Two months ago, my friend Becca asked me to share my price book prices. I told her I would, but then I’ve been hedging ever since for two reasons:
1) I have to admit that I don’t have a written down price book, even though I know I should. Instead, I try to keep it all in my head, which given the magnitude of my sleep deprivation over the past 7 years, is really not the best idea.
2) Everyone’s price book prices are going to be different, because:
- You cook different foods that I do
- Your kids like different “treats” than mine do
- Your husband loves/hates vegetarian meals
- You make more/less from scratch
- You have been coupon shopping for longer/shorter than I have, so your stockpile is bigger/smaller than mine
- You live in a different part of the country, where produce is less/more expensive
- You live in New York City, where everything is more expensive
In other words, the “buy now” price in one’s price book is a totally subjective thing. And, really, the bottom line is just to start paying better attention to what you’re doing at the grocery store so you can affect change (ha, no pun intended) in your budget.
Below is what I consider “a good deal” on various staples and frequently purchased items in my home. Remember: I don’t always get these prices — sometimes I do better, and that’s when I really stock up (like my $.07 boxes of cereal). And sometimes I pay more, because, darnit, I really need crushed tomatoes and there’s not a sale on right now. I know some couponistas only buy on sale, but I just can’t commit to doing that.
Cereal: $1/box or less
Pasta: $.75/12-16 oz. bag or less
Jarred pasta sauce: $1.25/jar or less
Canned tomatoes, crushed or whole (large): $1 or less
Canned tuna: $.40/can
Dried spices: $.50 or less
Kosher beef: $4.50/lb or less (this is rare, but I find it, I buy it up! It probably goes without saying that we try to stick to less expensive cuts of meat)
Kosher chicken: 3.50/lb or less (ditto the rare comment. And also, whole chickens are much more economical than breasts or even other parts.)
Millers cheese sticks: $.40/stick or less
Yogurt: $.35 or less per individual cup or $1.50 for large serving container (organic)
Milk: $2/gallon for hormone-free, non-organic or $3/half gallon of organic (which I buy for my 16 month old)
Freezer waffles: $.12/waffle or less (my son’s favorite breakfast – and perfect when we’re running late in the morning… aka always!)
Toilet paper: $.01/square foot (how to determine the per square foot price)
Tissue: $.50/box or less
Shampoo: $.50/bottle or less
Toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwash, dental floss: Free
Body Wash / Body Lotion: $1.00 per bottle or less
Shaving Cream & Razors: No more than $1, but usually free
Disposable Diapers: $.10/diaper or less
Produce: For most items, I aim to pay no more than $1/pound. The exceptions include:
- Potatoes (non-organic) – $1/5 lbs.
- Potatoes (organic) – $2.50/5 lbs. (often at Whole Foods)
- Avocado – $.75 each (this is a great example of “if you live in California, you probably think that’s an insanely high price”)
- Pepper – $.50 each (if someone had told me three years ago, when I was living in Israel, that I’d be psyched about paying 2 NIS for one lousy pepper, I’d have told them they were crazy!)
Remember: One of the best ways to save on produce is to buy when it’s in season. For other money-saving tips, check out my post on How to Save on Produce.
There are many, many more products that I buy on a weekly or monthly basis, but these are the most universal ones I could pluck off my mental list. I’d love to hear how your prices compare to mine. And be sure to include where you’re from, so we can have a sense of comparison.
P.S. For tips on how to calculate the best deals in your area, please check out my post on How to Make a Price Book.