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My Stock-Up Price List

I’ve received countless requests over the years for me to post my “Price List” (i.e. the price I shoot to pay for all items I purchase). I resisted doing this for a long time because I was afraid that many of you would find it discouraging since prices vary so much by area. However, I finally decided to go ahead and put this list together since many of you promised me it would be helpful.

Please note that the prices listed below are the prices I try not to pay more than. Of course, free or free-plus-overage is always the best thing, but if that’s not possible, than these are the prices I aim to match or beat when purchasing items. Also, note that these prices are normally the prices I shoot to pay by pairing a coupon with a great sale. These are not typically the shelf prices you’ll see here!

We don’t have a CVS or Rite Aid and we only have two grocery store chains in our area, so I’m not able to get some of the deals many of you can get routinely. At the same time, though, we’re blessed to have Walgreens, Walmart, Target, a few Dollar Stores and a health food store in addition to the two grocery store chains.

Toiletries/Personal Care

Bandages — $0.50 per 30-count box or less
Bar Soap — $0.30 per 2-pack or less
Cough Drops — $0.25 per bag or less
Deodorant — $0.50 per regular-sized stick or less
Floss — $0.25 per package or less
Liquid Soap — $0.30 per hand soap pump or less
Lotion — I rarely pay for lotion as I usually get trial-sized bottles for free by signing up for free samples or by using coupons.
Mouthwash — free
Pain Reliever — $1 per bottle or less for name brands
Razors — $1 per package or less
Shampoo/Conditioner — $1 per bottle for name brand, $0.50 per bottle for off brands
Shaving Cream — $0.50 per bottle or less
Sunblock — I’ve never paid anything for sunblock before.
Toothbrushes — $0.20 per toothbrush or less
Toothpaste — free

Baby Items

Baby Food — I don’t buy baby food unless I can get it for free. Otherwise, I make my own or just use a baby food grinder at the table.
Diaper Rash Ointment — free
Diapers — I personally don’t pay for diapers because I used to get them free by working them into my drug store deal scenarios. Now, I get them free by using my accumulated Swagbucks. If you don’t play the drugstore game, $5 per package or less would be a typical stock-up price. Anything less than $0.10 per diaper is usually considered a good deal. Less than $0.08 per diaper is usually a great deal. However, with the insane Amazon diaper deals right now, you can often get diapers for less than $0.04 each shipped to your door!
Wipes — $1 per 64 wipes or less

Refrigerated Items

Butter — $1.69 per pound or less (Whenever I find a great deal on butter, I usually buy a few pounds and freeze them.)
Cheese — $1.69 per 8 oz. or less
Cream Cheese — $0.50 per package or less (Whenever I find a great deal on cream cheese, I buy four to six blocks and freeze them.)
Eggs — I pay $2 per dozen for farm-fresh, free-range eggs. If I were buying non-free-range eggs, I would shoot for $1.29 per dozen or less. (Sometimes Aldi will have them as low as $0.69 per dozen, but I’ve not had great success at freezing eggs, so I don’t buy more than 4-6 weeks’ worth at a time.)
Milk — The cheapest I can usually get rBGH-free milk is $2.50 per gallon. Milk can be frozen, but we’ve found we prefer to only use milk which has been frozen in cooking. If I find organic milk marked down to $1.99 per half-gallon or less, I buy it and freeze it to use in pancakes and waffles.
Sour Cream — $0.99 per 16-oz. carton or less
Yogurt — $0.25 per serving or less

Produce

Bananas — $0.19 to $0.44 per pound (Once a week, a local store has bananas for $0.19 per pound, so if I’m out shopping that day, I’ll price-match at Walmart. Otherwise, I buy them reduced at Dillon’s for $0.39 per pound or $0.44 per pound at Aldi.)
Fruit in Season — $0.99 per pound or less
Grapes — $0.99 per pound or less
Lemons — $0.25 each or less
Salad — I buy organic greens when I can get them for $1.99 per 16-ounce tub or less. Otherwise, I try to get heads of lettuce for $1.59 per head or less. Occasionally, they go on sale for $0.99. I also look for bags of salad greens which have been reduced as this is often a better deal.
Salad Dressing — $0.99 per 16 ounces or less
Strawberries — $1.85 per carton or less
Tomatoes — $0.99 per pound or less
Watermelon — $2.99 per watermelon
Carrots — $0.99 per bag of baby carrots, $0.99 per one-pound bag of whole carrots

Frozen

Frozen Dinners — We basically do not buy these except for the on rare occasions they are free or almost-free.
Frozen Pizza — Again, we have only purchased this a few times when it was free. We much prefer homemade pizza!
Frozen Vegetables — $1 per bag or less
Ice Cream — We usually only buy Breyer’s ice cream — yes, we’re ice cream “snobs” 😉 — and try to get it for less than $3 per tub.

Meat

Beef, Ground — We buy 93% lean beef and I usually try to buy it when it is on sale for $3.69 per pound or less.
Chicken, Boneless Skinless Breast — $5.99 per 3-lb. bag
Chicken, Whole — We don’t buy whole chickens, ever. Yes, I know that breaks one of the major laws of frugality, but none of us like dark meat, so it’s more cost-effective and less wasteful to just buy chicken breasts. 🙂
Roast — $3 per pound or less
Steak — $2 per pound or less

We rarely ever eat pork, so I’m not even sure what a good price on it would be.

Dry/Canned Goods

Bread — $1.49 per loaf or less (for the nicer, higher-quality brands)
Brownie Mix — $0.39 to free
Cake Mix — free
Canned Tuna — You can often get the pouches for almost-free, so that’s usually what I buy when buying tuna.
Cereal — $1 per box or less
Chocolate Chips — $1.69 per package (Aldi regular price) or less.
Cookies — We rarely ever purchase packaged cookies, but I would buy them if they were free.
Crackers — $1 per box or less.
Flour — $0.69 per pound for organic wheat kernels (we grind most of our own flour) or around $0.50 per pound for unbleached flour.
Hamburger/Hot Dog Buns — $1 per package (I get Nature’s Own Hamburger/Hot Dog buns at Dollar Tree for $1 or Rudi’s Organic Buns for $0.99 when they are reduced at the health food store.)
Honey — Aldi has the best price the I’ve found in our area (around $3 for 16 oz. last time I checked) unless you have a Sam’s Club membership or buy from the Bulk Foods Store. I love the raw honey from Tropical Traditions and do splurge on it when I can get it Buy One, Get One Free plus free shipping.
Jelly/Jam — $1 per jar or less.
Ketchup — $0.50 per bottle or less
Mayonnaise — $1 per jar
Mustard — free
Oats — $1.69 per canister (Aldi price) or less
Pasta — $0.50 per box or less
Peanut Butter — $1 per jar or less
Soup, Canned — I pretty much only buy this if I can get it for $0.15 or less per can.
Spaghetti Sauce — $1 per jar or less
Sugar — $1.34 per pound for turbinado (raw sugar). We’ve not purchase white sugar for a long time, but Aldi usually has the cheapest price on it.
Syrup — We make our own or buy organic maple syrup when it’s on a great sale from Amazon.
Tomato Paste — $0.15 or less per can
Tomato Sauce — $0.15 or less per can
Tortillas — $0.99 per package
Vanilla — The best price I’ve found is at Sam’s Club. Last I checked, they sell one pint for $6.88.

Cleaning Supplies/Paper Products

Aluminum Foil — $0.50 or less for a 20-foot box (Walgreens sells it at this price fairly often).
Dishwasher Detergent — $0.50 or less per box of tabs
Dishwashing Soap — free
Laundry Detergent — $0.99 per 32-load bottle
Toilet Paper — $0.25 per roll or less
Kitchen Trash Bags — $2.98 for 32 bags (Aldi price)
Zipper Bags — $1 per box or less

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303 Comments

  • Casey says:

    Thank you SO MUCH for posting this list. I know prices will differ in different areas, but it does help to have some idea what other’s goal prices are. I know for me, I prefer not to spend more than $1 for a box of cereal. I do make exceptions. Look forward to reading other’s comments as well.

  • Casey says:

    Also, I read somewhere (perhaps on this blog) that a good rule of thumb for many items is to compare to Aldi’s everyday price. That is of course if you are fortunate to have an Aldi’s nearby. Many of Aldi’s products are great and compareable to name brands. I do tend to be a snob about my green beans and will ONLY eat Del Monte. Why green beans?! I have no idea… but off brands are just not the same. To each their own. Lucky for me, Meijer has green beans on sale for 59c/can this week! yay!

    • crystal B. says:

      We don’t have an Aldi’s, but we have “Save A Lot” which is a similar concept, but not quite as good as Aldi’s…and, that’s what I do for things that I can’t get great deals on…because w/out coupons I’d get it at SAL, so if the price beats that, then it’s still a good deal to me.

  • Donna says:

    Thank you and what I pay on most items lines up with you, with the exception of sunblock…. I will have to study up on that one.

    • Cheri says:

      yes, i would love to know how you get free sunblock!! we live in california and have a red head….which means we could support a small country on what we spend on sunblock during the summer months! 😉

      • Crystal says:

        Playing the Drugstore Game is where I’ve gotten almost all of my free sunblock from.

        • Emily says:

          I did this last year at CVS, but it was still not free. I paid like $10 for 2 things of Neutrogena sunblock after all coupons and ECBs. Now, granted, that is an excellent price for Neutrogena sunblock, but free would be better. Do you find it free by playing the drugstore game at Walgreens????? I had given up on them, but may have to give them another try if I could get free sunblock.

      • Emily says:

        We’re in the same boat. I’m a redhead with very fair skin married to a dark haired, dark eyed Italian – our kids look like me. Needless to say, we go through a ton of sunblock.

      • Jamie says:

        Cheri,
        Last year I found Neutrogena sunblock at the Dollar Tree. I stocked up and still have enough for this summer I think (I have a redhead too!). So, check the Dollar Tree often. I find they do have some name brand stuff sometimes! (I am in Missouri, though).

      • Carrie says:

        Our Dollar Tree (Central Florida) also sells name-brand sunblock, but in the winter only.

        • yolie718 says:

          I see a lot of posts about the Dollar Tree….Do they accept coupons? Or are you just going there because it is a dollar?

    • Josie says:

      I agree! Sunblock is so pricey! To never pay for it…I have homework to do!

    • Kris says:

      I agree! I would love to know how you get all your sunscreen so cheap. I have only been doing the coupon thing for a few months so I am hoping in the summer you can get free sunscreen playing the drugstore game. I have soon to be three little kids so we go through quite a bit.

      • I agree sunblock is expensive and have had to pay for it plenty of times! Guess I need to pay more attention to ads. We have tried the Dollar Tree Sunblock (for $1) and it is ok.

        • Stacey says:

          I often find name brand sunblocks at the dollar store. You just have to check every time you go by. One word of caution … I had a blond 5 year old with translucent skin (seriously), who got ferociously burnt once. We had been applying sunscreen all day long and determined that the effectiveness of the sunscreen was diminished because it was WAY past its expiration date. Researched it, and it’s true. So watch those expirations dates on sunscreen … a little past is probably ok, but be cautious.

    • Megan says:

      I’ve been able to get good deals on sunblock at CVS and Walgreens, but this is a difficult item to stock up on because it typically expires within a year or two of purchase.

    • Have2Save says:

      The sunblock does go on sale cheap/free in the late spring/late summer months mostly at drug stores. The great thing is that it doesn’t expire for years usually (I bought a bunch of kids and baby sunblock last year when I stocked up and one doesn’t expire until 2013…3 years away from when I bought it), so stock up when you do find a really good price. I still have like 4 or 5 from last year’s sales.

  • Rachel says:

    Thanks so much for posting this. I’m in the Boston area, where prices are a lot higher, so I’m glad to see I’m doing OK by comparing with your prices!

    • Julie says:

      Me, too. ALOT higher!

      • Danielle says:

        I’m in Boston too! 🙂 I think Market Basket seems pretty comparable to their Aldi’s, for east coast standards. And I do Shaw’s loss leaders and things that double to really cheap. Have ya’ll found anything better?

        • Julie says:

          We do Market Basket for most things (for things on our list that aren’t on sale anywhere and that we have to pay regular price for). Sometimes, if we have a high value coupon (like .75 cents), we go to Shaws or something since they double. Depends on the original price. For good quality food and organics and allergy-friendly foods, we go to Trader Joes. Their prices for that kind of food are way cheaper than Shaws or Stop and Shop. And Market Basket carries very little high quality food. Sometimes we get organic pasta at places like Ocean State Job Lots, too. For meat, nuts, diapers, and vitamins, we go to BJs. What about you? Any words of wisdom?

          • Danielle says:

            We have a Trader Joe’s around the corner that I visit occasionally because there are a few products that I really like from there or I need milk and MB is a drive to get to. I have access to a Costco card through work, so we usually buy mainly cheese, milk, beef & diaper wipes there; but the card will be moved to BJ’s in the next few months so I’ll have to relearn everything there. I know Crystal just added BJ’s and Trader Joe’s to her grocery store lists, so I’m excited to see more deals. How close do you live to the city? used to go to Haymarket a lot to buy produce for cheap. I learned who to go to and what prices were good, but when I since having my second kid I don’t have time to shop that many places. I’ll go once every few months to get a bunch of berries or something. If you’re close enough, parking is cheap ($1/hr with validation) and you can save a lot there.

          • Julie says:

            We live in Saugus right off Route 1, so we have close access to most stores. We do most of our shopping at the Market Basket in Chelsea. We used to have a BJs card, but the membership expired. You know, you can still go there without a membership. There’s just a 5% surcharge on the items. We figured that for some things like olive oil and nuts, the price is SO cheap, that even with the 5%, you still come out WAY ahead and save on the $45 membership fee. I used to buy toiletries at BJs, but then I realized I could get so many for free using Crystal’s matchups from drug stores. I saw the new Trader Joe’s matchup. Most of the coupons require you to be part of Recycle Bank (which I’m not) or some co-op. Oh well, for prices for some items, like bread, sunflower butter, they are still way cheaper without coupons.

    • Tablet says:

      Right! I was reading these prices and couldn’t believe the difference! Can you imagine produce for those prices! Anyway, it is good to see and know that I am doing pretty good in comparison. Thanks!

      • Lydia says:

        Actually we live in the Harrisburg/Lancaster, PA area and prices here tend to run high, and I know Kansas runs a lot lower. So I was pretty amazed at how close most of my t0-buy prices were. In fact some things I am usually able to get a lot lower than Crystal. Take meat for instance. I NEVER pay more thank $2/lb. for meat and I can frequently get it for less than that by buying 10 lbs. or more at a time. And produce…well, check around. I keep finding places where I can save on this too!

        Thanks Crystal for posting this. I always enjoy seeing what others consider good buy prices. I often have thought that if I lived in another area I’d be able to do much better, but maybe not so much. 🙂

        • Neat–I am from Lancaster, PA myself! You should try the bulk dry good stores Amish shop at–some great prices there.

        • Becky says:

          I live in Lancaster as well. Our meat and produce prices tend to be cheaper because it’s from here- i.e. no shipping or packaging costs. I know that the Family Owned Markets get most of their meat and produce locally- not sure about the others.
          I agree with Amanda- Living among the Amish seems to give us an advantage. I do well shopping at Sharp Shopper, BB’s and the like.
          Also, Lancaster area folks, check Ollie’s for cheap sunscreen. I got some there super cheap last year.

  • Devin says:

    so do you just buy the diapers on Amazon how they are priced or is there a way to get a bigger discount? I hate not to use my huggies coupons.

    • whitney says:

      15% off for signing up with amazon mom (free), 15% off for using subscribe and save (super easy to cancel once they ship, then just do it again next time you order), stack these with the 20% off and $10 off amazon coupons found in various parenting magazines, plus free shipping…you cant beat that deal. I pay around $7 for 200+ Luvs diapers shipped to my door.

      • Angie says:

        Alright, I just signed up for an Amazon Mom account. Question: I’m only finding deals on Pampers… is that normal? I’m kinda a Huggies snob… they fit my son best and I’ve not had issues with them leaking. Do the diaper deals go on rotation or how does it work? Any info and help for a newbie would be wonderful!

        • Crystal says:

          Yes, the deals rotate. If you don’t need diapers right away, I’d wait a few weeks and see what sales turn up on Huggies diapers.

          Did you sign up for Babytalk or find a way to snag a 20% off and $10 off coupon? That will make the deals *much* better!

          • April says:

            Does your Amazon Mom subscription expire (free trial that is?) Can you get it again or are you only getting a good deal on diapers for 3 months or so?

            • Crystal says:

              It expires in three months unless you purchase $25 worth of products from the Amazon Baby Store. For every $25 (pre-coupon) you purchase, they’ll extend your subscription for a month — up to one year.

              • Carrie says:

                Thanks so much for posting this. I have a feeling I’ll be pulling this up on my phone when I’m at the store!

                I know you were worried about discouraging people, but I’m very encouraged that I’m getting somewhat close to your prices. We are a one-income family of 6 (almost 7) trying to only spend $500/month, including diapers and some formula. God has been so faithful to provide for us and blogs like yours have been apart of that! Thank you!

          • Rae says:

            April, it is only 3 months but when you make a $25 or more purchase in the baby store, it extends it by a month and this is tabulated BEFORE discounts and coupons. So when I spent less than $8 for a HUGE box of Luvs originally priced at $33-something, I got a month extension. Same for a $29-something box of Huggies that I paid less than $7 for, etc. You can extend for up to a year doing this.

        • Rae says:

          I got 140 (size 4) Huggies for less than $7 shipped doing the above mentioned Amazon shopping for my cousin. Not AS good as what I got for myself which was 180 luvs (same size) for less than $1 more but they only will use Huggies. Still what I got them is about the equivalent of four and a half jumbo packs for less than $7.

      • Michelle says:

        Walgreens diapers are great (and I’m a Huggies snob, too!) and at 2.50 a pack this week, that weighs in as the best deal around for me – a sure stock-up price. The diapers are 8.99, on sale BOGO through Saturday, stack with the $2 off W diapers coupon in the Infant Care booklet and that’s how you get to the $2.50 🙂

        • Jeni says:

          Michelle, where did you find the Infant Care booklet at Walgreens?

        • Kimberly says:

          @Michelle….I read somewhere very recently (maybe in a comment on this website) that Walgreens diapers are made by the same company as Huggies….probably accounts for why you like WAGS diapers so much! 🙂

          • April says:

            @Jeni…The infant care booklet is normally around the cosmetics counter or pharmacy. I don’t think that all the wags has them, but if you find one hang on to it. They don’t expire for quite some time, and the cashier doesn’t need to take it.

      • Taryn says:

        Is the 15% off for signing up a one time discount or do you get it each time you order?

        Thanks.

      • Taryn says:

        I am also very interested in the Amazon diaper deals. I have always used coupons for diapers and tried to combine with sales and if possible in store coupons but am still paying an average of 20 cents per diaper which after reading this seems terribly high! I prefer Pampers but also buy a lot of Huggies (do not like Luvs).

        I am about to have my 4th baby and will have 2 in diapers at the same time (hopefully not for long).

  • Kesha says:

    im sure this will be helpful for everyone – im a newbie to all the coupon stuff so im still in a corner when it comes to all this…

    • Tiah says:

      I’m with Kesha and slowly working through cutting my grocery budget. This list is great! I am going to print it as a reference.

  • jeannie says:

    Thank you! We are trying to build our Emergency Food Suppy. I am trying to do foods that store well and the basics. Thank you!

  • Meghan says:

    Very helpful, thanks! I had picked up a long time ago that you paid no more than $1/box, and at first I thought that I could never do that….but after practicing and paying attention, I haven’t paid more than $1/box (with the exception of Kashi or Cascadian Farm and Special K for my hubby, which I’ll pay up to about $2/box for) in a long, long time. Good goals to shoot for, with the understanding that every region is different and the midwest has a much lower cost of living in general!

  • Brooke says:

    I am so glad to see your comment on the whole chicken. Every money-saving blog, book, etc. always says to buy whole chickens and shred the meat to make several meals. Great idea but YUCK, I can’t stand to pick meat off of chicken bones, makes me squemish for some reason! I would rather “splurge” on boneless, skinless breasts!

      • Laura says:

        I’m not a big fan of dark meat either although I have found that thighs seem to be getting ‘whiter’. I buy them at Costco for only $1.99 per pound and cook them in a skillet, on low, with home bar b que sauce, or wing sauce, and we eat them shredded over rice or noodles. Also, for soup, the shreded dark meat is good in chicken tortilla soup.

    • Kelly says:

      I agree! I live in Greenville, SC, and Ingles regularly (about once a month or so) has Tyson boneless, skinless chicken breasts on sale for $1.98 (or less) a pound. I don’t regularly shop at Ingles, but I will go there for the chicken. I buy several packs to stock up until the next sale comes around. Hurray for good chicken deals!

      • Lynda says:

        In Spartanburg, SC here…and yes Ingles has great deals on chicken every so often. In fact that exact sale is starting tomorrow (3/20)! 🙂

    • Rae says:

      Yeah I get b/l, s/l chicken breast at $1.69/lb or less. When it is $1.50/lb (usually 2-3 times per year) I stock up big time. The cheapest I ever see whole chickens is $.79/lb and that is rare to get that low. After factoring in that we throw away the skin, fat, and bones (yes I know you can make your own broth or stock from them but I can only use so much of that) it really isn’t that much of a price difference and a whole heck of a lot less work.

  • Paula Laird says:

    Wow! Totally impressed! I wish we had an Aldi’s here. I need to look for a parenting magazine with one of these coupons. It’s time to order diapers again. Would be interested in learning more about how you get your sunscreen free since I just paid $11 for one of the more natural/better rated brands.

    • Crystal says:

      I got it free by playing the Drugstore Game. There’s usually at least once a year where it’s free or almost-free and we rarely go through more than one tube per year. I also got some free samples last year and that’s what we used.

      (We don’t live near a beach and only go to the lake once each summer and the children have always been too little for very much swimming, so that’s why we don’t go through a lot of sunscreen. But this summer, I’m guessing we’ll be going through quite a bit more since the children are older and will be playing outside more and we’re going to do swimming lessons. I’m curious to see how much sunscreen we end up going through!)

      • Paula Laird says:

        Thanks! Skin cancer runs in the family and we’re all super pale so we go through lots of sun screen!

        • As a super pale person who is a skin cancer survivor, I spend a ton on sunscreen. Besides the drugstore game. Medco and drugstore.com have good deals sometimes. Just keep an eye out around late spring and summer. Also, many dermatologist offices have free samples and high value coupons.

        • jen says:

          we have a big family of fair skinned people, so we go through a TON of sunblock. I agree totally w yout list, I do the same. But, I never get sunblock totally free! that’s great!

      • Heather says:

        Ahh, I remember the days of one tube per summer. Now that the kids are getting older, and there are 4 of them, there is a lot more skin to cover!

        • Crystal says:

          I was just thinking about that! We’re doing swimming lessons this Summer for the first time and I’m thinking we’re going to be going through a lot more sunscreen!

          • kelly says:

            I put my kids in long sleeve rashguards in the pool in the summer. I use way less sunscreen that way which saves money and exposes my kids to fewer chemicals. We are a pale bunch, so I am also saving their skin. (Skin cancer runs on both sides of the family.) My kids also are well trained to wear hats and sunglasses all summer long.

  • LifeAsAMomma says:

    My rule of thumb for ‘stock up’ prices is anything 75% less than normal price.

  • Sarah says:

    Thanks for the list. It’s quite helpful. I have found that Walgreen’s has the best honey prices. They run their honey sale every 6 weeks or so. The 32 oz. is $3.99 in my area – Minnesota (better than the listed Aldi’s price). I know it’s not local or organic, but it’s quite a bit of honey for a low price.

    • Crystal says:

      Thanks for that tip. I’m going to check Walgreens the next time I’m there.

    • Stephanie says:

      I was going to point out Walgreens honey too. It was just on sale for $3.99 last week (32 oz) with an in-ad coupon. It seems like that sale comes around every 4-6 weeks. I always buy several since that’s what I use as a sweetener in my bread. It’s by far the best price I’ve found.

    • Brianna says:

      Yep, agreed! Walgreens is the cheapest I can find. And it’s great that it comes around so cheaply so often!
      However, it’s only that price with the in-ad coupon….I don’t think I’ve ever seen it actually be “on sale”

      • cheryl says:

        Yes Wags is where I get my honey too. The $3.99 price is the best I’ve found. Thanks for the list Crystal.

  • Lindsey says:

    Thank you thank you thank you!!! This is so incredibly helpful! You are awesome!!!! 🙂

  • Krystal says:

    We buy our ground hamburger 90/10 (or could be 92/8) from Sam’s Club in 10lb chubs usually for less than $2.25/lb or even less when the price drops. Only problem is we have to buy them in lots of 8 (which usually isn’t and issue to find someone to share them with). I keep two chubs and make meatballs, meatloaves, ground taco meat, freeze them and freeze the remaining in 1 lb increments. We make sure to call the manager in the meat dept first since meat is a commodity.

  • Amanda Ranta says:

    Yay, thanks so much!! 🙂

  • Dawn says:

    I am with you on the whole chickens. We don’t eat dark meat either. What I do though is buy the chicken breast with bone and skin when they are on sale for .99/#. I buy a couple of trays, bake them in the oven. Freeze the meat in 1 cup portions to use in recipes later. Then, I use the bones and make chicken broth. In the past I have spend a little more than 10 dollars on chicken and ended up with around 15 cups of frozen cooked chicken and 6 or more pints of broth!

    • Rachel says:

      I agree, that’s the cheapest way to get white meat. I don’t roast it though, I put it in my slow cooker with water, herbs, and onion. Then the meat just falls off the bone and shreds perfectly with no work!

  • Courtney says:

    Wow, I’m depressed now. I live in Northern California (even pricier than southern areas) and I have been trying to only stock up on sale stuff as well. The coupons for this area are terrible. (I’ve looked everywhere!) Most stores won’t take competitors coupons, and I’ve never paid anywhere near most of these prices, especially for cereal! $1!?! Wow…I’ve been trying to convince my husband to txfr to his Austin TX branch for a year now. No luck in that department. But I have scored on some of your deals that you’ve posted. Thanks for the comparison, although I truly am sad about it. My family of 4 (kids 4 and 1) has a food budget of $500 and most months I go over. We do eat whole, real and organic whenever possible though so I know my costs are higher anyway.

    • Danielle B says:

      Don’t be discouraged. Just do the best YOU can for YOUR family. It’s going to look different for everyone. I sometimes feel a little discouraged too when I start looking at what other people are saving, or what crazy deals they’re working for a few pennies. But, when I take a minute and pray, asking God to help me discern if it’s true conviction from Him or unnecessary guilt from comparing myself and my family to others, it helps clear me refocus on my task at hand- taking care of my family.

    • Lynn says:

      (((HUGS))) I’ve felt your pain. We lived in N. CA for years and the prices are outrageous compared to the midwest and elsewhere. Just do the best that you can do with the stores and deals you have and don’t compare your budget to others! 🙂 (It’s like comparing apples to oranges)

    • Crystal says:

      Don’t be discouraged. That was the reason I waited four years to post this. I was so worried it would discourage instead of inspire people.

      Please just do the best you can with the resources and options you have, don’t compare yourself (or your grocery budget!) to others and be encouraged.

      By the way, if you live in an area where prices are high, Amazon offers some pretty good deals and sales on a very regular basis — including organic cereal for less than $2 per box on occasion! Also, there are some great ideas posted in the comments here: https://moneysavingmom.com/2011/02/qa-tuesday-how-do-you-save-money-on-groceries-in-rural-areas.html

      • Cathie says:

        Your buy-prices are much more in line with ones that were recently posted for my area (Philly/South Jersey) and so thank you, because yes, I was feeling bad that I wasn’t hitting them. We just recently subscribed to our favorite coffee through Amazon, and we are now getting it DELIVERED for less than I was going to the store and buying it with a coupon! I heart Amazon, big time!

    • Marie says:

      Just do your best! Don’t make Crystal feel unecessarily guilty about the great deals she is able to get OR feel unecessarily guilty yourself. It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job (and I bet you are spending way less than other people in your neck of the woods). Good luck!

    • Julie says:

      AND hopefully higher food prices are relative to the higher incomes.

      • Lynn says:

        Not neccesarily. 🙁

        • Samantha R says:

          I’m in far Nor Cal too. We are excited that Walmart is doing price matching; we are starting to take the CVS flier in when they have a good deal on something but we don’t want to shop at CVS or get their card etc…
          Also, Walmart has a brand new coupon policy which is laid out very clearly and has been great for us!

          We’ve bought boxes of cereal for less than $1.50 fairly often now. Target has sales occasionally and with Target coupons…

          Some things are just expensive and you just have to pay the price or do without.
          California is an agricultural state but I think we export most of our stuff =/

        • Michelle says:

          We all do the best we can …. I’m from Canada so the prices are quite “foreign” to me … lol. I do know that we aren’t privy to many of the great website deals and NONE of our grocery stores price match. We just do the best we can with what we’ve got.

          Courtney, my grocery budget for our family of six (children 9, 8, 5 and 2) is $600 a month and while high by comparison to many on this site, it is a fraction of what most of my friends and neighbours are spending.

          Congratulate yourself for what you are able to accomplish … and, when in doubt, do what my MIL always says:
          Offer it up to the Lord.

          🙂

    • crystal says:

      Courtney, I understand being discouraged about things like that. I get discouraged when I see people following Dave Ramsey type plans and paying off their mortgage and other debt in 5 years and the like…we do Dave Ramsey just to be able to pay our bills and survive on our single income…we scrimp and save just to make ends meet.

      With that said, my monthly food and household budget is $150 for my family of 2 adults and 2 toddlers…simply because that is al the money I have to work with and through prayer, couponing/sales, etc. I am able to make it work and we eat GOOD, healthy things…(not junk)…we wouldn’t have $500 to spend.

      Just base things on your personal budget, finances, tastes, etc and don’t get down by comparing it to someone else who may have different circumstances. Hugs to you 🙂

    • Jana says:

      Bummer on the high prices : ( Bummer on the lousy coupons too. Could you possible subscribe to a Sunday paper from a different area of the country? Our local paper has terrible coupons, but the Star Tribune out of Minneapolis has MANY more coupons, so that is the paper I buy. I know some of couponing friends subscribe and have it delivered. HTH!

    • Ashley P says:

      Wow! You manage on a budget of $500 for a family of 4?! I live in So. Florida, and there aren’t many deal here either. Publix has pretty much driven every other supermarket out of business, and now that they have a monopoly, they charge whatever they want. There’s just me and hubby, and we’re spending $240/month just on food! I’ve tried cutting the grocery bill down, but with no competition and Sam’s not accepting coupons, it just isn’t possible. We live mostly on soup, ground beef, and pasta. (Not that I’m complaining. Hubby’s rigatoni is to die for!) A few of us in the apartment complex have started a rotating shift where every week, we provide burgers and the like for a cookout by the pool. Since there are 3 families involved, we only have to buy that stuff every 3rd week. The other families bring something else, like sodas or chips, and since I do use coupons and Publix BOGO deals to get my Betty Crocker stuff for mere pocket change, I ALWAYS bring the dessert.

      Do the best you can for your family, and let God handle the rest. I can only hope when we have kids (we’re planning for 2 years from now) we can keep our budget as low as yours!

    • Emily says:

      We have the same $500/month food budget for our family of 4 (kids are 6 and almost 3), and we live in the midwest where I can get some great deals. I also but a lot of organic, at least produce, so that does contribute. I also work full-time and don’t have nearly the time I used to have to scope out the deals, organize my coupons and shop at multiple stores. I think you’re doing great with the same budget in CA!!

    • Catherine says:

      I feel the exact same way you do Courtney! We are in central California where you would think prices would be a little less expensive because we have such an abundance at our fingertips, but somehow it is not. Our family food budget is $500 for a family of 5 and I am trying to cut it down to $400 and less would obviously be better! I shop all the sales and use what coupons I have. I only buy whole foods and very few processed foods but every I fight the budget every week/month. I feel like there has to be some magic key somewhere to unlock the secret of surviving on less but still feeding my family a very healthy diet. We are pretty health concious but with 3 growing kids under 6 that seem to snack/eat often it is difficult to do with less. If I was to do with less it would seem as if I was starving my kids…at least to me! I keep moving forward hoping that someday the food budget won’t be such a source of frustration.

    • Koree says:

      yes you should not be bummed courtney! just think by feeding your family a organic, healthy diet you are saving on future medical bills. it is hard to find deals on items that don’t contain GMOs and are organic. sometimes you have to spend to save. (easier said than done).

  • MrsK says:

    How do you get enough free sunscreen? I rarely see coupons, and when they are available, they might be a $1 or $2 off a $10 bottle 🙁

    • Crystal says:

      The Drugstore Game! I was able to get free sunscreen at least twice each year when we had a CVS and I played the Drugstore Game. Last year, I got some free full-sized samples and that’s what we’ve used for sunscreen this past year.

      • Jenna says:

        My family is very pale and skin cancer runs in the family also. What I have found, is to stock up right after summer, when stores are putting sunblock on clearance. It is usually still good for a year or two and I have gotten them really cheap/free with coupons.

  • Shannon says:

    This is great! Thanks for taking the time to share, it really helps a lot! In what part of the country do you live, Crystal?

  • Ann says:

    Can you post your recipe for homemade syrup. I would like to switch from the cheap “fake” maple syrup to real maple syrup but it’s so expensive. Homemade wouldn’t be “real” maple syrup, but better than the store bought stuff.

  • Bethany says:

    Thanks for the list! I was just thinking this afternoon about a certain item and wondering if I was really getting a good deal… this website has ROCKED MY WORLD! My husband is in seminary, we are paying off loans and living on my salary- using the tips on this site, we now have an emergency fund set-up, paid off my car and my 1st school loan. Praise the Lord!!

  • thanks for sharing all of this…i’ve recently started shopping at aldi and am loving some of their prices. 🙂

  • Danielle B says:

    Thanks for sharing! I love having a more solid idea of ranges to work towards in shopping the sales with coupons!

  • Carolyn says:

    Do you know that you can buy a lean cut bottom round roast on sale for approx. $1.89 to $2.29 and have the meat cutter ground it for hamburger. It’s usually about 90 to 95% lean. Hugh savings from buying prepackage hamburger.

    • Sue says:

      Thanks, Carolyn, that’s great to know!

    • ediehardy says:

      Oh, Carolyn beat me to it! A little old lady in Food Lion turned me on to this trick a couple of years ago. That makes the VERY BEST hamburger, so nice and lean, and makes amazing meat loaf.

    • corie says:

      meat cutter? like the guy at the deli or a machine that grinds it up at home? please explain. ive never heard this before. i cant stand paying more than 3$ lb for ground beef… thanks

      • Carolyn says:

        At the Meat Counter, the case where all the different cuts of meats are, not the Deli. There should be a bell or buzzer, just buzz them and the meat cutter will come to your assistance. They do this free of charge, just ask them.
        I have also had large Turkeys cut in half, Pork Roast ground etc.

    • Liz M says:

      What a great idea! Thank you!!

    • Sherri says:

      Sometimes Kroger or Food Lion will have whole sirloin tips on sale for $1.99/lb. When that happens, I buy 1 (12+ lbs) and have the butcher cut some into steaks, some into roasts, and the rest into hamburger. Sometimes I will split one with a friend if I don’t have enough room in the freezer for all of that.

  • Meghan says:

    Loved this list, thanks!

  • Missy says:

    Speaking of amazon and diapers I have similac checks that I would LOVE to trade for $10 off amazon codes. Let me know if you want to trade! marissa_rostad@hotmail(dot)com

  • Jenna says:

    Well now I’m depressed. The stores we have around here in NH don’t offer anything like what you get, aside from the drugstore deals. I see your posts about how much you spend per trip and am floored!
    BTW- if you get the right recipe, the bits and pieces from the chicken all taste the same. That’s one thing I pride myself on is getting 3-4 meals out of a roaster!

    • Crystal says:

      Don’t be discouraged, okay? And hey, if you have a Rite Aid or CVS, I’m just a wee bit jealous. 🙂

    • Carolyn says:

      I am from the Lakes Region in NH, what area are you in NH and maybe I can help. I do about the same as most of the prices listed and better on some items. Been doing couponing for a very long time and have got the cycles down to a science.

    • Jennifer says:

      Don’t be depressed…I live in Western Kansas (“Midwest” like Crystal and even I don’t get these good of deals!!! Just do what you can do! When I first began couponing I would be discouraged when I would read on a blog how someone got the exact same item for less than what I paid…then I realized that with my sale/coupon matching I am spending less than I was before and that’s all that really matters!

      • Allison V. says:

        My aunt lives in Ulysses and she also bemoans the high prices there! You’re right, every little bit helps!

      • Sheila says:

        I just about have a cow when I visit my grandparents in Oakley, KS and have to do some grocery shopping (it’s nearly twice the cost of the same products here!)

  • Julie C says:

    Great list! You all really should try the dark meat of chicken or turkey in pot pie, soup or one of your normal main dishes (casseroles or tacos maybe?)

    I just cooked up one of my $3.25 turkeys from thanksgiving and had 2 plus pounds of sliced white meat and 2 meals (8 eaters) of dark meat. Real sliced turkey is so much more filling than lunch meat which is injected with water and fillers; even on sale you are paying for a lot of water over meat in lunch meat.

    • Emily says:

      Julie I’m curious. Do you then freeze your cooked, sliced white meat turkey breast? I’m trying really hard to get away from lunchmeat, but we really like turkey and ham sandwiches for lunch (plus they are super easy and convenient). I can’t see cooking a turkey breast every weekend though to give us the fresh meat. If I knew I could freeze it and use it throughout the month for sandwiches, I might be able to do one turkey breast per month or something.

      • Julie C says:

        I have frozen my cooked meats in broth but everyonce in a while I’m not thrilled with the results; when that happens, I make the meat into chicken or turkey salad (simple with mayo and herbs) and my husband thinks it is delicious.

        We are a family of 9 so we can eat 2 meals of turkey in one week and still enjoy a family lunch of turkey breast sandwiches on Saturday (splurge!) and still get enough sandwiches for a week for my husband.

        Perhaps we eat smaller servings than most people?

        • Julie C says:

          Forgot to add, I encourage you to freeze one serving and see how you like it before you freeze the whole batch. We’ve seen studies on men’s cancer being related to the preservatives in lunch meat and that is what made us question his daily lunch meat since he is the only one that was eating it here.

        • Jessica says:

          We also do the same with Spiral cut ham. When it goes on sale right around each holiday, I buy one, we eat it one night for dinner, ham sandwiches (1.79 lb versus deli ham 7.99) for lunches, ham &cheese quiche and finish off the bone with split pea and ham soup. It’s expensive but we eat all week for it.

  • Amy says:

    You can make your own Syrup? How? I think that’s fantastic!

  • Ana says:

    MrsK , you get a deal if you combine a sale (usually before or even better after summer) when prices are low on sunscreen, its the time that you use your coupon. If you have RR from walgreens or ECB from CVS combine them with the sale price and a coupon from the manufacture. You can either send manufacture a comment and/or suggestion, ask for a coupon politely. Always look out for “Peel off coupon” from the product and the ones we get in the Sunday Newspaper.

  • Ellen says:

    Thanks for posting this! It felt really good to see that many of my target prices line up with yours and everyone else’s, with just a few exceptions!

    One more question: so, um, what’s your target price for pepperidge farm milano cookies? 🙂

  • Heather says:

    Nothing better than some roasted-in-the-oven dark chicken with juicy, crispy skin! Mmmmm! Can’t imagine why not everyone agrees with me!

    • Crystal says:

      I’ll send all my dark meat your way, okay? 🙂

      • Jennifer says:

        My daughter and I like the white and my husband and son like the dark so it works out for us. But, we just don’t care for any of the recipes that call for shredded cooked chicken. Maybe, it’s a issue with texture or something.

        I roast a few marinated whole chickens when we have extended family over since it is such a cheap meal. Chicken pieces roasted with potato wedges in olive oil, garlic and rosemary also are cheap and go over well.

  • becky says:

    My favorite part — “but I would buy it if it were free.”

  • Jenny says:

    This is so encouraging to me! We’re in Minnesota, so our food costs aren’t usually too high. Right around national averages or a little lower (I can still get a gallon of milk for $2.19 at Sam’s!). I shop primarily at Sam’s Club, Aldi and Hy-Vee and between these 3 stores, I usually match or beat the prices you listed! I have never, however, seen roasts or steaks as low as your prices. I need to do some more investigating into that!

  • Casey says:

    Thank you so much for the list!! In line with your video lessons, this gives me starting point to learn and compare!

  • Sarah says:

    Crystal–do you work your stock up goods into your monthly grocery budget, or do you have another envelope for stock up goods? If I see a good deal and stock up, I always feel like I’m cheating my $50-60/week budget by buying things I won’t use for weeks or months!

    • LifeAsAMomma says:

      I know you were asking Crystal your question, but I just had someone ask me the exact same thing and I noticed Crystal hadn’t answered you yet so I thought I would add my 2 cents.
      I have a set amount for my monthly groceries and then I also allot myself a certain amount to use on stock up items. If I don’t use all the stock up money, I either save it or add it to next week’s stock up fund just in case I find more deals than the week before.
      So for my regular grocery fund I allot myself $60/week and for my stock up fund I allot myself $20/week. If my $20 doesn’t cover all the stock up items I find, then I simply just miss out on something that week. I have to remind myself that there will be more deals at another time! But usually I have left over from weeks before so I usually can get all my stock up deals each week.
      I can’t wait to see Crystal’s suggestion on this issue. I am very curious! : )

    • Suzy says:

      A rule of thumb that I use with my $50 a week budget is $40 towards items needed that week and $10 towards stocking up.

      Notice I did not stay Stock Pile.

      Two weeks ago, I spent $20 on soups for my husbands lunches and so last week I spent $50 on food but not for future items that might have been a good deal.

      Some weeks I might see a great deal on meat so I buy a larger amount but then for the next 3 weeks, I will not need to purchase meat giving me a larger wiggle room.

      Take it slow and you will be surprised at how quickly things add up. After a while you might be able to skip the store except for milk and eggs for a week.

      Good luck. I hope this helps.

  • Michelle says:

    I know you commented that no one in your family likes dark meat (as meat alone I don’t either), but I didn’t know if you knew that all chicken in Chinese take out is dark (b/s thighs) and real Mexican (usually cooked chicken thigh quarters that is shredded. If you ever find an outstanding deal maybe try cooking it up outside of your normal comfort level? Maybe come up with a new family favorite? By they way, that was in no way a Critism against buying a not always as frugal item! everyone deserves their certain must haves! 🙂

  • Maureen says:

    I get most if not all my personal care and laundry and cleaning products for FREE! Food is often times at least 75% off!

  • Heather says:

    I wasn’t couponing last summer so I am hoping to get some deals on good quailty sunscreen. I think I read in a comment above that you stocked up from playing “The Drug Store Game” I will certainly be keeping my eyes open for any deal. I have had four rounds of skin cancer and my husband has had two. I hate putting chemicals all over my skin and my kid’s skin but we still need a lot of sunblock. (a necessary evil but at least some of the companies are waking up and we have found products that don’t have as much nasty stuff in them) We wear Rash Guard shirts over our suits and big hats (and I always put my boys in very long swim trunks – below their knees) so there is less of the skin that is exposed. They do summer camp, a lot of time at the shore, and we always spend at least two weeks on vacation in some National Park mountain hiking so sun protection is a must!

  • Elysha says:

    “If it’s free, I’ll buy it.” That seriously has to be the best thing you’ve ever written. 

    • Jennifer says:

      In a way you are “buying” the free item cause we do have to pay sales tax around here–8.5%…even on free items.

      • Chris says:

        Not every state taxes food — or instance, the state I live in.

      • Sarah says:

        In my area, coupons come off before tax is applied. So, if I’m getting a free item, it really is free. I have walked out of stores with bags of stuff literally paying nothing.
        And, food is tax-free.

        • Jennifer says:

          In regards to my comment, I was referring to me and where I live…maybe it didn’t come out the way I intended. I do realize that some places do not tax food and coupons are rang up differently in different places…I was only referring to when I get a “free” item I do have to pay the tax. Also, I am taxed on the amount before coupons are taken off, so if my total is $100 but $15 after coupons, I pay almost $9.00 tax!

  • Christy says:

    Thanks for posting! I’ve always been curious about this!!!

  • Elysha says:

    It’s actually “…but I would buy them if they were free.”

    How soon till you become a millionaire?

  • Elysha says:

    Because you have adopted many of the habits of the rich. It’s inspiring.

  • This is a great list! My problem is that even when there is a good deal available on something, sometimes I won’t stock up because maybe there will be an even better deal coming later. And then the hoped-for better deal never shows up… I’ll use this list as a signal to tell me to go ahead and buy because it’s a good enough deal.

  • marg says:

    How much do you usually get your broth for? It’s hard to find it under $2…

    • Crystal says:

      I usually make it myself or use bouillon cubes as it’s much cheaper that way. Aldi has the best regular price on it that I’ve seen.

      • Crystal says:

        This may be a silly question, but how do you make it? Does this make it have less sodium, too?

        • crystal B. says:

          Wow…too many Crystal’s!!! lol… moneysavingmom Crystal and I were typing at near the same time 🙂

          Anyway…it is super easy to make…you can find great recipes online, but basically just water and seasonings in with the chicken and slow cook it…then you save the broth/drippings. I usually do it when I’m slow cooking chicken or other things (soup, chicken & dumplings, etc.) and then just save out some of the broth and drippings to put in a ziploc bag or 2 for the freezer for when I do need it.

        • Wendy says:

          When you boil meat, the water you’ve cooked the meat in, is your broth. I usually add extra water when I cook chicken or beef and that way I have enough to freeze in quart jars. You can add salt or not. I think the broth you buy in the store is not fit to eat.

    • crystal says:

      make your own 🙂 You can make it and save it and it’s really not that hard of a process…I HATE paying for broth.

    • Emily says:

      I make mine….would never go back to store-bought. Ugh!

      It is so easy – here’s a post about my experience:

      http://ourfrugalhappylife.blogspot.com/2010/10/freezer-cooking-part-1.html

      Laura from Heavenly Homemakers has a fantastic tutorial – that’s where I learned “how.” I linked to her in my post.

  • Angie says:

    Thank You for all your help. I started couponing about a year ago and I have never had such a stock pile of stuff for so cheap in my life. I have had people ask my in the check out lines how I find the deals. I send them all to you. I have friends from work hooked now too. My husband now says Fry’s (Kroger) has pictures of my sister and I saying Fry’s most unwanted. LOL We love the deals. Thanks for everything.

  • April says:

    Thanks so much for the list Crystal!!! This really is a BIG help 😉

  • Tracy K says:

    Thanks!! I love saving money!

  • Marie says:

    Thanks for the long list! Most of my buy prices are about the same, but I’ve been watching grocery ads religiously for 2 years and have never seen butter for $1.69/lb! I buy 4-6 lb. whenever it is $1.99 and freeze it. Also, I can’t seem to get YJ/YK Amazon codes to stack so my diapers still aren’t $0.04 each – more like $0.10 with one code or the other, which is still good.

    • Crystal says:

      Aldi had some great prices on butter last year. It was even below $1.50 for a few weeks! It’s now up higher, but I’m hoping (probably wistfully!) for another sale!

      • I’ve been trying to make anything that is made from animal products from organic foods, and make more foods from home. I’m trying to do a little at a time, and am currently about making my own butter and cheese, so that I would know what’s in them.

        I found a farmer in our area who will sell non-homogenized milk, which has cream at the top. And, while it wouldn’t come even close to beating Costco’s super-low cheese prices, I would think it would be much cheaper than the organic cheese and butter I’ve been price checking.

        If Crystal, or anyone else has had success making home-made cheese and butter, I’d be really interested in hearing about it – recipes/techniques, and if you think it’s cheaper than buying organic at the store.

        • crystal B. says:

          I looked at making homemade butter and cheese but it was going to be WAY more expensive than I could get it otherwise (not to mention a long drawn out process with a lot of steps)….good luck to you though, it might pay for you since you buy organic.

        • Rachel says:

          Butter is easy. Growing up we had a Jersey cow and had all the milk and cream we wanted! We would skim the cream off the milk, put it in a gallon glass jar, screw the special lid on it that had a motorized paddle and let it make butter. When it was all lumpy we took it out, rinsed it under water squeezing until the water was clear, salted it to taste and stored it in a container in the fridge until it was used up.
          Another way to do it without the motorized lid was to put it in a quart jar and shake it until it became mostly solid then proceed with the rinsing. My brothers and I would roll it across the livingroom floor to each other!
          Even now if I get a little extra cream I’ll just put it in a glass quart jar and shake it up! Easy!

        • Allie says:

          You can put cream in a Kitchen Aid stand mixer with the paddle attachment and have butter in 20 mins without any work. Once the butter is solid clumps, use the remaining “butter milk” for baking. I do not think it is necessarily cheaper but it tastes great and my daughter thought it was “cool” to make her own butter.

  • WillowK says:

    We’re not big fans of dark meat chicken either, except in certain recipes. I am an incredibly picky eater (super taster gene) and I actually don’t taste the difference when we use dark meat in freezer meals such as chicken lasagna or enchiladas.

    We don’t even use the oven or stove top to cook our chicken up for freezer cooking days. The night before, we put all the chicken in our large crock pot with 1/2 to 1 cup of water and let it cook until we’re ready to get started the next day. The meat just falls off the bones and shreds easily (if we didn’t buy boneless) and we’re left with fresh chicken stock at the same time that isn’t full of salt.

  • Wow! you’ve inspired me even more, Crystal. I need to relook at the prices I pay. Even for natural and organic foods I know there are sale cycles, I just don’t know what they are 🙂

    I also, need to take the plunge and try a different grocery store in our city (local co-op). I’ve been wanting to check it out for a long time because I’ve heard the prices are better, but have resisted because the selection isn’t quite as good and I’ve been afraid of having to go to both stores to buy what we need.

    Our spring break is next week, and my younger sister will be staying with us while the dorms are closed. I think I’ll venture a shopping trip to compare prices. The two of us should be able to keep the kids happy during a longer than normal shopping day 🙂

    Thanks again! I love when we can eat on less because any excess in our grocery budget goes straight to buying food to deliver or make for others. Thanks for helping us be a blessing!

  • Bethany says:

    I didn’t see anything about coffee…now that’s pretty crucial. 😉

    • Crystal says:

      Would you believe that it’s been years since I’ve purchased coffee to brew at home? I drink it on occasion, but I somehow accumulated quite a little stash of free samples, so I’ve slowly just been working my way through those!

      If anyone wants to chime in on the best coffee stock-up prices, I’d love to know.

      • Jenn says:

        My husband drinks a lot of coffee, but he’s fairly picky about what he drinks. He’s found one certain type of Folgers he likes, and the cheapest I ever see it is $5.99 for the large tub (regularly priced between $7 and $8). Often there are coupons out ranging from 25 cents to $1. So, my stock up price is $5 for the large tub. If I buy “fancier” coffees for him (such as Seattle’s Best), it’s probably around $4 for a bag with coupons and sales.

        • Karen says:

          We have a Kroger here and often times I will find the big gallon size Maxwell House go on their Mega events for 4.99 and there is almost always a .50 coupons that doubles. So I normally stock up on that deal and pay 3.99! Otherwise 5 is a good price!

      • Michelle says:

        We are coffee snobs, not for brand but just insist on whole bean. My stock up price for whole bean is less than $4/lb. It often goes on sale for $4/12 oz. package, but its rarer that its $4/lb.

        In case there are any other whole-bean users out there.

      • Jennifer says:

        We’ve gone to roasting our own coffee. We buy high quality bags of green coffee beans for around $4.25 a lb. and roast them air popcorn poppers we buy at thrift stores. It takes about 5 minutes to roast 1/2 a lb. We are coffee snobs and this saves us a lot. Plus, nothing compares to fresh roasted coffee. Sweetmarias.com is where we buy our beans. The popcorn poppers are usually around $1.50 at thrift shops.

      • Bethany says:

        I’m a huge coffee snob, and I’ve had to lower my standards because my favorite brands were just too pricey. I like Starbucks, and when there are coupons out, I get that at a local grocery chain here that doubles, and even better, they have a Starbucks keiosk inside! I recently won a $20 Starbucks giftcard, so I dragged as much mileage out of it as possible. I would buy the bagged coffee at the keiosk instead of in the grocery isle and they would still double my coupon and I could use my gift card. Plus, bringing in the empy bags gets you a free tall coffee.
        I also just got a shipment of Melitta coffee yesterday from amazon. I went thru the amazon mom subscribe and save section and got 4 10.5 oz cans for $11.99 shipped. This is considerably less than the grocery store since I never see coupons for this brand and it’s regularly at least $8 a can. And boy is it good, I’m sipping my first cup right now.
        I love coffee. 🙂

      • Anna says:

        I have got so much free coffee in the last year from different companies. We don’t even drink coffee that much but I did buy some coffee after Xmas at Target. They had little bags in the dollar section for 25 cents so I bought quite a few of those. 🙂 I would not know how much coffee cost but I know Amazon.com has good sales periodically.

    • crystal says:

      If you have a Wal-Mart you can get the small prepacks of Millstone for free right now with a coupon that’s out…there are really small packages, but they are free! Otherwise, I’m thinking drugstore game is a good way to go…I only have a RA around here but I know it’s been cheap (as low as FREE for rite aid brand, and cheap for others).

    • ann says:

      You can also find the small jars of Folgers/Maxwell house coffee @ $2.50 each on sale at CVS every few weeks. Combined with a $1/1 or $1.50/1 q makes for some cheap coffee. I don’t pay more than $1.50/jar(small) and stock up when the price is that low. hth 🙂

  • Julie says:

    I typically dont pay more than .50 for Hormel always tender pork and for the breakfast chops I typically dont pay more than $1.00. I have such a stockpile of stuff and have bought things so cheap that really my goal is not to pay more than $1.00 per item. Most of the same things on your list is the same prices I pay…I usually try to get everything free or money maker..fruit, veggies, milk and diapers seem to be the thing I spend the most on but I also run a home daycare.

  • Yvonne says:

    Crystal,
    You can get chocolate chips at Target (21st and Greenwich) for $1.47 a bag for the Market Pantry brand. That’s the kind we always get now that Aldi’s has gotten more expensive (I remember when they were $.99!)

    • Crystal says:

      Oh, thank you for that tip! I’ve not thought to look at Target!

    • Mary C says:

      Target or Aldi brand comparable in taste to Nestle Toll house? We haven’t had chips in a long time and we are wanting our muffins and cookies SOON. 🙂

    • Sheila says:

      Thanks for that tip! I was frustrated the other day when I went to get choco chips at Aldi’s and they weren’t 99cents anymore! I checked Walmart, didn’t even think about Target!

    • crystal B. says:

      No Aldi’s here…and at Save-A-Lot, they are $1.79…There were some at Kroger, their Kroger-Value brand (the plain white packages) for $1.65 but then they got recalled due to an undeclared allergen–milk product. I was so sad because they had to pull them all. Every once in a while there will be a Nestle deal around here where we can get them for $1.50 and I get really excited.

    • flutemom says:

      we buy our nestle’s choc chips in the 72 oz bag at costco (and try to wait until there’s a costco coupon for them for $2 off per bag- limit 2). i think it’s $8.79/bag (comparable price $1.47/12 oz bag of choc chips)

  • sharlene says:

    Luv this! I’ve started my own several times, and just got discouraged. This makes it so much easier with just a few tweaks. Thanks.

  • Julie says:

    What a wonderful post! Thank you, this is just what I needed! Together with this and what seasons to stock up on certain items is a surefire way to get great deals. 🙂

  • Shelley says:

    I think the part where it reads that you get diapers for free through swagbucks earnings should actually read “I get diapers free thanks to my loyal readers that sign up under me, who help me earn lots of swagbucks” because not everyone is so fortunate to reap such rewards off swagbucks because they don’t have the podium to collect referrals as you do. That’s where I find bias in the list….not in the variations of the prices, but in the fact that it’s not realistic for us (without a massive following) to seek to achieve that goal. (which is not a regionally priced thing anyway.) Just like the ipad and everything else that you get free because of your readers help you earn it or because companies send them to you so that you can share your opinion with the readers. I’m not trying to be ‘hateful’ about it, but realistic….because when you share this information, someone develops a goal based on what they see you doing and it’s important to be real about how some of it is achieved.

    • Crystal says:

      While I am blessed to have readers who sign up under me, it’s actually quite realistic for people to be able to pay for all their diapers with Swagbucks — if you’re willing to put forth some effort. Stay tuned tonight because a post is going up with details on how to earn 100 Swagbucks every day — without referrals. 🙂 That’s enough for $25+ in Amazon gift cards every month. And if you stack that $25 with the Amazon diaper codes, you can easily pay for diapers and wipes for two (maybe even three) children for free! 🙂

      By the way, long before I knew about Swagbucks or had this blog, I got all our diapers for free by playing the Drugstore Game. So I believe that everything — including the free diapers — on this list is achievable for anyone, provided they live in an area with decent prices and sales and multiple stores. You don’t need a blog to get great deals on groceries. 🙂

      • Jenn says:

        I just wanted to affirm what Crystal wrote. I don’t have a blog and (while I’ve done Swagbucks for over 2 years), I’ve never had anyone sign up for me. My baby’s 8 months old, and I almost never pay for diapers for him. If you do the drugstore game (Rite Aid), and do the Amazon Mom deals combined with just one or two $5 Swagbucks gift cards, you really can get them free.

        • Melissa says:

          I agree. I don’t even use Swagbucks for diapers and I rarely have to pay for them as long as I stock up when I can get them free at CVS or Walgreens or through Amazon. I have bought them before, but through fault of my own (laziness in not couponing) or crazy situations where I do not have access to my stockpile (we travel a lot currently due to some crazy circumstances and I’m not always near our house). Right now with the Amazon deals, I go hunting for Baby talk magazines whenever I am anywhere that has magazines (waiting rooms, dr. offices, etc.) or get codes from other people who do not use them to try to stockpile in every size that I can for our new baby coming. I will have 3 in diapers this spring, so if I can do it without Swagbucks, anyone can. =) (provided there is a drugstore within 45 minutes of them or they have access to amazon right now). I have used various methods to get free magazines (parents, babytalk, etc.) in order to score free codes as well- surveys, mycokerewards, random free deals, etc. Then I search on amazon to find whatever diapers the $10 off + 20% off will score me for free and that’s what I order. This month alone I’ve ordered 8 huge boxes of free diapers as my husband has an amazon account and I do as well and other friends have used the codes to order under their accounts as well. I wish I had a ton of swagbuck referrals, I’m trying, but I only have 1 and it’s not producing any swagbucks for me. 🙂 So it is possible if you are patient and stockpile!

      • Jamie says:

        Looking forward to the post tonight. I’ll stay tuned!

    • Lise says:

      I’ve not been successful with the Swagbucks gig either. The points were so miniscule that I stopped doing it because it was more work than I was getting from it. Glad for others that they’re able to make it work, though.

      • Crystal says:

        Did you try watching Swagbucks TV? You can earn up to 75 points per day with it. It’s a great way to earn if you’re on the computer a lot during the day!

        • Shelley says:

          I’m very active in Swagbucks – and have no referrals under me….but $25 a month in Amazon GCs does not seem realistic even with the suggestions you posted tonight. And to be honest, I am shocked that you would suggest putting forth that much time into it. I read your blog daily and you tend to focus a lot on time versus money. I believe you have even said that you have found surveys to not to be worth your time – and personally, I have less time in surveys and I make more at that than I do swagbucks. Just because it ‘can’ be done doesn’t mean that it’s realistic…we’ve all got families and responsibilities. This site is about moms, after all. And just to be fair, I felt it worth mentioning….

          • Crystal says:

            Thanks for chiming in! You are definitely right that I think it’s very important to consider what is the best return on our investment of time. The reason I posted this series was not so that people would feel like they needed to do all of these things, but to just give people ideas for ways to earn more Swagbucks. Not all of these ideas will work for everyone, but some of them will work well for some people. And that’s why I share them here… to give people ideas and then to encourage you to decide what works best for you.

            I’m not sure if you saw the breakdown, but I show how you can earn $25 in Amazon gift cards every month. Yes, it would take some effort and yes, it might not be something that everyone would want to put the time and effort into, but it’s *possible*. And that’s what I wanted people to see… that you don’t have to have referrals in order to earn a good amount of Swagbucks. For those who have a job which requires them to be on the computer for hours at a time each day, playing the Swagbucks videos while working is a great way to multi-task. It will only actually take a few extra minutes added up over the course of a few hours and you can earn up to 75 Swagbucks per day. And by doing this, you could earn 100 Swagbucks per day in less than 15 minutes of your actual time spent dedicated to it. For some — especially those who are on a very tight budget where every penny matters — that would be very worth the effort.

            However, Swagbucks might not be something you find worth your time. If not, you can skip these posts guiltlessly, okay? As I always say, just do what works for you and don’t feel badly if something that works well for someone else doesn’t work for you!

            I hope that clarifies things for you. Please feel free to email me if you have further questions or concerns. I’m always happy to try and address things.

            Have a wonderful day!

        • ann says:

          Crystal,
          On another note, it would be great if you could initiate a post where you or your readers(in comments) could list the best deals they have found on amazon. It would help because I find many things to be expensive on amazon.

    • crystal B. says:

      Two points:

      1. I agree with you to some extent…I was just telling my hubby the other day that some things are “easier” for blog owners–like on that extreme couponing show and the KCL lady had TONS of free coupons–these are sent to regular people occasionally, but big blog owners get frees a lot more often from companies who are wanting advertising, etc. And, I’m sure it is much easier for the swag bucks and that kind of things as well.

      2. With that being said, I actually find her prices to be very realistic…Her list is quite similar to mine, with some of mine being a little higher and some a little lower based on region. And, since I started the drugstore game (I am LUCKY that in my small little town, I have Dollar General, Family Dollar, Save a lot, and RITE AID!!!–that’s it, but I do have RA)…anyway, for the past year I have gotten the following for FREE–ALL household cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, dish detergent, diapers, baby wash, wipes, toothpaste, toothbrushes, OTC medicines, occasional soda/treat splurges which we otherwise couldn’t afford, make up, shampoo/conditioner, razors/shaving gel, socks, pacifiers/baby toys, candy, chips, body wash, deoderant…

      I don’t mean that I get them for free every once in a while…I mean that I haven’t paid for any of those items for our family in the past year. So, it is entirely possible for a regular person to do that…I don’t “buy” coupons either. And, in addition to all of those things I get other stuff too, like some food items and other random items free at rite aid.

      • Emily says:

        Are you willing to get whatever brand is free on any of those items you listed above? I have been able to get a good amount of things free, but some things we prefer a certain brand and I have a hard time getting them free. For instance, my husband prefers either Mitchum or Sure deodorant. I can get Mitchum for maybe $1 or $1.25 at CVS (depending of the coupon that is out) or Sure for $.50 at Walgreens, but I have never been able to get either for free.

        • crystal B. says:

          Two things,

          1. Our allowable budget is $150 per month for ALL household and food items. We are dictated by finances more than preferences and I’m not ashamed to say that. It just means that we are being responsible by our family. Yeah, I prefer certain things over others, but I have to think about what’s best for my entire family, and what fits in our very tight budget.

          2. In playing the “drug store game” there are often chances to make money (for example a few weeks ago they had motrin 20 ct. for $3, with a $3 UP reward, and a $6/2 coupon out. So, you just made $3 per box (CVS and Walgreens do the same types of things), if there are things we prefer that we can’t get cheap or free–my hubby says that ONLY mucinex will work for him, so that is all he will use despite all the other similar meds that I can get for nothing–I get those with my extra “rite aid money” and it is still free to me.

          It’s defintely a game of sacrifice/compromise.

      • Shelley says:

        Amen to your point #1! I’m glad someone shares my view! It’s a fact – and as much as it keeps being denied and disputed, it’s very much the case! More power to them for having that advantage – it is good for them! I would just feel better if some of these ‘benefits’ weren’t so hidden from the readers. Our available avenues aren’t as yielding and therefore we look for ways that are more realistic and relatable to our lives. I think sometimes blog owners start off “just like the rest of us” but then shift away and become more about making money from their blog instead of connecting as it use to be. (and no, I’m not speaking about Crystal – I’m just sharing my concerns in general – I don’t just read this blog, I read anywhere from 20-30 a day.) Again, it’s good for them…but from a reader’s standpoint it can get frustrating.

        • Crystal says:

          I know that sometimes people get frustrated because bloggers have an advantage, but I just want to gently remind you that anyone can start a blog — for free! 🙂

          You can read my Blogging for Profit series here:
          https://moneysavingmom.com/downloads/income-earning-ideas

          Yes, there are lots of wonderful perks to blogging, but I will be the first to tell you that it is a LOT of hard work. In fact, my team combined puts in over 90 hours per week to run this blog. So while the rewards might seem nice (and they are!), it’s important to remember that they didn’t come without a lot of sacrifice, diligence and discipline on the blogger’s part.

          But it’s also important to remember that blogging is truly something *anyone* can do. You don’t need a blogging degree and you don’t have to spend anything to set up a blog. I truly believe that anyone can be a successful blogger if they are willing to put forth the time and effort and patience to stick with it.

          That said, finding the balance between being relateable and realistic while being open and honest that this blog earns a good income for our family is constantly a challenge and I don’t profess to know how to do it perfectly. However, if you ever see me hiding “benefits” or perks or anything from anyone, please come knock me over the forehead. It is highly important to me that I am 100% open and honest in blogging. I am here to help you — which is why I turn down dozens of opportunities each month to make a quick buck because it doesn’t benefit my readers.

          Helping you save money always has been and always will be my first priority. If you ever feel like it’s anything but that, please email me because I want to know.

          • ann says:

            Crystal, your blog has NEVER come across as a marketing website (unlike many others). Your articles and tips are very inspiring. I have read other blogs, but am stuck to MSM because your blog is not a Sales pitch! What you earn is something you truly deserve!
            I don’t go to my office to work for free. 😉
            Goodluck and keep up the good work !

          • ann says:

            And I must add that I have stopped running after deals and have reduced my wants… thanks to your blog. My life is simplified and I’ve saved good money and sanity following your tips. Love the time I can spend with my family and friends. Thank You.

          • Leah says:

            I just want to chime in and add that I’ve never felt like you were trying to unfairly make a profit off your readers (the way I feel about some blogs I read). I would have found the original comment a little hurtful, honestly (but maybe I am just sensitive?), so I hope you weren’t offended by it. I find you to be very sensitive towards your readers.
            Also, I use Swagbucks ONLY as a search engine, exactly the same way I used google previously, and I earn $5/month in Amazon GCs. Not much, but I usually use it to buy printer ink or coconut oil. One less thing I’d have to buy on my own. It’s not much, but it requires no time investment on my part.
            I get diapers for free from drugstores. I combine $x/$x coupons, MQs, store Qs and ECBs/Ups and get them for free. I also cloth diaper, so I don’ t need to buy them as frequently as some other moms (usually just use them overnight), but I still get them for free.

  • Michelle says:

    I’m in Canada and we don’t have anything NEAR the deals available in the US. Still, couponing helps … especially when stacked with a sale. And stock piling.

    We all do what we can … and even though my grocery budget for our family of six (children 9, 8, 5 and 2) is roughly 10 times what Chrystal spends ($600 a month!) it is still just a fraction of what most of my friends and neighbours are spending!

    • Carrie says:

      Michelle – I am totally with you on this! But thankfully, there is still ALOT we Canadians can do too! I constantly have cashiers asking me where I get all my coupons, and I am definitely spending less than my neighbors too.

  • Michelle says:

    Having trouble commenting … but just wanted to say, here in Canada, our deals are nothing like what you all have! Kudos!!

    I do what I can to coupon and stack with a sale … every little bit helps, right?!

    • Leah Nissly says:

      I live in Canada too and can certainly feel your pain! You are doing great, it is quite the challenge to keep prices low. Do you have No Frills near by? They have some good sales that are great for stockpiling. Every little bit helps!

  • I’ve been waiting for this post! Love having an idea of what good stock up prices are, thanks! I love all the deals and freebies at the grocery store, although now my husband thinks all stores need to “pay” me to take things out for them 😉

  • Courtney says:

    Wow, I am impressed with the awesome deals that you get!

    Now I’m wishing someone would make up a list like this for organic foods, since that’s mostly what we buy.

  • Melissa says:

    Crystal- Have you ever checked out “day-old” bread stores? We have 3 in our area. I frequent Nickels (sp?) and on my last trip I got a 1 package of English Muffins, 1 package of Bagels, 1 package of Pull-Apart Bread (like a dinner roll), can of bread crumbs, and 2 loafs of bread for less than $5.
    They have frequent flyier stamps were once you fill a card you a stamp ($1= one stamp)
    I can typically get 3 loafs of bread for less than a $1.50 all together.

    • Crystal says:

      Yes, there’s one day-old bread store in our town, but it’s not in an area I’m in very often and the prices there are typically higher than what I can get at Dollar Tree and the health food store. If I wasn’t able to get such great deals on bread at the health food store and Dollar Tree, I’d either be making all our sandwich bread and buns or making a trip once a month to the day-old bread store. My mom always did that growing up and we’d stock up on bread for the next 4-6 weeks!

      • Sheila says:

        My friends and I will buy an entire rack of “day old” bread from the bread store at 47th & Broadway for $12.00 … we split it between 4-7 families and we each end up with at least a laundry basket full of bread. We always call ahead to make sure that the racks are full of bread and not full of lots of ding dongs, hoho’s, and donuts! 🙂

        • Crystal says:

          Oh wow! What brands do they typically have and is this something others could do as well (i.e. do they have more than one rack available?) I’m super impressed!

          • Sheila says:

            We have to call ahead to find out what is available… it’s always quite a variety, Home Pride, Nature’s Pride, Wonder, etc. Some times they will slit the packages so they cannot be returned/resold, other times they won’t. If the packages are slit, we inspect the loaf then tape it shut. Anything overly expired, we pass on to a friend with chickens 🙂 The rest we bring home and freeze. We were so disappointed when all the other bread stores closed because not too many of us frequent the south part of town either!

      • crystal B. says:

        I stock up on Aunt Millie’s when it goes on sale at Meijer…I LOVE that bread…they will send coupons too if you contact them to let them know how much you love their product.

      • Jamie says:

        We have a Wonder Bread outlet in our town that also carries soon to expire bread in other brands from the local grocery stores and Target. I have gotten Market Pantry whole wheat bread for .79 cents a loaf and Nature’s Pride whole wheat for $1.00 a loaf. I go maybe once a month and spend $10.00 and stock my extra freezer. I recently did this and then whent to the local HyVee to see what my savings was and I had saved over $30.00 in bread compared to the retail prices 🙂

      • Laura says:

        Crystal, what other deals do you find at the Dollar Tree? We have one close to our house and I’m curious to see what kind of deals I could find there as we don’t go there very often.

        • Crystal says:

          Nature’s Own Bread is the best deal I’ve found so far. We also purchase some of our school and office supplies there.

          • Jennifer says:

            I live near 2 Dollar Trees and they have recently started accepting manufacturer coupons. It made me happy to find this out, because the ones I frequent carry a lot of name brand food and personal care items. 🙂

          • kristy c says:

            Yes i just noticed today that the doller tree in Ft Wayne Ind. had a sign that said we accept coupons

  • Gina says:

    Wow, I’m really surprised! I have always assumed that my area (DC) has higher prices, and maybe it does, but my target prices are almost exactly the same as yours!

  • Mary says:

    Although we do not eat dark meat, I can almost always buy whole chickens for less than 70 cents a pound. I buy several and cut them up, saving the breasts for recipes using breasts, the tenderloins for stirfry or chicken fingers. We like wings so those go in a separate bag. I then use everything else to make chicken stock which is much better than the canned variety. I weighed my results once and found that even if I threw everything else away, the breasts are cheaper this way!

  • Kelly says:

    Thank you so much for posting this…I know it took a big chunk of your time to do it (really, no pun intended!). Looking at your best meat prices makes me especially thankful for my husband’s dedication to our country for 21+ years, and thus, our commissary priviledges…

    • Jennifer says:

      Kelly, I couldn’t agree with you more! The prices we pay for meat at the commissary is incredible compared to off-base prices. I just recently started shopping at a local grocery store but I will always buy my meat from base.

      • Rae says:

        Surprising to me. Meat is one thing I never buy at the commissary because I stock up when the other stores do loss leader sales on meat and it is about half the price of the commissary.

  • Allison V. says:

    Crystal-I know you just made homemade dish detergent, but our “local store” *wink wink* carries bottles of Cascade for $2.99 (last I shopped anyhow) that I use the $1 coupons from the P&G booklet during Double $ week and pay .99/bottle. Plus I only fill the soap reservoir about halfway, so that bottle lasts me 2-4 months.

    Also, they are doing meat “bundles” now, and while I can’t remember specifics, I’m quite sure you could buy something like 20 lbs of their 97% lean ground beef for less than your listed price here. Something to check on next time you’re there!

    • Crystal says:

      Thanks for the tip! I’ve missed the last three Double $ coupon weeks… bummer!

      I hadn’t heard they were doing meat bundles; I’ll check on that. Thanks, girl!

  • Kim says:

    I do think this is helpful, although I have to assume that some of these grocery store deals are only available to you if your store doubles coupons (which does not happen in Florida).

  • Jamie says:

    I’m in DC and while our produce prices are more expensive then anywhere I’ve ever lived (I’ve lived in MO, UT, and WA) our meat prices are the lowest. Have you ever tried ground turkey? We were very reluctant, but can’t tell much difference in things like tacos, sloppy joes, etc. We can get it for.99/pound and it REALLY cuts down on our meat budget! LOVE your site! Thanks for all you do!

  • Lori says:

    Crystal, we’re in the Midwest too. Do you usually buy most of your produce in one store? If so, from which store do you usually purchase it? I’ve managed to get the rest of the grocery and household budget down but that’s one place I am struggling with. I don’t have time to drive all over town to get the best deals on produce, and I can’t bear to price match at our Wal-Mart for produce – I just don’t think theirs is very fresh. Suggestions?

    • Crystal says:

      I shop the loss leaders and markdowns on produce at the health food store and Dillon’s. And then I usually buy whatever produce is on sale at Aldi that week — usually enough of it to last for two or even three weeks so that we have more variety.

  • Amber says:

    Thanks so much! This is wonderful and is such a huge help!!!! You truly are such a blessing. Thank you for all of your hard work! 🙂

  • Have2Save says:

    I always buy meat in bulk at the meat market and separate and freeze it. I just picked up boneless skinless chicken breast for $1.49 a lb. whereas my grocery store wanted $3.69 a lb.! I also get ground chuck for around $1.59-$1.89 a lb. at the meat market.

    Also, I am in the Midwest too but have a hard time lately finding cereal under $1 a box…I did recently at Rite Aid but other than that haven’t seen that good of a sale in a year. So last week when I could get it for $1.25 a box, I stocked up! 🙂

    All in all, my prices vary slightly in some areas but this is around the same as my stockup prices too. I also won’t pay more than $.25 for chili, $1 for pickles, free for salsa, etc. I need to make up an actual list of my prices and follow it though. Have yet to do that! 🙂

  • How much is milk at your Aldi’s? It is free of hormones and here in NE it is currently 1.99 a gallon. I am 98% certain that it is the same milk that is sold at Trader Joe’s.

  • Crystal says:

    Thank you so much for this post! Not only does it affirm that I’m keeping up with the ‘pro’ in some areas, but it gives me new goals in other areas. I really appreciate all of the information you provide on your blog… I found it only a few months ago and now visit daily (well, more than daily) and refer everyone to it. YOU ARE AWESOME!

  • Sabrina says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! I am going to print it out and stick it in my coupon binder. That way, if I’m not sure if I’m getting a good deal, I’ll check your list. I’m thinking that since I’m in California, if I can get close to your “max” price, it’s probably a good deal!

  • ann says:

    Very helpful post! Appreciate it 🙂

  • Karen says:

    We get 91/9 ground beef for 2.39 a pound and boneless skinless thighs for .98 cents. We decided to make the change to thighs to get them less than a buck a pound. We could probably get BS breasts for about $1.50 a pound but I am too cheap and do like the thighs better. My husband makes the sacrifice and my boys do not know the difference. We are also gluten and cow dairy free so we buy A LOT on amazon.com. We are very stocked here but it is all pretty healthy food with the exception of some cookies here and there and the occasional chips. We have done great with diapers on amazon.com too. I am learning about diapers still. I used to buy for 5 bucks and was very happy with myself but amazon.com takes it to a new level! Thanks for sharing this info even though we have to change it up for our dietary needs!

  • Melissa says:

    Thank you so much for posting this list! I have been looking for a list like this for a while.

  • Thanks Crystal for this post its a saver and encouragement. We have setup a $50 for our weekly budget which works because we shop at Indian stores(we always come under), however its another story for the household staples such as toilet paper and kitchen rolls.I usually buy every 3-4 months for our household of 3.
    Trying to build up a good year’s emergency fund and a stock-up. being new at it all , this helps for sure even though you are in kansas.

  • Lise says:

    I hardly ever see produce on sale at our grocery stores. Am I missing something?

  • carla Sorensen says:

    Whenever I have tried to freeze bread, it never tastes the same. I must be doing something wrong. Do you just put it in the freezer in the original bag or do you use freezer bags, too. Do you empty the bread from the original bag if you do use freezer bags.

    Thanks,
    Carla

  • Angela says:

    We’re Ice Cream snobs too, but down in Texas, it’s Blue Bell! Anything else just doesn’t compare. And anything less than $3/half gallon is a steal!
    Thanks for posting this, it is very helpful to those of us who are new to coupons and the drugstore game.

    • Charity says:

      Yee haw for Blue Bell!! My husband and I had it for the first time when were engaged and on our way to Mexico for a mission trip. We had stopped in a border Texas town to grab something to eat before crossing the border and we discovered Blue Bell! I was SO excited when we moved a few months ago to the Low Country of SC to discover that many places around here sell it. It is the. yummiest. ice cream. ever!!

  • Anna says:

    Crystal, thank you for posting the prices. I live in the midwest also and most of my price list is the same as yours with a few differences.

    I have been doing “strategic shopping” for two years now. I still feel this way sometimes but am getting better…I get envious of those who can get products for free. BUT now I know it is better to only compete with myself and that is why making a price list has been helpful. I can get many things for free but I have learned that sometimes the best free items are things that I come by on “accident” and find on clearance or an unadvertised sale. I use to buy some “free” things only to discover that I never used it so what was the point??? Yes, I can donate but that also takes time and I find that places that take donations are getting “picky” and should be because their clients deserve the best too :).

    Free is not always the best. I learned on some of the blogs about getting products for a few pennies or for free!!! For example, Glade candles last year, I got dozens for free. After the candle freenzy was over, I thought what do I need all these candles for and what am I going to do with them. I finally found a good home for them. Then I started reading Crystal’s blog and started to spend my money much more wisely and with purpose. I still get things for free but now I buy with an end in mind.

    My suggestion is to develop one’s own list price and compete with yourself. Also, keep track of the sales and the cycles in one’s own area. Make notes to yourself about clearances so that the next year you can be prepared (Target’s toy clearance in January and July). Makes notes when bread, meat, etc. goes on sale at the stores. I just think a smart shopper needs to document, document, document their shopping expenses–where, when, why, how, cost, date. Not only is it good for budget assessment but it really does not take much time to write down shopping expenses. One can do it on little notebooks that you keep in your purse. I keep my list price comparison list simple.

    Finally, keep in mind prices comparison expenses like gas, ink, paper purchase, time investment, when making a price comparison list and shopping. These are often hidden expenses. The Target. Aldi, CVS, & Walgreens I shop at are all within a few blocks from each other. There are other good stores across town but it would cost more time and gas to get there and therefore I would lose my “savings” by driving there. It is more cost effective for me to stay in my shopping radius (about 5 miles from home is my limit).

    Again, my advice is only compare to yourself (this is not aimed at Crystal but to those of us who may envy others bottom price list). Certainly share the success stories but there are so many different factors for each family who live in different parts of the country that influence one’s budget.

  • Johnlyn says:

    I know some people commented that they were depressed because of your low prices, but this post has been so encouraging to me!

    We’re in no coupon land and now I see how you can have a food budget of $40 per week for your family. I enjoyed reading your post!

    Even if some people can’t/don’t want to use coupons, many of the other strategies you use will work to lower their food budgets (sales, menu planning, etc.).

    Thank you for posting this!

  • Rosalind B. says:

    Where do you get your raw sugar from? Do you buy it in bulk(25 or 50lbs) or smaller amounts?

  • Rae says:

    Another place to keep an eye out for sunscreen is the testing sites (bzzagent, shespeaks, etc). Last year I got to try the new Hawaiian Tropic Creme collection on shespeaks. They sent me a full size bottle of all 3 products (sunscreen, after sun care, and tanning lotion) a couple months in between each product as well as sample packets to pass out. I have also seen other sunscreen programs on bzzagent and others just not been offered them myself (or was too late to accept)

  • Julie C says:

    Crystal did you get the free Milanos this week at CVS?

  • Jamie says:

    Thanks so much for this list. Glad you finally decided to post it, it has sparked a really good conversation. I have learned a lot from everyone else’s comments. I also think I might print your list and keep it in my binder like someone else said. I have tried to start my own price list before but it fell by the wayside. So, thank you, Crystal for allowing me to be lazy and use your list as a guideline! 🙂

  • Bananas are .59 a pound here, and I rarely see them on sale. A bunch of bananas is usually 5or 6 bananas, and with 6 children, we can easily go through several bunches in a week 🙂

    I see a lot of differences in your prices because Dillon’s does double coupons for you; we can have the same sales on brownie mix, but there are no double coupons here.

    Obviously we’re all looking forward to any sunscreen deals that you post this year 🙂

    I would also like to know how you get diaper rash ointment for free. I have had 2-3 children in diapers at a time for 7 1/2 years now, and the best deals I have found are manufacturer’s coupons stacked with a Target coupon stacked with a sale at Target, but it’s never been free, or even close to it.

    Are your mustard and canned goods (esp. tomato paste and soup) prices because you have double coupons for those items? Is soap that little for the same reason? (Also, are you brand-loyal on soap, or do you use any brand? )

    • Crystal says:

      I’ve gotten diaper rash ointment free by playing the drugstore game as well as I got a coupon when I was pregnant for a free tube from some online promotion. We don’t go through it very quickly here, so that few tubes have lasted through all my children!

      The mustard and canned good prices are definitely the result of doubled coupons. Dillon’s also have Hunt’s tomatoes part of the Buy 10, Get $5 Off promotion a couple of months ago and I got at least 9 or 10 cans for pennies with that.

      We’re not brand loyal to soap; I just buy whatever is free or cheap. I can typically get better deals on bodywash so we often use that.

  • Jen Carl says:

    Thanks for the list:) I buy a lot of organic items, so I have my own list for those and have prices in my head that I like to pay for things and we have about the same baseline for prices! It’s amazing the fluctuation between sale prices and regular prices in a store. Sometimes a few DOLLARS per item. That’s crazy. Stockpiling has helped us to save thousands a year for our family. Friends are shocked when they see my pantry. I have a stocked pantry filled with organic varieties like Muir Glen and Cascadian Farms and also natural brands like Kashi all for pennies. I just got Terra Chips for $1 at Giant with coupons and a sale and normally would pay around $2.99. We love the sweet potato chips so I stocked up! The savings definately add up over time! Thanks for all you do:)

    Jen
    http://www.lehighvalleymomma.com

  • Beth says:

    Thank you for once again being so encouraging. And for your constant reminders about comparing ourselves to others. What I take from your list of target prices is encouragment. It makes sense my grocery bills would be much higher than yours because my target prices and my family’s tastes are different. Not to mention the slight differences in costs between cities. (Like eggs! I pay more than $3 a dozen for free range eggs from local farmers. You are very lucky!) So I’m not going to beat myself up when I see your Super Savings Saturday posts of grocery trips that total much less than mine. We’re all different and work with the differences in our situations. Thanks for posting this!

  • melody says:

    thanks so much!! very helpful!

  • Kathy says:

    Your posts have inspired me to cook more healthy and make stuff on my own, including buying a bread maker! Just curious if there is a health reason you don’t eat much pork or another reason?

  • Dana says:

    You know, one of the great things in stock is a bit of left over chicken from your roaster. So, like, eat all the white meat, save back the dark and throw it in the stew pot with the bones while you’re making stock. Makes it much richer. You might like shredded dark meat in the finished soup, too, I don’t know.

    And should you make your own stock, a celery stick and carrot stick are a must. Or, if you’re like me and always throw chopped celery and carrots in your roast, save back the celery and carrot tops to throw in your stock. No use using a whole veggie when the stuff you’d normally throw out work fine!

  • Jessica says:

    Thank you so much for the list! I have items w/ prices jotted down all over but not a nice organized, updated list. Haha! One question though, the toilet paper on your list….what size roll? regular roll? double roll? why are there so many roll sizes anyway?!?! 😉

  • Reeca says:

    Thank you so much for posting these guidelines. I am new to using coupons and I’m always wondering if it’s a good deal. Do any of you ever by produce at the local farmers markets? I like to but is it cheaper than getting it on sale at the store? It’s local and fresh and most of the time organic but it just seems higher but I’ve never compared the prices.

  • Naomi says:

    I need to “Ditto!” the last commenter. You have taught me everything I know about couponing and saving at the grocery store, and made it sooo easy. I too was pleased to see I’m doing fairly well, since I am getting many prices similar to yours. Thanks for sharing, this gave me the encouragement that I am meeting my goals and contributing to our family’s financial goals, as we also are a 1 income family. : )

  • Naomi says:

    Ground beef tip: You can boil it to cook, so you are cooking out all the fat. Of course, you can’t do that for burgers, but for everything else when you actually break it up, you just boil it and dump the water. Since you are cooking out all the fat, you might as well spend less by purchasing the higher fat content. You can google this for more info.

  • Michelle says:

    I keep track of my lowest prices in a tiny address book that I carry in my purse. Under “S” I will list my lowest price on sugar and the store I got it from. For some items I will list several stores and prices since I go to some stores infrequently. This helps me when I see a “sale” and I can’t remember what I want to pay.

  • Lisa bagg says:

    How do you get so many things so cheap? We live in a small area with a Wal-Mart, United, and Jumbo’s (local grocery store). Not one of them doubles coupons. Any advice?

  • Crystal says:

    What is a good price for swim diapers? I’ll be buying them for the first time this year. Thanks!

  • rachel says:

    I didn’t see anything for paper towels. What is a good stock up price for them?

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