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?