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August Garden Harvest and a Month Without Grocery Shopping

 Cucumbers and Basil The Prudent Homemaker

My freezers are packed full of frozen fruit from both our garden and from deals I found earlier this year. There's some meat in there, somewhere behind all the peaches, blackberries, figs, strawberries, and blueberries. There's lemon juice from our lemon trees too.

The garden has started producing Armenian cucumbers. I'm hoping for enough to can pickles this year. I planted loads of them in several places in the garden and the vines have reached the tops of my five-foot trellises and started producing female flowers.

We have Swiss chard, red noodle beans, and green onions in the garden.

Yellow Pear Tomatoes The Prudent Homemaker

The tomato plants are still producing (especially the Yellow Pear tomatoes), though they are winding down because of the heat (they are not longer producing flowers).

I've got butternut squash growing and will have a few to pick this month.

I have 5 zucchini plants. None are producing for me at the moment, but the overcast days in July led to cooler temperatures and I can see a combination of male and female flowers at the base of them. Hopefully, they'll be open on the same days to be pollinated and we'll have some zucchini too!

Bartlett Pears on Tree The Prudent Homemaker 

The Bartlett pears are ripe this month. There aren't many, as the trees have never grown very large in 10 years, but we'll still have a decent number.

The table grapes are ripe (the birds have gotten a number of them though). We'll have some to eat (they have seeds) and some to juice. When they're all done, I'll pick the leaves to cook. They have a lemony flavor and are delicious in all sorts of recipes. I'll stuff some this month too.

Bucket of Zinnias and Sunflowers

The zinnias I planted in the backyard are opening! I know they're late but I'm happy to have them! I have a few small sunflowers too (about the same size as the zinnias).

I've got a decently stocked pantry

And I'm not planning to go shopping at all during the month of August for food or toiletries.

We're having a lower income month along with increased expenses. We're adding life insurance to our bills this month and in September we hope to add some online college classes for my eldest, which will mean tuition and book expenses. These will mean increased expenses every month, so hopefully, our income will increase to cover the difference. 

With an irregular income, I never know what our income will be. I try to plan a month ahead for expenses whenever possible, but that isn't always possible. This month, I'm waiting to see what else will come in. Our first priorities are our mortgage, utilities, and insurance. Should anything come in past that, I'll save it to put toward's September's bills.

Whether or not I'll go shopping in September is yet to be seen. If I do, it is certainly to be a reduced amount. We were very blessed last year to make more money and be able to increase our grocery budget. This year, our income has been lower, and if it continues as it has been, we will make 1/3 of what we made last year (Last year was a blessing! We were able to repair several things and purchase some needed furniture. Before that, things had been much lower, like this year, for the 8 previous years). Consequently, it's possible that I'll go back to a $100 a month budget. I know we can do it, as we have in past years where we've made this amount, and we managed to build our food storage while doing so. It's been nice to have had the money to buy other things we like to eat, including more meat and cheese, but we can certainly eat more soups, oats, rice, and beans going forward. I'm collecting lettuce seeds from the garden this week and I look forward to planting them in my fall garden along with other seeds I have on hand. I'm feeling really grateful that when our income was higher last year, I bought a couple of years' worth of seeds, and that I'm growing almost all open-pollinated seeds, which allows me to collect seeds from my garden to plant every year.

Here's some of what I'll have on the menu this month:




Oatmeal with brown sugar, raisins, and almonds

Crepes (I still have some eggs and I'll use powdered milk)

Whole wheat waffles with fruit from the freezer

Smoothies and toast with cinnamon sugar 

Bread and jam (I've got homemade strawberry, apricot, and fig jams, plus apple butter on my pantry shelves)


Summer Pasta Salad The Prudent Homemaker



Black beans and rice with tomatoes and corn

White bean dip with pita bread, cucumbers, and tomatoes (produce from the garden)

Macaroni and cheese with sliced tomatoes (on the side!) and cucumbers in vinegar

Tomato Basil Sandwiches

Pasta Salad


Fig Tarts The Prudent Homemaker




Fig Tarts


Peach Pie Popsicles







Black Bean Burgers with Steak Sauce and tomatoes from the garden

Turkey Curry over basmati rice with peas and chapatis

Pork Roast with fig sauce and mashed potatoes, Swiss chard, and butternut squash

Baked Potatoes with a corn and tomato salad

Stir fry with pork or turkey and vegetables from the garden and bean sprouts

Pinto beans and rice with onions and tomatoes

Spaghetti with red noodle beans

Stuffed grape leaves with homemade pita bread

Ham with Rosemary potatoes and red noodle beans

Ham sandwiches with tomatoes from the garden and home-canned dill pickles



If you're living from your pantry this month, check out my two weeks' worth of pantry meals here.

If you need more bean recipes, check out my post on How to Eat Beans Every Night.

If you're looking for a frugal summer menu, check out a month's worth of summer meals here.


Are you planning to go shopping in August? What deals will you be looking to purchase?


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Tagged in: Grocery Shopping


  • Andrea Q August 01, 2017

    Making ends meet and frugality are two different things; the latter is a choice. The dictionary definition of frugal is "economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful" or "characterized by or reflecting economy in the use of resources". Anyone, with any income, can be frugal :D

  • Sara August 01, 2017

    Does yout state offer post secondary enrollment options where you can be dually enrolled in high school and college? My son will be a high school junior this year, and homeschooled. He will however also be taking college classes. These are free for us, and books are also free, as long as he is still a high schooler. He does earn full credits for both high school and college at the same time. I know things vary state to state, but was just wondering if that is an option for you.

  • Juls Owings August 01, 2017

    I told Hubby this morning as he harvested (I'm in a shoulder sling due to surgery) that I saw no reason other than milk and maybe bread,something along that line that we couldn't get by on $20 for this month for groceries. I have some personal stuff and some household items needing stocked but need to wait for sales. He is a little panicky since he's the one in the kitchen mostly and he knows it will be mostly from scratch cooking along with processing the gardens and dehydrating the eggs I got cheap. I remember when our 4 youngest graduated the same year..2 of them early.. college costs were nightmares but they got what grants they could and worked part time to help pay. Our 14 yr old granddaughter has already qualified for a 3 year free ride at local college plus taking free college classes while she finishes high school. I'm rereading your posts also. You and the ones that share here have been our life line. Blessings to all


  • K August 01, 2017

    Such beautiful produce! You always have such lovely pictures, Brandy.

    here are our shopping plans for this month:

    August will be another $200 month for us, since I want to stock up before school starts and make one last trip to Sam's. We don't need to buy any meat for the next few months because I stocked up in July, but I'll be making one last big trip to Sam's Club before our membership expires. I'll be getting pinto beans, cheeses, some deli meat, dried fruit, tomato sauce, and possibly some more items depending on how the rest of the shopping turns out. The goal is to not purchase a new membership for at least a few months, though the longer the better.

    We also don't need to purchase eggs (I have just under 6 dozen in the fridge), though I am tempted by a sale at a local supermarket- they have large size eggs for $0.49/dozen, which is a really great price. We will need to stock up on the usual basics (milk, bread, fruit, etc), but I've planned for meals that all use lower-cost staples or things I've already purchased so there won't be any big-ticket items beyond what I get at Sam's.

    On the dinner menu this month are chicken and rice soup, chili with cornbread, lasagna (I purchased all necessary items for this last month), a pork roast, bean/lentil tacos, enchiladas, pasta with alfredo sauce, fried rice, and red beans and rice. Breakfasts will be eggs and toast/potatoes or oatmeal, and lunches will be sandwiches (either ham, egg salad, or tuna salad) or leftovers. Snacks will be homemade hummus with carrot sticks, fruit, and popcorn, and I'll probably make a double batch of the hummus so I can freeze some for when classes start up again.

    I hope everyone has a good August!

  • Sherri Killion August 01, 2017

    Brandy, on-line classes at community colleges are often free for high school students. I homeschooled my son and daughter and they both got free college courses. My son even graduated with an associate degree in drafting at the same time he graduated from HS. You can also fill out a FAFSA and get Pell Grant and other financial aid that covers tuition, fees and books. I live in Illinois but I think each state has similar programs.

  • Debby in Kansas August 01, 2017

    It sounds like there's a good sized group of us that will be spending little to nothing this month! I set our budget at $100. We're still adjusting to the new job income change and pay dates. Who would have thought that it could all be so complicated?! We're still waiting to see what a normal paycheck will be. The insurance is finally settled, but we're still working on the HSA, retirement, & our state taxes changed. In the meantime, I figure that if I just keep expenditures reined in, it will hopefully work out okay.

    We have a couple of plumbing issues that have proved to be beyond us so we're going to have that extra expense for certain. We're also seeing that our cedar fence has some impending repairs to be done this fall. I so miss the slumpstone walls that were in our old SoCal home. Not enough to move back there, haha, but those things even survived a big earthquake. I'm not sure why there are no or few brick walls here. Probably drainage issues. Or tornado?

  • Mable August 01, 2017

    Both my husband and I work on contract in our field, so our income is very, very variable. July, when new state and agency budgets start is a very lean month because often no one is sure exactly what allocations are going to be. (Of course, the opposite is true for June, when agencies spend down their budgets, so we ted to make more in May and June than any other month. But this year was a bad one even for those months...) We also have to wait to be paid, which can take months. So, for August our food budget is $25, which will be spent on milk. We have a huge garden and plenty in the freezer, so we won't starve. And last night I went under the bed to get one of the suitcases we store under there, and a found a case of tuna and a case of canned clams. We bought them at a tremendous sale about a year ago, four cases of each. Somehow I miscounted and didn't realize these cases were unopened, waiting to be discovered. We had put them inside two suitcases, to make maximum room under the bed. So, I am shopping the garden, the freezer and under the bed this month!

  • PJGT August 01, 2017

    So funny! At one time I stored extra cans of condensed soup I had bought at give away prices behind the books in our library. We found them each time someone took a book out. :) There were even some stragglers left when we packed to move.

  • SJ in Vancouver BC Canada August 01, 2017

    This month, I am planning to only buy milk and any good sales items. I skipped the monthly 10% off day at Safeway and I'll be out of town for the other market's 10% off day. I couldn't think of $35 worth of groceries (the minimum to get the 10% off) that I really needed.
    My goal is to eat 100% of my veggies from my garden. I don't have fruit trees like you do but I do have access to free blackberries. I plan to pick a few ziplock bags worth of berries to freeze and some more to eat fresh.
    I'll frequent the non-profit grocery store for all of my bread. At $0.10 per loaf, I can't make it any cheaper. I will also try and buy my fresh milk there as well. What they sell is really hit and miss, except for the bread.
    Thanks for this post. One of my biggest challenges is coming up with menus and a plan for what to eat.

  • Jen@FrugalSteppingStones August 01, 2017

    Has your eldest applied for any scholarships?When I was in grad school the past two years, I applied for quite a few, and many did not require a transcript or anything other than an essay. I ended up getting a $2500 one, which just about covered one 8-week session, or two courses.

    We recently increased our budget, but may be decreasing it again as well, as we have increased medical costs. It's good to know it can be done when circumstances change.

  • Kim August 01, 2017

    Thank you Brandy for another inspirational post. I really enjoy your awesome photos. I hope your gardening efforts provide abundance for your family this month.
    Last evening I harvested parsley and dill from my garden. I laid them out on large trays covered by a dishcloth to dry in our very warm weather. They should be completely dry by the time I get home from work. I have a dehydrator but using the sun is free. I hope to harvest enough to last me until next gardening season. I also plan to harvest my basil and make pesto to freeze. If I have enough, I will use some of the dried herbs as gifts at Christmas.
    I am currently feeding myself, my husband, my adult son and at least once or twice a week I feed dinner to my daughter, her husband and their child. I enjoy helping out my adult children by feeding them when I can. My meals are nothing fancy, I just use what I can find on sale incorporated with my pantry staples.
    This evening, I plan to forge for blackberries which I will use to make jam and blackberry dumplings. My family loves nothing more than a good pot of blackberry dumplings on a cold, wet winter evening- it is a taste of summer!
    Brandy, I often wish we lived closer together so we could trade garden produce with each other and provide more variety for our families.
    I also wanted to mention that I have a friend that comes each year and gathers dill from my garden- right before Thanksgiving he gifts me with a couple jars of pickles. His pickles are the best.

  • Marcia Parmeley August 01, 2017

    I have recently started doing a green smoothie every day in an attempt to nourish myself better. I had dental surgery in early June and I still am not able to eat normally. So smoothies don't need to be bitten or chewed.........I have been throwing in everything imaginable and some things you'd never think of. I am particularly looking for any "bargains" on seasonal fruit and vegetables this month. I am fully prepared to freeze, can, or dehydrate whatever I can get my hands on! I have meat so I'm not looking for meat unless I see a special I can't pass up. I'm also working on eating up what's in my freezer. That will help keep my purchases, except for produce, to a minimum.

  • Tina August 01, 2017

    My daughter is taking college classes and we have found renting textbooks via Amazon a very economical way to go :)
    They make easy and we have been able to rent books for a fraction of the buying cost

  • Libby August 01, 2017

    Local peaches are finally in, so I will buy a bushel.

    Every August I buy a new round of bottled water to put away in my basement. The next three months are when hurricanes are most likely to hit New England, and if that happens, the stores run out of bottled water very quickly. I still keep the older bottled water as it is perfect for flushing toilets, etc in a power outage.

    Peanut butter usually goes on sale the end of this month at the lowest annual price. I'm planning to buy 24 jars if it is my target price.

    I'm also planning to buy school supplies for Operation Christmas Child boxes.

  • Lilllanna Pickles August 01, 2017

    Baby Cocker Spaniel must go to the vet this week. I believe while I was at the hospital with sugar cookie for 3 weeks that pup got in the CAT food. That is a chicken based product that pup is allergic to. Baby boy wasn't diligent with his puppy baby sitting. I imagine this will be about 200.00. I am hoping to pay half now and half next month. Sugar cookie is leaving to visit relatives while I have 2 surgeries. Between 3 visits to the big city with gas and parking , I will be hurting with puppies expenses. Thankfully, our freezer and pantry are well stocked. My medical expenses are covered from a car wreck. Sadly sugar cookies expenses for her 3 am hospitalization are 200 thousand. She has Medicare but it still leaves me with bills we can't pay. I am hoping Medicaid will kick in for her. Her issue is genetic so the burden falls on me. I am grateful for having been taught well and the very worse thing is having to go to DFCS and asking for help. We have everything we need so I cannot complain.

  • Jeannie August 03, 2017

    Lillianna, did I read your post correctly, Sugar Cookie's hospital expenses are $200,000? I am hoping it was a typo.

    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry.Blogspot.com

  • Lilllanna Pickles August 03, 2017

    Yes mam, three weeks in the hospital is coming in at over 200 thousand so far. Her Medicare co payments are hitting about 5000.00 right now. She's been disabled since birth but only collected social security since she was 21. I was always able to support us ,so I never got it. Our income is minimal due to auto accident injories. I have 3 surgeries scheduled. I will be receiving a settlement one day in life but not soon. I see her bills and mine pushing us into bankruptcy. They actually gave her 300 dollar asprin. The system is broke and sadly frugality won't save me from this. One hospital, 13 doctors, labs, meds, supplies, xrays, etc. I literally don't have enough monthly income to make small payments to each provider. The funniest part, is there was a doctor who wanted to helicopter her over to the next city to see if the neurologist on staff could determine if her sinuses were infected. I put my foot down on that one. Her primary have her something and a previous mri, showed they were. So happy to be home....

  • Cindi August 04, 2017

    You have no doubt already done this, but just in case anyone else in this situation is reading, please contact the hospital's financial services (they may also have a patient advocate department)-- they should be able to help cut through some red tape with Medicaid, to get them to cover these bills. I am praying for you!

  • Athanasia August 05, 2017

    I am not sure why there would be medicare copayments at all due to having medicaid secondary. All those copayments should!d be a medicaid write off.

  • momsav August 01, 2017

    Another fabulous post, Brandy! I don't know where you find the time!
    Our CSA isn't producing many vegetables at the moment. We're still getting lots of salad greens, green onions, herbs and the occasional vegetable. We've had two heads of cabbage, with slugs, beets, green beans, carrots and a couple more that escape me. I'm hoping for more vegetables any time, now. We've had a huge amount of rain early and now we're having high heat. I am hoping that the farmer's market starts selling vegetables, as well. They were rained out tonight. I still have about 100.00 in tokens left to spend.
    The dog needs food and treats. Our local shopco has a deal where you spend 40.00 on dog food/treats, you get a 15.00 go. Tomorrow is senior day where I can stack the two and get an even better deal. So, that's on the agenda.
    Food will be bought if it's a great deal. Months later, I'm still looking for a butter deal. If eggs and cheese are so cheap, why not butter? Our best price is running about 3.50 lb.
    Our blueberry season is in full swing. I've only been able to go for an hour where I had to hunt and peck. I still have some from last year so I may skip it this year. I'm working too many hours to fit picking in. (And I love picking blueberries!)
    I'm also loving your recipes, Brandy! I'm trying to follow your lead by cooking simple, healthy, less expensive meals. You are a treasure!

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