My Price Book: I’m finally sharing it!

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.

Disclaimer over.

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

Deodorant: 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.


  1. I just paid 13.90 shekel a kilo for peppers thanks to high veggie costs post extra hot summer and chaggim price hike.
    2 shekel seems like a bargain 🙂

    • It was 2 NIS per pepper, not kilo, but knowing the prices there does make me feel slightly less like a “friar” for spending so much on produce. (Peppers are normally $1-1.50/pepper!)

  2. Love this post!

  3. Either i’m way overpaying or everything is just way more expensive here in NJ! (I don’t think i have ever seen tuna for less than $.75 a can, even store brand, which i admit i don’t use because i don’t like it)

    • Yup, and this is why I hedged on posting this for so long. I hope I didn’t make a mistake, but I’m glad for the feedback!

      I will say, as far as tuna goes, the Walmart brand here is $.58/can (chunk light in water) and it’s really quite good. As far canned tuna goes. You can often get tuna at CVS or Walgreens for less than $.50 a can with coupons and sales/ECBs. I’ll try to point out those deals when I come across them.

      Please, please, please don’t feel like this is a competition! I would hate it if I made you or anyone else feel bad. (See why all our price books will be different above, too.)

      • I don’t feel like it’s a competition, I just want some guidance :), but no I understand the tuna discrepancy, we don’t like chunk light except for cooking purposes. for sandwiches i prefer the solid white, which admittedly is more expensive. as for the other stuff, i think it depends on whether i prefer specific brands and what not. There are certain items which i find the real brand is simply better than store brand which makes it more economical by lasting longer. (diaper cream for example. i bought target brand once because it was so much cheaper and it was so runny it didn’t works and i needed twice as much to do anything.). I also think things are more expensive out here in NJ in general. But liked the price guide idea!

        • aaaaah, chunk white. definitely more expensive! $.75 a can is good, actually! and i agree on the target brand diaper rash cream. very runny. with sales and coupons, i do better with desitin anyway, which is what i prefer.

  4. Mara – thank you so much for taking the time to write this post. It’s very helpful and I find that for a lot of things I’m paying probably 2x the amount you have listed (which is still list than original price), but I haven’t really mastered the couponing yet. However, it gives me a great reference point which is what I was looking for. You’re the best for creating this blog! Way to go!

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