable.

Of course all of this goes without saying that I won't compromise the level of the quality of the food I buy now to save more on food purchases.  Sure I could just buy more processed foods for cheaper and save money at the expense of our health but that's not an option for me.

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. SO did you subtract the money that you got from rebates from your total or was that extra money spent? Inquiring minds want to know!!

    1. Extra money spent actually.
      The totals spent up until 2015 was the actual cash and then I also covered additional amounts with the rebates/gift cards also noted in that year.
      So in 2014--$4,989.49 +($44.54 rebate checks/ $10 gift cards received) as I kept those separate, means I spent $5,044.03 and used free rebates/gift card to reimburse me $54.54, making the OOP for the year $4,98.49.

      I stopped tracking the rebates/gift cards separately last year so 2015's $4338.87(including $103.17 in rebates/$110 in free grocery store/drugstore gift cards)means I spent $4338.87 WITH the $213.17 in rebates/gift cards, so I actually only spent OOP $4,125.70 after reimbursing with the rebates/free gift cards earned.

      Is that clear as mud? lolz

  2. I buy the whatever amount it takes to get the lowest price ie. one grocery store has a lower price when you buy 4, bought 25 kg of rice, bought 20 lbs of potatoes, 20 lbs of onions, plant more (bumper crop of maters last year), buy seasonally as I refuse to pay $11 for a small batch of berries. Freeze if necessary. Waste less definitely which means I have to learn how to portion things better.

  3. We mostly buy the toiletries at the Dollar Store, unless it's tp or paper towels, then it's Sam's Club.

  4. Wanting to avoid waste of any kind, eating healthier, which means more food from scratch and real ingredients, and eating out less, I hope to shave $$'s off our overall budget, and pounds off my behind. It was daughters birthday last night, so we saved going out other nights to go out yesterday, but we split appy's, and took home enough for at least two of us to have lunch today. Portions are just so big in restaurants.

  5. These are great ideas, and I'm going to be watching very closely to see if I can learn how in the world you can only spend $4000 in a year for food! :)

  6. I am trying to save on grocery costs, but with the Canadian dollar being so low, the cost of produce is just sky rocketing and making it difficult to stay in budget and eat healthy, so I need to get creative.


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