WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Price Book: Best prices for 2016

Posted January 4

Strawberries

With the continuing rise in food and non-food prices, here is an updated Price Book listing the best "buy" prices for meat, produce, dairy, non-food and more for 2016.

Following is an updated Price Book with both the low price I usually wait for as an experienced couponer (with a stockpile) as well as the prices of the upper limits that new couponers should aim to stay at or under if they don’t already have that stockpile going. The upper/high end prices are still good deals, they just aren’t as low as they go when the stars are aligned and the coupons match perfectly with the sales (which we all know doesn’t happen for every product every day).

My suggestion is to stock up for 4-6 weeks worth of product when the prices hit the Low Prices listed for those items that are non-perishable or can be stored in the freezer. If you are running low on something and need it to complete the meal plan or you are just getting started, it’s fine to buy at the High End prices, but don’t stock up on too much. Save your stocking up for the Low End prices. Many of the prices for items (other than meat and produce) are found when a sale and coupon are combined.

I have received a number of questions from readers about whether the buy price changes as you become more proficient at couponing and as your stockpile increases. The answer is definitely YES! When I first started couponing, I was thrilled when I bought name brand toothpaste for .75 a tube. Now that I have been couponing for a while and have a number of tubes in my overstock, I generally wait until it is free. Sometimes, I even get paid to take it home with the combination of sales, coupons and drug store reward programs.

Please keep in mind that if you have allergy issues or special dietary needs (gluten-free, for instance), some of these prices will not apply because those products are generally going to be more expensive.

Produce

Try to stay at $1.50/lb or less for most produce. Ideally, look for produce sales that are $1.00/lb or less. All the area grocery stores often have carrots, apples, pears and oranges for $1 or less per pound on a regular basis. As a general rule, don’t buy packaged lettuce and spinach unless you want to spend more per pound than needed. With the combo of sale and coupon, though, sometimes the packaged lettuce bags are a good deal.

Here are some ideal buy prices for fruit and veggies. Keep in mind that when they are in season, you will find these prices more often. Sometimes you will even find them at lower prices. That might be a good time to buy in bulk and freeze the produce. It is often less expensive per pound to buy produce bagged in 3, 5 or 8 lb bags.

When produce is out of season and $50 per pound (ok, not really that high) I often buy frozen produce. When on sale with a coupon, I can often purchase 12 – 16 oz. of frozen veggies including broccoli, peas, corn, carrots and more for $1 or less. Keep in mind that organic produce will usually be much higher than the cost of the non-organic prices I have listed below.

Apples
Lower buy price: $1.00/lb. or less
Higher buy price: $1.25/lb.

Asparagus
Lower buy price: $1.50/lb or less (when it finally hits $1.50 or so once a year, I stock up, blanch and freeze because we all love asparagus oven-roasted with olive oil and a little bit of salt)
Higher buy price: $1.75 per lb or less (since it rarely gets this low, we generally don’t buy a lot of fresh asparagus)

Bananas
Lower buy price: $0.49 each
Higher buy price: $0.59 each (Look for “ripe” bananas in the produce mark-down section for .25 - .35/lb)

Broccoli bunch
Lower buy price: $1.25 each or less
Higher buy price: $1.75 per bunch or less

Cantaloupe
Lower buy price: $1.00 each
Higher buy price: $2.00

Carrots
Lower buy price: $.50/lb.
Higher buy price: $1.00/lb.

Carrots, peeled baby/mini
Lower buy price: .69/lb (when they go on sale at Aldi)
Higher buy price: $1.25/lb.

Celery
Lower buy price: $1.00 each or less per bunch
Higher buy price: $1.50 per bunch

Citrus
Lower buy price: $.75/lb. or less
Higher buy price: $1.25/lb.

Cucumbers
Lower buy price: $.50 each
Higher buy price: $.75 each

Grapes
Lower buy price: $1.00 per lb
Higher buy price: $1.50 per lb

Lettuce, Romaine, green leaf, red leaf lettuce
Lower buy price: $1.00 - $1.50 per bunch
Higher buy price: $1.99 per bunch (Greens are usually much more expensive when pre-packaged)

Peaches
Lower buy price: $1.00/lb. or less
Higher buy price: $1.50/lb.

Pears
Lower buy price: $1.00/lb. or less
Higher buy price: $1.50/lb.

Peppers, Green bell peppers
Lower buy price: $.65 each
Higher buy price: $1.00 each

Peppers, Yellow, Orange or Red Bell Peppers
Lower buy price: $1.00 (sometimes less at Aldi)
Higher buy price: $1.50 each (I usually only buy when they are $1 or less per pepper)

Spinach
Lower buy price: $1.50/bunch
Higher buy price: $2.00/bunch

Squash, Zucchini squash
Lower buy price: $.75/lb. or less
Higher buy price: $1.25/lb.

Strawberries
Lower buy price: $1.25/lb. (when in season in last April/early May)
Higher buy price: $2.50/lb.

Tomatoes
Lower buy price: $1.00/lb or less
Higher buy price: $1.75 per lb or less
Roma tomatoes are often less expensive than slicing tomatoes.

Meat

Look for buy one get one free deals, family size packages and marked down meat to get the best buys. The prices below are sale and family size prices. Keep in mind that markdown prices can go even lower so check the markdown meat section at your stores when you shop. I recommend you use the meat that day or freeze it.

Beef: London broil, beef stew meat
Lower buy price: $2.99/lb or less
Higher buy price: $4.50 per lb or less

Beef Roast (like boneless eye of round)
Lower buy price: $3.99/lb or less
Higher buy price: $4.99 per lb or less

Beef Steaks (like NY strip steak)
Lower buy price: $4.99/lb
Higher buy price: $5.99 per lb

Beef: Ground Beef (75% - 80% lean)
Lower buy price: $2.50/lb or less
Higher buy price: $3.99 per lb

Ground beef is usually cheaper when sold in bulk (often 3 lb containers). Obviously, you will pay more for 93% lean (usually around $4 - $5/lb)

Chicken legs and wings
Lower buy price: $.69/lb (often sold in 10 lb bags)
Higher buy price: $.99/lb

Chicken: Whole fryers
Lower buy price: $.99/lb
Higher buy price: $1.50/lb

Chicken: Split Chicken Breast
Lower buy price: $1.00/lb or less or less
Higher buy price: $1.50 per lb or less

Chicken: Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
Lower buy price: $1.69/lb or less (as low as $1.49/lb at Aldi every once in a while)
Higher buy price: $2.25 per lb or less

My top price is $2/lb for boneless skinless chicken breast and many grocery stores have it in the fresh meat case for this price everyday including Harris Teeter.

Pork: Boston Butt pork roast
Lower buy price: $1.49/lb or less
Higher buy price: $2.99 per lb

Pork Ribs
Lower buy price: $1.69/lb or less
Higher buy price: $2.50 per lb

Pork Chops Boneless, pork steaks
Lower buy price: $2.50/lb or less
Higher buy price: $3.00 per lb

Seafood: Fish
Lower buy price: $4.00/lb or less
Higher buy price: $5.99 per lb

Seafood: Shrimp, raw, shell-on
Lower buy price: $5.00/lb or less
Higher buy price: $6.99 per lb

Seafood: Snow Crab Legs
Lower buy price: $4.99/lb or less
Higher buy price: $5.99 per lb

Turkey, whole
Lower buy price: $.40 - .50/lb - usually this price is only found around Thanksgiving so buy an extra one for the freezer at this price, if you have the room.

Higher buy price: $.99 per lb or less

The best price on turkeys is in November and December. I usually buy 1 or 2 extras to use throughout the year. Often, stores require an additional purchase of $20 - $25 to get the .40 - 50/lb price.

Turkey Breast
Lower buy price: $.99/lb or less
Higher buy price: $1.75 per lb
Again, the best price on turkey breast is in November and December. Stock up for the next 6 months when they hit $1 - $1.25/lb.

Deli Meat
Lower buy price: $3/lb or less for packaged deli meat (like Oscar Mayer, Hillshire Farm with sale and coupon)
Higher buy price: $5.99 per lb at the deli

Turkey bacon, 12 oz., $1.50 - $2 with sale and coupon

Bacon, 12 - 16 oz, $2.50 - $3 .50

Smoked sausage, 14 oz, $2.50 - $3 with sale and coupon

Dairy & Frozen

Biscuits and croissants .50 - $1 each with sale and coupon

Butter, 16 oz quarters
Lower buy price: $2.00 or less (butter freezes well so if you use it often, stock up when it hits $2 or less per lb)
Higher buy price: $2.50 per lb

Cheese: American cheese slices, 12 oz
Lower buy price: $1.00 or less
Higher buy price: $2.00 per package

Cheese: Shredded cheese, 8 oz.
Lower buy price: $1.15 or less (when Harris Teeter offers the Buy 2 Get 3 Free promo)
Higher buy price: $1.75

When grocery stores offer their store brand cheese BOGO, it usually makes the price $1.50 or less per 8 oz package, a good price. Cheese freezes well in the package so stock up when it's $1.35 or less per 8 oz.

Cheese: Sliced cheese, 8 oz.
Lower buy price: $1.50 or less
Higher buy price: $2.00 per package (look for BOGO sales on store brand or name brand with a coupon.)

Cream cheese bricks, 8 oz
Lower buy price: $1.00 each or less
Higher buy price: $1.25

Cream cheese spreadable tub, 8 oz
Lower buy price: $1.50 each or less (with sale and coupon)
Higher buy price: $2.00 each

Cookie dough, $1.00 - $1.50 per package after sale and coupon

Dip (like Dean's Dip or Heluva Good Dip or store brand dip, 8 oz) .50 - $1.00 with sale and coupon

Eggs
Lower buy price: $1.50 per dozen or less
Higher buy price: $2.25 per dozen (With the outbreak of avian influenza in 2015, the price of eggs has increased significantly in the last year.)

Ice Cream, 48 oz.- 56 oz (like Breyers, Blue Bunny, Mayfield)
Lower buy price: $1.75 or less (with sale and coupons)
Higher buy price: $2.50

Margarine sticks, 16 oz.
Lower buy price: $.75 or less
Higher buy price: $1.25 or less

Milk
Lower buy price: $2.00 or less per gallon
Higher buy price: $3.25 per gallon (A number of grocery stores now offer a gallon of milk for $2.99 every day including Harris Teeter and Lowes Foods)

Orange Juice, 64 oz
Lower buy price: $1.75 or less (usually store brand)
Higher buy price: $2.50

Pierogies: Frozen pierogies - $1.50 per box on sale with coupon

Pizza, frozen (medium to higher quality)

Lower buy price: $2.00 (after sale and coupons)
Higher buy price: $3.50 (after sales and coupons)

Ravioli: Frozen ravioli – look for BOGO sales making them around $2.50 - $3.00 per 24 oz. package

Sour cream, 16 oz
Lower buy price: $1.00
Higher buy price: $1.50

Veggie burgers (like Morningstar and Boca): $2.00 - 3.00 or less per package after coupons

Vegetables: Frozen vegetables (10 - 12 oz)
Lower buy price: $.50 or less with sale and coupon
Higher buy price: $1.25 (look for BOGO sales)

Vegetables: Frozen vegetables (16 oz)
Lower buy price: $.75 or less with sale and coupon
Higher buy price: $1.25 (look for BOGO sales)

Yogurt singles, 4-6 oz
Lower buy price: $.20 each or less (with sales and coupons)
Higher buy price: $.40 each

Greek yogurt singles, 5.3 oz: $.50 - .80 (with sales and coupons)

Yogurt 4-packs (like Activia, Danimals, etc) $1.00 - $1.50 with sale and coupon

Miscellaneous Food

Bread: 100% Whole wheat bread, 20 oz loaf
Lower buy price: $1.00 each or less (stock up and freeze when $1 or less per loaf)
Higher buy price: $1.75 per loaf or less (look for BOGO and store brand sales)

Bread: White bread, 20 oz. loaf
Lower buy price: $1.00 each or less
Higher buy price: $1.25 per loaf (Kroger and Dollar General often have white sandwich bread on sale for $1 per loaf.)

Brownie mix, $1 – 1.25 per box

Buns: Hamburger and hot dog buns, 8 count, white bread, .89 - $1.25

Cake mix, .75 or less (if you wait for sale and coupons, you'll find it as low as .25 or less per box)

Cereal (both high fiber and kids cereals)
Lower buy price: $.50 each or less (with sale and coupon)
Higher buy price: $1.50 per box or less

There are many good cereal deals during August and September during back to school sales. Cereal is usually in date for many months so stock up when your favorite hits a low price.

Chips (potato, tortilla, cheese puffs, etc, 9 to 10 oz)
Lower buy price: $1.00 each or less (often for store brand BOGO)
Higher buy price: $1.75

Crackers (8-16 oz)
Lower buy price: .75 or less (usually with BOGO sale and coupon doubled)
Higher buy price: $1.00 - $1.50 per box

Extra virgin olive oil (also known as EVOO), 17 oz, $2.99 with sale and coupon (I look for a BOGO sale and combine with coupon or a store brand BOGO sale)

Flour, 5 lb bag, $1.50 - $2.25 (sometimes less during the holidays with coupons)

Granola Bars
Lower buy price: .75 each or less per box (with sale and coupon)
Higher buy price: $1.50 per box

Mustard (12 oz specialty or 20 oz yellow mustard)
Lower buy price: $.25 or less
Higher buy price: $1.00 each

Jelly/jam (10 – 18 oz depending on brand)
Lower buy price: $1.00 each or less (sale with coupon)
Higher buy price: $1.75 or less

Juice: 100% juice, 64 oz
Lower buy price: $1.00 each or less with sale and coupon
Higher buy price: $2.00

Ketchup, 10 oz pouch or 24 oz bottle
Lower buy price: $.50 each or less (with sales and coupons during summer)
Higher buy price: $1.00

Mayonnaise, 30 oz.
Lower buy price: $1.50 (with sale and coupon)
Higher buy price: $2.50 (look for BOGO sales)

Pasta, 1 lb packages
Lower buy price: $.25/lb or less (with sales and coupons)
Higher buy price: $1.00 per lb

Pasta sauce (approximately 26 oz)
Lower buy price: $.50 - .75 per jar (Store brand and Hunt's are often on sale for $1 per jar or use sale and coupon to get Ragu, Prego and Barilla for $1 or less often)
Higher buy price: $1.25 per jar

Peanut butter (14 – 16 oz), $1.50 - $2.00

Popcorn, 3 pack microwavable, $1.25 or less with sale and coupon or store brand

Pumpkin, canned, 15 oz, .89 - $1.25

Rice, brown or white, 1 lb bag, .50 - $1 with sale and coupon

Rice, boxed seasoned, 8 – 9 oz., .50 or less with sale sand coupons

Salad dressing or marinades (16 oz)
Lower buy price: $.75 or less (with sale and coupon)
Higher buy price: $1.25

Salsa (16 oz)
Lower buy price: $1.50 or less (with sale and coupon)
Higher buy price: $1.75

Sodas - 2 ltr.
Lower buy price: $.75 each or less (usually store brand or a rewards deal at the drug stores)
Higher buy price: $1.00 (Pepsi and Coke products go on sale for $1 almost every week at multiple area stores)

Sodas, 12 pack 12 oz cans
Lower buy price: $2.00 or less (often store brand)
Higher buy price: $2.50 - $2.75 (for name brand)


Sodas, 6 pack, 16.9 oz bottles
Lower buy price: $2.00 a six pack
Higher buy price: $2.50 a six pack

Soup, canned, condensed .60 or less (like Campbell's cream of mushroom or chicken noodle)

Soup, canned, ready to heat, $1.00 or less (like Progresso) - we always stock up in the fall when the soup sales kick in and the coupons become available as the temps get cooler

Sugar, 4 lb, $1.40 - $2 on sale with coupon

Tuna, canned, 5 oz, chunk light, .69 on sale

Tuna, canned, 5 oz, chunk white, .75 on sale

Vegetables, canned including beans (approx 15 oz can), .50 or less

Non-Food

Bath tissue, 12 double roll or 24 regular rolls
Lower buy price: $3.00 or less with sales, coupons and drug store rewards
Higher buy price: $5.00

Bleach, 96 oz, $1.25 - $1.75

Cleaning sprays, 26 - 32 oz.
Lower buy price: $1 or less (with sales and coupons and often a drug store reward)
Higher buy price: $1.50

Cough drops, .50 or less per bag during cold and flu season after sales, coupons and drug store rewards

Diapers Jumbo Pack
Lower buy price: $5.00 or less (after sales and coupons and often drug store rewards)
Higher buy price: $7.00

Deodorant, approx., 2.6 oz, $.50 (or less) to $1 with sale, coupon and drug store rewards

Dryer sheets (40 count)
Lower buy price: $.75 or less
Higher buy price: $1.00

Facial tissues .60 to $1.00 per box (after sale and coupons and sometimes a drugstore reward)

Feminine products: Maxi pads, 24 count, $1.50 - $2.00 or less with sale and coupons

Feminine products: Mini pads, 22 count, .50 - $1 or less with sale and coupons

Feminine products: Tampons, 18 count, $150 - $2.00 or less with sale and coupons

Floss, $1 or less with sale and coupons and drug store rewards

Laundry detergent, 50 oz
Lower buy price: $1.50 each or less
Higher buy price: $2.50
Look for BOGO (buy one get one free) sales and couple with coupons. Brands that offer good sales and coupons include Purex, All, Era, Xtra, Gain and Arm & Hammer.

Lotion, 12 – 18 oz, $1.50 or less after sales and coupons

Pain relievers, $1 - $2 after sales and coupons and drug store rewards

Paper towels, 8 regular roll package
Lower buy price: $3.50 each or less with sales, coupons and drug store rewards
Higher buy price: $5.00

Razors, multi-pack disposable, $1.00 to $2.50 after sales, coupons, drug store rewards

Razors, refillable, regular price $10 or so, usually on sale for $3.99 or less after sale, coupons and drug store rewards

Shampoo/conditioner/hairspray
Lower buy price: $.50 each or less for name brand with sales, coupons and drug store rewards
Higher buy price: $1.50

Shaving cream, $1.00 or less after sale and coupons

Soap: Hand soap, 7.5 - 8 oz bottle
Lower buy price: $75 or less (after sale and coupons)
Higher buy price: $1.00

Soap: Body soap, 2 or 3 bar pack
Lower buy price: $.75 or less (after sale and coupon)
Higher buy price: $1.25

Toothpaste: FREE to $.25 with sales and coupon up to $1.00 per tube

Toothbrushes: FREE to $.25 with sales and coupon up to $1.00 per tube

Zipper sandwich bags, 50 count
Lower buy price: $.50 or less (with sale and coupon)
Higher buy price: $1.25

Please feel free to post any other prices for items not listed or your thoughts on those that are listed. If you have other categories you want me to address, just let me know.

As I always say, it’s your money – spend it wisely!

7 Comments

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  • Faye Prosser -WRAL Smart Shopper Apr 26, 10:07 a.m.

    3Boys3, that was incredibly kind of you to post. Thank you for all your support. It sounds like your daddy and I would have enjoyed sharing couponing and money saving stories with each other! Glad you were able to pop back into the blog and hope to see you here more often!

  • 3boys3 Feb 10, 2016

    Thank you so much Faye! I've missed a lot of the "going ons "the past 2 years. I lost Daddy Nov 13, 2014 and then July 8th of 2015, I lost Mama. I spoke to them often about you and how you taught me how to coupon more expertly. Daddy loved hearing about it. He was at home, bedbound then, but he told me how he also used coupons when all 5 of us children were at home and it's a hard thing to stop once you see what you save by doing it. Mama didn't do a lot of the grocery shopping, so she was REALLY amazed in all of your teachings. I kept them and my 4 brothers in all of their toiletries. Thank you for making such a positive difference in your community and outward to other communities. You are known and thought of fondly far and wide.

  • Faye Prosser -WRAL Smart Shopper Jan 4, 2016

    sdoss1 - you are so welcome.

  • sdoss1 Jan 4, 2016

    Thanks, Faye, for sharing your list.

  • Faye Prosser -WRAL Smart Shopper Jan 3, 2016

    ascherer - thanks!

    maalp - glad it helps.

  • maalp Jan 3, 2016

    Faye,

    Thank you for the informative and helpful list!

  • ascherer Jan 3, 2016

    I'll add one:

    Sodas, 6 pack 16.9 oz bottles
    Lower buy price: $2.00 a six pack
    Higher buy price: $2.50 a six pack