Have a Target Price and You’ll Save Money on Groceries

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. We participate in other affiliate programs as well. For more details, please see our disclosure policy.

Wondering how you can save money on groceries? Keep track of sale prices and have a target price to shoot for.

Have a Target Price to Save Grocery Money

How do you know if the sale you see is worth it? How do you know when to stock up? How do you know when it’s worth a trip across town to buy chicken that’s on special?

Well, you gotta have a target price. Some folks keep track of these target costs in a price book. Honestly, I’ve never been good at tracking it on paper. Go figure. Miss Personal Planner. But, it’s true. My price book is in my head.

This is rather inconvenient when my husband stops at the store on the way home from work and stocks up on something that was “on sale” according to the store, but not really “on sale” according to the price book in my head.

But, isn’t that the way it is with men and women? They are supposed to read our minds. Sheesh.

Target prices for common grocery items

Anyway, so you and my husband will no longer be in the dark, here are the target prices I have for regular grocery items. If I find these prices (or lower) at the store, I typically buy more than one since I know it’s a really good deal.

  • Bone-in chicken breast – $0.99/pound
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breast – $1.99/pound
  • Lean ground beef – $3.99/pound 
  • Cuts of beef and pork – $2.99/pound
  • Tri-tip – $3.99/pound, trimmed
  • Fish or shrimp – $4.99/pound
  • Cheese – $3.50/pound, unless it’s a gourmet variety, like Brie, then $5.99
  • Milk – $3.00/gallon
  • Yogurt – $6.00/half gallon
  • Fresh fruit – $0.99/pound
  • Lettuce or greens – $0.99/head
  • Rice – $0.50/pound
  • Flour – $3.00/5 pound bag
  • Demerara sugar – $1.00/pound
  • Brown sugar – $1.00/pound

I think those are the main things that we buy. These are “targets”; I shoot for these prices whenever possible. When I can’t find it for this price, I try to go without it if I can. When I see these prices, I buy a lot and build our menus and our shopping around them.

Want more tips on building your pantry on a budget?

:: For a real life glimpse into how we shop, check out the Grocery Geek.
:: For the low-down on grocery deals, check out the Real Food Deals weekly feature.
:: For tips on building your pantry on a budget, check out A Frugal Pantry.
:: For price book printable pages, go here.

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

Subscribe to Good Cheap Eats
Read Newer Post
Read Older Post


  1. Rebecca says

    Hi!! I’m in sw Washington state and those are my stock up prices as well! I was just curious how you know if the meat you buy is pink slime or not? Like from Costco or the grocery stores fresh ground beef. I know they grind it up that morning so it’s fresh.

    • Jessica says

      Costco issued a statement that theirs is free of pink slime. The butcher at Sprouts told me that there was none there. I think you just have to ask and to be able to trust them.

  2. annie says

    thanks for the moneysavingmom.com link. crystal paine had the single most influence on the beginnings of my learning how to live within our means. i too had grocery prices in my head. within the last several months i’ve given up on this because our grocery prices seemed to change every week. i lost the initiative to keep on top of it and let our grocery budget bulge, and chalking it up to inflation to hide my lack of discipline. well, now it’s to the point of ridiculous.

    i’m re-motivated. bone in chix breast is 99cents per pound this week. rising early enough each day this week to get my 2 package limit. thanks for sharing your price points for those items. that is helpful.

    • Jessica says

      It’s so easy to let it slide. Good for you on grabbing the chicken. There’s no limit at my stores usually, so that’s a bummer they’re limiting you.

    • Ugh, limits like that are annoying. That’s where it comes in handy to have a partner to shop with or take along some kids (er, preteens at least). I have no problem splitting up at the checkout for purchases that have limits, so long as I’m not overdoing it (if I feel like it’s actually going to limit their inventory or it’s a crazy amount, I will abide by the rules). Two package limit on chicken just seems kinda silly….I buy more than that at once even when it’s not on sale. :S

      • Karen says

        I’d go in wearing 15 different disguises if I could get any chicken at .99/#. Whole chickens are a “big deal” sale at 2.58/# here this week. I don’t think you can even get bologna for .99/# here, but I wouldn’t buy it anyway. And I only get milk for 2.50/gallon when it’s marked down for nearing expiry. Nuthin special yogurt sometimes goes for 1.99 for just over a pint. And if you buy cheddar in 5# blocks you can get it for 25.99. No wonder so many Canadians grocery shop across the border! I think I need to sulk for a while now.

  3. Meat and dairy are the main things I have price points for. I’m kinda surprised to see things like flour and sugar on your list…. I tend to buy mine from Aldis and never notice a price fluctuation really, so those are things that I always stock up on regardless.

    • Jessica says

      Yep, prices can vary on that.

  4. Melissa says

    I’m from Wa St as well. I buy the Foster Farms bone in chicken breasts when they go on sale. My target price for these used to be .99/lb. but I haven’t seen that price for over a year. I waited for these to go on sale all summer long. They finally went on sale two weeks ago for $1.37/lb. I bought 12 jumbo packs. I deboned most of them, marinated & froze them. Some I roasted bone in & then shredded & froze for quick meals. I expect they’ll go on sale once more around Labor Day then that’ll be it until next spring. Whole chickens @ .89/lb will then be my winter staple. My price book is in my head too. It’s frustrating that prices keep going up (I’m feeding a family of 9, not counting newborn baby) but I’m learning to adapt/do without as necessary.

    • Prices are still rising, yes. Hopefully they will level off soon.

  5. Diinaus says

    Not sure how old this post is.i too have tried price books but mine is in my head as well. I have a similar list of price points for where I live in Australia. Prices esp for ground beef have doubled in the last 8 years. My price point for beef, organic chicken and tinned tuna is $5 /kg (~2lb), $2/kg regular chicken and turkey, $10/frozen fish.
    Fresh produce is 99c/kg or less. My grocer has had great deals at 29c/kg on odd shaped veg so have been stocking up and freezing bags for easy meals in the freezer. Thanks for the encouragement .

    • Diinaus, thanks for sharing! I really quickly updated my target prices as they currently are for 2020. Only a few things changed, like beef and milk.

Share Your Thoughts