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Grocery Shopping

Pavlova For the Fourth The Prudent Homemaker 

My budget for food and toiletries for our family of 10 for this month is $200.

July is one of our highest utility months, as we are using more water in the garden and using the air conditioners (our house has 2 units, plus a window unit in our pantry) and ceiling fans all the time, as our highs between 105 and 118ºF. Normally summer bills are matched by an increase in income (and lower utilities in the winter for us are matched with a lower income, as fewer people move during the winter), but not this year. Consequently, I'm lowering the budget this month. I am also considering keeping it at the same amount in future months, as we will have a new regular expense starting in August.

With an irregular income, I pay my bills in this order: mortgage, then utilities and other bills (like insurance; we have no consumer debt), then food, and lastly anything else (clothing, schoolbooks, etc.). If our income doesn't cover everything, then we can eat from the pantry, freezers, and garden. 

The grapes and peaches are ready in the garden. I'll be picking 3 kinds of grapes (Red Flame, Thompson's seedless and a non-named seeded grape) as well as Early Elberta peaches. We're also still picking apples from our Dorsett Golden tree.

Red and Yellow Tomatoes The Prudent Homemaker

There should be a few tomatoes ripe. Usually, once it heats up they stop flowering and don't flower again until mid-October, but for some reason, there are flowers on several of my plants right now. We love tomatoes, so I'm very grateful! We've been picking about two colanders full a week for the last 3 weeks.

I have some Swiss chard ready in the garden, as well as several herbs, including basil, oregano, chives, rosemary, sage, and thyme.

I am hoping for some zucchini--but will have to see if they flower much, due to the heat. One of my plants looks promising with plenty of female blooms ready to open in the next month, but there are no male flowers, so it may go unpollinated. Another plant has no flowers whatsoever. I had several other plants die, so I replanted and am currently waiting for them to get larger. Usually, they won't set flowers during the summer, though mid-July, should the monsoon season come upon us with a few overcast days and one day with a few hours of rain, the temperatures may drop enough for flowers. (Last year this mid-July rain never happened and the temperatures kept rising--and my garden burned worse than normal).

I'm hoping, too, to see some pollination on my Armenian cucumbers, which I haven't seen yet. I've not seen any female flowers yet. I have several more seedlings that are up but still small; hopefully, they will grow large enough to flower and produce in October when the temperatures drop (like the zucchini and tomatoes)  and if they decided to produce before that I will be delighted. I'm really hoping for some cucumbers now, but so far I haven't seen any. I've realized that in this heat about all I want to eat are cucumbers and tomatoes every day. With this in mind, I planted several more seeds for Armenian cucumbers during the month of June. It will be a few months before I see anything from those, but hopefully, we'll have enough to eat every day and also use to can pickles and relish.

I have a bit of lettuce in the garden still, surprisingly. It is bolted lettuce (it's gone to seed) and usually turns bitter, but in a sandwich, it is just fine. I also have a bit of arugula; mine bolted and self-seeded, and I'll be able to harvest it this month.

Ice cream is at the top of everyone's wish for just about every meal, but isn't exactly practical! Nevertheless, I will be looking for sales on the large gallon store-brand containers of ice cream at Smith's and Albertson's. At the lowest price, I can buy a full gallon for $3.99 on sale at Smith's (and Albertson's has in that size container, with sale prices at $4.49 a gallon; they carry mint chocolate chip in that size and Smith's does not; we usually buy fudge swirl and cookies & cream on sale at Smith's). 

I started having a date night at home with each child last month that included ice cream and three games of Sequence after their siblings were in bed. I haven't had a date with all of the children yet, so I'll make sure to get ice cream to continue that this month.

I'll look for sales on pasta. We've been eating ours down in an effort to rotate through all of it. I'm down to only angel hair pasta in the pantry. I'd ideally like to purchase fettucini, rotini, macaroni, and shells on sale. In the past, Smith's has had a $0.49 pasta sale on American Beauty pasta in the past (some areas of the country get the same sale on Ronzoni), but they have been slowly getting rid of that brand on the shelf and now mostly carry it only in a few shapes at the nearby stores (shells and rotini are no longer ones they carry for this brand). This means I'll have to pay more; I've seen sales for other brands (like Barilla) in these shapes at the lowest prices of $0.69 and $0.75 a pound. If I don't find a good sale on this, I'll wait. If I do, pasta salad with homemade Italian dressing and fresh vegetables and herbs from the garden is sure to be on the list. I can add green onions, New Zealand Spinach, basil, and tomatoes from the garden right now, and if I get cucumbers, I'll add those too. There is a coupon on coupons.com right now for $1.00 off two bags of American Beauty pasta. I printed two this week (the limit) and then the coupons reset and I printed two more. If the sale comes, I should be able to get 8 bags of pasta for free.

I'll cook some chicken (more of the legs I bought on sale for $0.44 a pound a few months back) and cook a turkey from the freezer to use in several meals, including some turkey salad (with grapes and apples from the garden), some enchiladas, in sandwiches, and to serve over rice with a lemon dill sauce.

July Fruit Salad The Prudent Homemaker

My meals will be simple this month.

I'll make Greek yogurt in the crockpot and granola for breakfasts (and we'll add homemade jam and/or fresh fruit and leave out the cranberries).  I'll make smoothies, eggs, and toast. Eggs have been wonderfully low-priced and I stocked up last month.

Lunches will be pasta salads, turkey salad, green salads (with tomatoes from the garden and sometimes hard-boiled eggs), sandwiches, quesadillas, tomato cheddar cracker sandwiches, and leftovers.

I'll make lots of smoothies and popsicles using frozen fruit and peaches from the garden for snacks.  We'll also enjoy fresh fruit from the garden and make a few batches of popcorn. 

Dinners will include at least bean burritos (I bought tortillas last month), barbecue chicken, beans and rice with tomatoes, homemade pizza, turkey enchiladas, lemon dill turkey, and some more ideas from my summer menu.

Desserts will be ice cream, tarts, fruit crumble, and individual pavlovas.

  

Here are the items that are for certain on my list this month:

 

Winco:

Potatoes ($0.25 a pound )

Milk

La Victoria Salsa (I have coupons)

La Victoria green enchilada sauce (I have coupons)

 

Albertson's:

Ice Cream (mint chocolate chip at $4.99)

Frozen Petite Peas (16-ounce bags are on sale for $1 each through Tuesday)

Corn on the Cob (on sale for 8 for $1, limit 8, through Tuesday)

Pasta (if on a good sale later this month)

 

Smith's :

Ice Cream (on sale through Tuesday for $3.99)

Blueberries (on sale through Tuesday for the unbelievably low price of $0.88 for a 6-ounce container--that's crazy low-priced for here. NO LIMIT. )

Whipping cream

Lettuce (Red leaf on sale for $0.99 a head)

Milk

Celery

Pasta (if on a good sale later this month)

 

Vons:

Sweet cherries (on sale for $1.47 a pound. This price is so low my jaw dropped when I saw the ad. Sale through Tuesday. Normal sales prices are $2.99 (lowest) or more usually $3.99 a pound. For this price, I am buying cherries!)

 

Target:

Salon Graphix Unscented Extra Super Hold hairspray

Playtex Sport Tampons (there are $1.50 off coupons on coupons.com right now and like the pasta, I printed 2 before and 2 after the month changed over, so I can buy 4 boxes for my eldest. This should last her quite some time as she normally uses these washable pads normally but wants to have something for when she is swimming).

 

Sam's Club:

Toilet paper

Milk

Mozzarella cheese

Cheddar cheese

 

I let my Sam's Club card expire last month. Rather than renewing it right away, I always try to put off renewing it by several weeks. The new membership starts from the time I pay, so this buys me a few weeks each year.  I'll wait until a bit later in the month to renew my card.

 

What are you planning on purchasing this month? What do you hope to harvest from your garden?

 

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My Grocery Shopping Plans for June

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Mission Figs in basketThe Prudent Homemaker

This month in the garden, we're picking blackberries, Mission figs and Dorsett Golden apples. The blackberries and figs will finish up within a week and then the apples will be ready. 

I've amazingly still got lettuce, thanks to a much cooler than normal May, which I should be able to pick for at least a week or two before it has all bolted. 

The first cherry tomatoes (Sun Gold and Yellow Pear) are ripening, just a handful or two at a time. I shared pictures a few days ago of both lettuce and tomatoes over on Instagram). 

My red seedless grapes should be ready this month. I'll cover them with paper bags to keep the birds from eating them while they finish ripening.

I froze many peaches last month from the garden, so of which will come out for peach pie popsicles this month. I'll be making lots of popsicles for snacks, as temperatures in June will be well over 100º F.

I plan to make yogurt and granola several times for breakfast, so I'll buy milk for making yogurt as well as for drinking. I also plan to make crepes often, as well as breakfast burritos. I'll make a frittata at least once.

We're craving cold, light meals this month. Pasta salads, salads, and potato salad alongside sandwiches will be on our menu frequently, as well as bean burritos. I'll cook beans in the crockpot or the solar oven, depending on how windy the day is. I'll make white bean dip and pita bread to eat for lunches with figs or apples). I'll cook a turkey from the freezer (they've been in there since November 2015 ) and slice it to make sandwich meat with our meat slicer. I'll make rosemary olive oil bread and French bread for sandwiches.

I'll purchase some cucumbers and tomatoes as our garden is not yet producing cucumbers and is only making a few tomatoes.

I plan on making some herbal sun teas (which I'll then refrigerate) with peppermint, chamomile, and lemon verbena from the garden.

 

Winco:

Potatoes

Milk

Margarine

Cucumbers

Tomatoes

Celery 

Carrots

Limes

Salsa

 

Sam's Club:

Mozzarella cheese

Cheddar cheese

Flour tortillas

Corn tortillas

#10 cans of tomato sauce

 

I've been experimenting with homemade barbecue sauce recipes.  I am no longer able to find the sauce my family prefers anywhere, and it is much less money for me to make my own, so some of these cans of tomato sauce will be turned into batches of barbecue sauce.

Past these specific items, I'll look for sales throughout the month that fit within my budget. This week's ad for Smith's include eggs for $0.77 a dozen (limit 4) and boneless pork loin for $1.59 a pound (an amazing price!) I'll pick up both of these (several pork roasts to freeze and 4 dozen eggs). I'll look for sales on the large party pails of ice cream at Smith's later in the month.

I'll be watching Totally Target's page for any great sales on toiletries at Target.

My budget for this month is $300 for our family of 10 for food and toiletries.  

 

What are you planning to purchase this month? Do you have special celebratory meals planned for graduations or Father's Day? Is your garden producing anything that you can add to your meals?

 

 

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April's Grocery Shopping Plans

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Strawberries and artichokes The Prudent Homemakerjpg

This month we'll be adding one more teenaged boy to our home, as a dear friend's son from France will be coming to stay. That means I will have 11 to feed, with one being a baby and three being teenagers. My budget this month for food, cleaning supplies, and toiletries is $250.

From the garden, we'll harvest loads of Swiss chard, which will be steamed and served with lemon juice (from our lemons), sauteed with garlic, and put in soups. We'll have salads with lettuce and radishes from the garden, and I'll cut rosemary, parsley, garlic chives, green onions, thyme, and other herbs. I'll harvest turnips, snow peas, artichokes, and lemons.

Strawberry Jam The Prudent Homemaker

Strawberries go on sale this time of year, and I will buy them at $0.99 a pound to make strawberry shortcakes, to go on cheesecakes, to go on crepes, to can strawberry vanilla jam, and to freeze for smoothies and future strawberry shortcakes. I'll look for sales on these wherever they can be found throughout the month.

We have three birthdays to celebrate this month, so I'll make sure to pick up some ice cream too.

I'm also planning to make cheesecake, so I'll look for sales on cream cheese at $1 for an 8 ounce container.

 

Sam's Club:

Tomato sauce (in the #10 can)

Canned tomatoes (in a #10 can)

Mozzarella cheese

Whipping cream

Eggs

Aveeno baby lotion

 

Winco:

Milk

Sour cream

White chocolate chips

Potatoes

Gold N Soft Margarine (in a 3-pound tub)

Cream cheese (I'll look for it at $1  pound  an  8-ounce block or under for the holiday)

 

Vons:

Whole chicken and Leg Quarters ($0.67 a pound)

Colgate toothpaste ($1)

Strawberries ($0.99; limit of 2)

 

Smith's:

Ice cream

Mandarin oranges (on sale as part of the case-lot sale)

Strawberries (no limit)

Milk

 

What are you stocking up on this month?

 

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March's Grocery Shopping Plans

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Radish Bouquet The Prudent Homemaker 

We have radishes, lemons, Swiss chard, beets, a tiny bit of asparagus, arugula and several herbs ripe in the garden. We should have snow peas, lettuce, and spinach lettuce ready later in the month.

 

Here are my shopping plans for the month. We'll eat mostly from the pantry and freezers.

 

Sam's Club:

Sugar

Mozzarella cheese

Whipping cream

Flour tortillas

Corn tortillas

Milk

Lawry's Chicken and Poultry rub seasoning (on sale this month)

Best Foods mayonnaise (on sale this month)

Tomato sauce (in the #10 can)

 

Winco:

Kidney beans

Milk

Spreadable margarine

Potatoes

 

Target:

Trash bags

Oxi-Clean stain remover

I'll use a $15 off $50 coupon that was in Sunday's ad for these items (I don't get the paper but my mom gave me the ad; you can get it through Target Cartwheel as well I believe). The coupon is really specific about what items apply, but I normally buy the Target brand trash bags and oxi-clean, and both of these qualify.

 

Smith's:

Ice cream: on sale plus there is another $0.49 off digital coupon on their website that I will upload first

I'll also pick up last week's Friday Freebie (a Lindt chocolate) and this week's if it is one I like. Friday Freebie deals at Kroger affiliates need to loaded to your store card on Friday and are available to pick up for 2 weeks.

 

Albertson's:

Strawberries: $0.99 a pound this week; I imagine they'll go on sale again this month too.

Clementines: $2.99 for a 3-pound bag

Albertson's is having a Monopoly game right now. My mom and the woman she takes shopping are giving me all of their Monopoly pieces, plus I have a few of my own. The game pieces are attached to coupons. I have 2 instant win coupons that I will use to pick up a free 8-ounce container of sour cream and a free 26-ounce container of salt.

 

I'll look for sales on the following items. My target price is $0.99 a pound for each of these, except for the cabbage, which I hope to find for $0.39 or less a pound:

 

Asparagus

Cabbage

Frozen petite peas

 

What sales are you looking for this month? 

 

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February's Grocery Shopping Plans

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February Radish The Prudent Homemaker

I'm grateful for the opportunity last month of not shopping to empty the fridge and work on clearing out the freezers. The freezers still have quite a bit left in them and I always strive to keep the pantry full; there is plenty there still. 

This month we'll work on eating more of the fruit from the freezers and pantry (as well as meat from the freezer). This will give me some space to stock up on some meat sales. There's already a great one starting today (whole chickens for $0.57 a pound!) so I'm glad that we've been eating from the freezer.

The seedlings in the garden slowed down their growth quite a bit when we had a frost and a cold week just recently, but the weather is warming and by February 10th it should be in the low 70ºs ( 22ºC). I'm experimenting with planting more seeds earlier than usual, going by the soil temperature rather than dates, with the hopes of a good harvest before it gets too hot for plants to flower in the summer.

We still have lots of beet greens and Swiss chard that we're harvesting several times a week, lemons on the trees, and various herbs that are ready. By the end of the month, I hope to begin to harvest a lot more from the garden!

 

Here's what's on my list:

 

Sam's Club:

Mozzarella cheese

Flour tortillas

Corn tortillas

Pinto beans

Almonds

Chocolate chips

Toilet paper

Goat Cheese

Feta Cheese

Ketchup

Tomato sauce

Eggs

 

Winco:

Milk

Plain Greek Yogurt (to use as a starter to make more yogurt)

Spreadable Margarine

Sour cream

Garlic

Potatoes

Carrots

Broccoli

Onions

Possibly other produce depending on prices; they have sales but no ads, so I'll see what prices are when I get there.

 

Alberston's:

whole chickens ($0.57 a pound)

avocados (medium ones are the jaw-dropping price of 3 for $1, with a limit of 6)

frozen petite peas 

 

Vons:

Boneless pork loin $1.79/lb

Raspberries (on sale for 0.99 for 6 ounces, which is incredibly low; limit 4)

avocados (medium 3 for $1, limit 6)

 

Target:

Diapers (There is an in-ad coupon that will give you a $25 Target gift card if you spend $100 on baby items. I'll buy 4 boxes of diapers).

Oxi-clean spray refill

 

I love having a full enough pantry that I can wait for the amazing sales and only stock up at the lowest prices!

My budget for this month is $400.

Arugula The Prudent Homemaker

 Arugula (Rocket) 

 

 

 

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January's Shopping Plans and Meal Plans

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Meyer Lemons On Tree The Prudent Homemaker

For January, my grocery shopping budget is $0. We'll be eating from what we have on hand.

There are lots of reasons for choosing to eat from what you have on hand for the month. January is a great month to do it: You can rotate through food you've put aside all year (break out the home-canned summer goodness!), eat the meat you've bought on sale, and enjoy warm soups from the pantry with homemade bread (and for my southern hemisphere readers, it can be a great month to enjoy the bounties of your summer garden!)

For those who have seasonal work,  January can be a low-income month. 

For many, it's a high utility month, driven by the cost of keeping one's house warm during the winter.

Winter weather may have you wishing to stay home more and make fewer trips out in the snow and ice.

You may want to start a garden this year, and cutting the food budget in January can be a place to find the money for seeds and plants.

Eating from the pantry may give you a chance to start or work to replenish an emergency fund.

If you're having a tighter than usual month financially, consider making  January an eat from the pantry month.

 

In my garden, I have a few fresh additions to the pantry, fridge, and freezer's offerings. I have a bevy of lemons hanging from the trees.

Swiss Chard in the Garden The Prudent Homemaker

I have giant Swiss chard.

I have a few herbs that will make it through our short winter, including rosemary and parsley. Many herbs die back to the ground during winter and return in spring, including chives, oregano, and tarragon (tarragon only comes back if it is cloched all winter). 

I have seedlings coming up of snow peas, lettuce, and radishes. I should have radishes and lettuce ready to harvest by the end of the month.

 

Some of our meals this month will be:

 

Breakfasts:

 

Oatmeal

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

Crepes with lemon juice and powdered sugar/homemade strawberry jam

Whole wheat waffles

Citrus fruit salad

Fruit smoothies with canned and frozen fruit from the garden

Homemade yogurt, granola, and frozen fruit with honey and/or home-canned jam

Cubed potatoes with onions

Eggs with toast 

 

Swiss chard soup The Prudent Homemaker

Lunches:

 

Swiss chard soup

Tomato Basil Soup

Rosemary White Bean Soup

Pasta e Fagioli

Taco Soup

Alphabet soup

Minestrone soup

Butternut squash soup

Black beans and rice with salad from the garden (lettuce, radishes, and the indoor-ripening tomatoes I picked in December from the garden)

White Bean Fettucini Alfredo sauce over pasta with garlic green beans

 

I'll make Rosemary Olive Oil bread and French bread to go with our soups.

 

Afternoon Snacks:

 

Popcorn

French bread and/or biscuits with strawberry jam, fig jam, apple butter and apricot vanilla jam

Hot chocolate

Fruit Crumble

White bean dip with homemade pitas

Apples

Oatmeal cookies

Fruit Salad with home canned fruit

Banana bread

 

Dinners:

 

Black bean burgers with steak fries (we have a good number of potatoes in the pantry) and corn and tomato salad

Pork loin roast with fig sauce, mashed potatoes, applesauce, and Swiss chard

Tuscan Tomato bread soup with salad from the garden

Herb roasted chicken with Swiss chard and lemon parmesan pasta

Fish (that we were gifted last year) with roasted rosemary potatoes and Swiss chard

Chili with cornbread

Spaghetti with garlic green beans

Barbecue chicken with corn, baked potatoes,  and lemonade

Lemon chicken with garlic chicken rice, beets, petite peas, and lemonade

 

What are your meal plans for this month? Are you planing to stock up on any great sales this month, or will you be eating from what you have on hand?

 

 

 

 

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