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April's Grocery Shopping Plans

Lemons on Cutting Board The Prudent Homemaker 

This post contains affiliate links.

As usual, this month I'm concentrating on filling holes in my pantry. We've continued to eat down the freezers, which has been fantastic, as I've found things that really need to be used up. This has given me the chance to clean out a couple of freezers before I start juicing lemons and adding lemon juice from our lemons to use throughout the year. My Meyer lemons can stay fresh on the tree from late November through April, but after that, it's too warm here, so they really have to be picked. Anything that we haven't already harvested will be picked and juiced this month. We'll freeze the juice and some zest as well. I plan on drying some zest to make my own lemon pepper seasoning.

Swiss Chard in the Garden The Prudent Homemaker

The Swiss chard in the garden goes to seed this month, so we've been eating loads of Swiss chard every week for the past month and will continue to do so this month. When it bolts this month, it grows 6 feet tall (2 meters) in a week! I plan on harvesting it before it bolts and then pulling the plants, except for one or two which I'll let bolt for collecting seeds to plant later.

Salad Produce The Prudent Homemaker

April is the best month for lettuce in my garden, so we'll have lots of salads. In April we usually have salad either with or for (as the main course) lunch or dinner every day, served with homemade salad dressing. A simple and very inexpensive meal we often have in April is black beans (seasoned with onion powder, garlic powder, and lime juice), rice cooked with tomato bullion powder, and a salad. Bean burritos (made with pinto beans) are another favorite of ours in April. As the weather warms, homemade lemonade and salads with homemade bread are a meal we have often as well. Often, we'll have a homemade soup as well.

We'll harvest lots of snow peas and green onions this month. Most of them will be enjoyed in my Museum Pasta Salad.

Spinach, radishes, and leeks are ripe in the garden this month as well. 

I'll cut and dry parsley to add to my pantry. My parsley is starting to bolt in the garden, so it needs to be harvested before it all goes to seed. This is an item I no longer purchase dried, as I grow enough in my garden to use fresh and dried throughout the year.

 

I'm not sure when I'll be out and about shopping in May after our new baby is born, so for April, I am upping our budget from $200 to $400. May's shopping plans will depend on our income.

Here's how I plan to spend my $400 grocery budget for my family of 10 this month:

 

Sam's Club:

Raisins (60 oz.) $9.98

Chocolate chips (72 oz.) $9.98

Brown sugar (7lbs) $4.38

Granulated sugar (50 lbs) $23.88

Rice (25 lbs) $9.48

Tomato Sauce (5 #10 cans) $2.98 a can

Diced tomatoes (5 #10 cans) $2.98 a can

Feta cheese  (24 oz.) $7.38

Mozzarella cheese (5 lbs) $10.48

Ketchup (114 oz.) $3.83

POM toilet paper (4 boxes) $19.98 a box

Milk (4 gallons) $2.35 a gallon for whole milk

 

Winco:

Potatoes

Onions

Carrots

Limes

Great Northern Beans (25 lbs at $0.89 a pound)

Kidney Beans

Salsa

Milk

Sour Cream (unless I find a lower sale elsewhere)

Spreadable margarine (3 lb container for $2.28)

 

Walmart:

Equate hand dishwashing soap

Dental floss

 

Smith's:

I'll look for sales on strawberries for $1.00 a pound or less; I'll buy several to make jam and to freeze.

I'll look for sales on chicken under $0.99 a pound to put in the freezer. In years past, I have found whole chickens for $0.79 a pound in April, which is a rock bottom price where I live.

The case-lot sale takes place over two weeks this month. I'll look for case-lot sales on canned Mandarin oranges and canned green chiles. Chiles are not on the case-lot sale this time.

Update now that I have the ad:

Mandarin oranges case of 24 11-ounce cans $14.16 ($0.59 a can)

Tuna fish case of 48 5-ounce cans $28

Canned corn case of 12 $6 (2 cases)

 

 

Going through the grocery ads last month, I can see so many items that can quickly up one's budget--even on sale. For example, strawberries were on sale, but they were $2.50 a pound. I know that in April strawberries are at their lowest price for the year in April as they are in season here at that time, so that's when I stock up for the year. Many stores have a limit, so I'll look for a store that doesn't (usually Smith's--our Kroger affiliate--has them for under $1 a pound without a limit, though some years the lowest sales price has been $1.25 a pound). My goal is to always look for the lowest price and stock up then. I know that some items are only at that price once or twice a year, which is when I aim to stock up, and why the prices you see me paying are as low as they are. Regular prices and regular sales prices are not that low all the time on many items that I buy. By waiting to purchase items until they are at their lowest prices for the year and stocking up, I save a lot of money.

I'm cooking several pots of beans in my solar oven and freezing any we won't use right away. This gives me a head start to making several meals on other days, including after the baby is born.

 

What sales will you be looking for this month? Do you plan on harvesting anything from your garden?

 

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Tagged in: Grocery Shopping

Comments

  • Diann April 05, 2018

    I think that is a great idea also.
    I'm not a very good cook and am trying to learn more.
    Thanks

  • Maxine April 04, 2018

    My challenge this month will be shopping for 8 days in Hawaii. (There are worse challenges, right? But I had to stay married for 50 years to get there, LOL). There will be 5 of us and we will be eating breakfasts and lunches at the condo. I am taking tea bags and Splenda packets (DH is diabetic) in my luggage and trying to think of meals that will use up the foods that I have to buy. (Buying at Hawaii prices is one thing; throwing away food at the end of vacation is another).

    I have been living this winter in a very small house with limited space for food storage. We ate down the freezer and pantry and moved what was left here, where we only have the freezer at the top of the refrigerator. I brought cases of green beans and evaporated milk (for my tea) and half a case of pineapple. Those items are about half-gone, but I have been able to keep the freezer full and put 3 meals on the table every day by spending about $35 week, or up to $50 if I buy meat. We eat one dinner out a week, due to being 50 miles from home at dinnertime on Thursdays, but otherwise all meals are cooked and eaten at home for 2-3 people. The rule for buying meat is that it has to be cheap. Usually I will buy a big hunk of whatever is on sale and re-package it in meal-size portions. We eat meat at nearly every dinner--just not much of it--and have leftovers for lunch about half the time. I am satisfied with what we are eating and what we are spending, but I'm looking forward to having more space for food storage and a bigger freezer. We will be moving into our new house by the end of June.

    I am not LDS, but I've always kept a lot of food around. This stems from growing up in a household where my mother shopped every day. Also, we had a once-in-a-century snowfall when DH was in graduate school and all of the stores were closed...not that we had any way to get to one. Fortunately, I'd recently been grocery shopping. We didn't starve, but we at some strange combinations of food, LOL. That summer, I had to opportunity to buy used canning jars and canned free pears and applesauce. One year, when I knew I was going to be unemployed on Oct. 1, I stayed up at night for two months and canned 200 jars of food, all of it from my own garden. I had a year's worth of green beans, tomatoes, pears and applesauce, and froze a lot of corn. I've sold most of my canning jars, but I still make jam and can whatever I am given. I am planning on dwarf apple, pear and plum trees and a raised bed of strawberries at the new house. The rest of the garden will be in flowers...food for the soul.

  • Ellie April 07, 2018

    Hi Maxine, Last winter, we accompanied my husband's late 80's grandparents and my brother-in-laws family, which includes 3 under 10 children, to the Big Island. We stayed in grandpa's timeshare at no cost, so we were responsible for rental car, groceries and meals. By shopping at Costco (with my Brother-in-law's membership) Walmart, and the local Farmer's market we saved LOT'S on food. The cost is STILL much more than on the main land, but cooking at home is the way to go. You are so smart to pack the Splenda products, tea and powdered beverages that you are able to. Some snacks are a good idea too. Milk in HI was over $4.00 a gallon when we visited. If you happen to be on the Big Island, and staying near Kona check out the free Friday evening (from 6-7p.m.) Hula School performances off Allii Drive at the Keauhou Shopping Center. The show is open air. I enjoyed the children's performances more than the luau that we paid for! They do a "love" offering at the end of the show (which runs over an hour).
    One more thing about food....More than once, we were so happy that we packed a picnic and drinks while we were exploring the island. Many sites like Volcano National Park and the Black Sand Beach are very rural, so there are not many food choices. Certainly not inexpensive ones. You will be happy if you buy a styrofoam cooler at Walmart to use in your travels. Have a WONDERFUL time in HI.

  • Rhonda A. April 08, 2018

    To add to the idea of the cooler, I have another suggestion. We bought 2 collapsible, zippered coolers while in the states once that are really handy. They were super cheap...the kind you can buy near the check-out to use to carry your frozen food home in so it doesn't thaw. These bags fold down nicely for packing, are lightweight and easy to carry, even when full. We take several small freezer bags and sandwich bags with us when we travel, which don't take up much room. The freezer bags are filled with ice and placed in the collapsible coolers to keep drinks and other food cold for the day (just dump the melted ice water and reuse). The sandwich bags are perfect for putting food/snacks in. Inexpensive plastic containers also work well, if you have room in your suitcase. If not, you could buy some at a dollar store when you get there, if you find you need them. Just a tip from a seasoned, budget conscious traveler!

  • Marcia R. April 04, 2018

    The main thing I will be looking for this month is over the counter "lotions and potions"--that's what I call them. My husband plays with cars and I cook a lot so we use a lot of bandaids, antibiotic ointments, anti-itch creams, and the like. They are cheapest at Walmart, which means going in there for about the third time this year. I prefer not to shop much there--but it's a small town with few stores, so they do get my money once in a while. Husband is allergic so even needs his own antibiotic as he is allergic to the triple antibiotic I always bought for general family use.

    In the area of food, I am still well stocked. I need some sponges and scrubbies for cleaning but could use rags, and probably should, except that my husband wears clothes for working on cars that would be rags in anyone else's house. I was thinking about using some older kitchen towels by folding them over a couple times and stitching into pot holders. With an electric stove, potholders are often scorched when close to but not touching burners. I am the guilty party there, I will admit.

    In March, I ran into a couple unadvertised sales and bought a few more cans of corn at 50% off, and jarred spaghetti sauce as well. (Always made my own but now mix Prego with unsalted diced tomatoes to stretch the salt in the Prego over more liquid. Family likes Prego just as much as mine, so I usually just give in and buy it when it's on sale/coupon deal.) Will sometimes make from scratch when tomatoes are cheap, but it's not essential for me to save every penny these days. After your 75th birthday, sometimes energy expended outweighs money spent. I prefer to spend the energy on baking bread and desserts--the savings is higher and the quality better.

    This week's sale is on meat, so I'll see what is a good deal, although there is no hole in my freezer except for pork shoulder. I thought I took out cubed pork this morning to defrost but it turned out to be chunks of ham. Since we didn't have ham for Easter, we will be having ham and scalloped potatoes for supper tonight. I will have to watch that I don't run too short of milk until I shop tomorrow, but I think we'll be ok. Was thinking as I sliced the potatoes a little earlier that the Mandolin I received for a year ago Christmas has worked out well. That is something I make frequently and I have learned to use the mandolin so that it goes quite quickly now. Another thing I should have bought 30 years ago! For dessert we can choose from leftover coffeecake or the oatmeal scotchies DD stopped over with yesterday. I don't make them often so they tasted pretty good. She is a good baker.

  • Holly April 05, 2018

    Thank you so much for the suggestion on how to reduce the sodium per serving of Prego spaghetti sauce. It is a very helpful hint for our household.
    Brandy, I look forward to seeing photographs of your newest baby soon. I hope your oldest daughter has new photographs of her sewing projects to share too.

  • Taryn April 04, 2018

    Love reading your posts, they are always very inspiring. We have been going through a lot of lemons lately, I wish we had a tree. I've tried growing one before but we are in NW WA and I've never been successful.
    We absolutely love this recipe for lemon orzo chicken soup. https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/lemony-chicken-and-orzo-soup

    I noticed you had leeks which is what made me think of this recipe. Lemons and leeks are two of the more expensive parts to making it. We are vegetarians so we substitute white beans for the chicken and have subbed dried dill for fresh. Just an idea if you are looking for a new recipe.

  • Kim in Florida April 04, 2018

    This month we need food!!! I'll be buying fresh produce (in season) and meat. I check the damaged goods at the food service company first and if they have a big bag of something, cheap, I get that. If not, we either do without if it really needed right away, will get it at Aldi or Sams. The meat will probably be coming from Sams. I may be buying a bag of frozen blueberries at Sams to use in oatmeal and yogurt. 3 lbs for $7.48. Aldi has a 12oz bag for $2.49, I cant see spending that much and I really dont want fruit from china at the dollar tree. I will also be stocking up on eggs at the neighborhood walmart. $1.30 for 3 dozen.

  • SJ in Vancouver BC Canada April 04, 2018

    Can you provide more information about checking for 'damaged goods at the food service company'? Is that something available to anyone or do you have to be an employee? I'm curious what a food service company is and would like to see if something similar is in my area or in nearby WA state. Thanks

  • Kim April 05, 2018

    Its a food distributing company that delivers to restaruants, schools, hotels, and plenty other places.....when boxes get damaged they cant sell it so they sell the damaged items in their little company store. Just today I went and bought a "mystery deal" for $20....I got a box that was a 40lb box of ground beef seasoned taco meat. It turned out to be 7 5lb bags in the box, so it wass 35lbs. It turned out to be 57 cents a pound. The most northern one is in North Carolina. Perhaps you could google foodservice and then call and ask what they do with their damaged goods?

  • Marybeth April 04, 2018

    My budget is $400 for the month as well. My pantry is well stocked. If I find a good sale on toilet paper I will get more. I will be buying milk and soymilk, fresh fruit and veggies and what ever else I can get at rock bottom prices. I have been doing very well on meat markdowns the last 2 weeks. I just got 2 turkeys marked down to 49 cents a pound. I am hoping to get some hams on sale now that Easter is over. I am good for the month on eggs as I bought lots before Easter. I am trying to grow my pantry with all of the headlines in the news. I currently have 3-6 months of supplies. I will try to get closer to 6 months on everything. Whatever I do not spend this month I will carry over to May. My adding to my pantry post is here: https://mcoia.blogspot.com/2018/04/adding-to-my-pantry.html

  • Pat April 04, 2018

    My grocery needs are pretty small this month. In fact this first week I don't plan on shopping at all. We will make do with what we have. We will need potatoes, sweet potatoes, yogurt, coffee, and wheat flour. My 18 year old son wants white sandwich bread so I will have to get some baked. I've been baking half whole wheat and he doesn't like it. He eats everything else I fix so I can make his bread.
    My sale purchases will be avacodos at $.39 each, broccoli at $.69lb and potatoes at $.88 for 5lbs.
    Other than fresh produce for salads our purchases will be to loss leaders.

  • Juls Owings April 05, 2018

    Maxine April 04, 2018 congrats on being married 50 yrs. Enjoy your trip

  • Maxine April 05, 2018

    Well, you know what everybody said--"I give it 6 months!" (that was mainly because we had only known each other for 3-1/2 months). Guess we showed them!! Also, for our honeymoon, we pooled our resources and came up with $83. We used it as far as it would take us...definitely not Hawaii, LOL. Thanks for your good wishes!

  • Katrina April 05, 2018

    Brandy, when you are drying your lemons are you just drying the zest and not the whole lemon? My lemon tree is also full of lemons right now and I have been juicing some and freezing in two cup freezer bags.

  • I am just drying the zest to use in recipes and for lemon pepper. You can dry slices if you want; I tried that once from a reader's suggestion, but then we had pantry moths and they ate through the bags they were stored in and destroyed them, so I never did try using them.

  • PJGT April 05, 2018

    I am buying new tires for the car and visiting my daughter for Mom's weekend this month. That takes care of the spending.

  • Shirley April 05, 2018

    It seems many frugal families allot less on their monthly food budget -- and thrive -- than what SNAP benefits grant. If only all this frugal knowledge could be somehow imparted to those who could really use it!

  • Rhonda A. April 06, 2018

    Well, the knowledge is out there, free for the taking, for those are ready and have a desire to learn. There are definitely those who join in the conversations here that are trying to learn these valuble skills and make a difference in their lives. The great part is when they share what they have accomplished, the rest of us can learn from them too! I, personally, enjoy reading about what others have done when living with so little income. It's extremely inspirational. Unfortunately, there are some who are just not ready to receive the knowledge, have a strong enough desire to change or feel too overwhelmed to do what needs to be done. As the saying goes...you can lead horse to water, but you can't make them drink. Nonetheless, the information is here when they are ready.

  • Lilli April 06, 2018

    Dear Rhonda, thank you so much for your comment. I Imagine our monthly income of 1000.00 puts us at below the poverty line. Due to massive injuries, I doubt I will ever return to work. Being frugal and actually practicing it can make a world of difference in the quality of ones life. Just when I think I cant find another dime to save, someone here teaches me a new trick. Sadly, I find people asking for help constantly. I have had to set boundaries because most of the time they want handouts and not the education to improve their circumstances. I often feel guilty and sad. My life changed drastically but we are so blessed. The children and I have everything we need and most of what we want. I am so grateful for the knowledge that Brandy and the posts contribute to our lives. Only having 60.00 a month in SNAP is a huge value to keeping my stockpile replenished. I can actually feed 4 adults in this budget.

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