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December's Grocery Shopping Plans

Meyer Lemons in Basket The Prudent Homemaker

If you didn't know I had a stocked pantry and freezers, my list this month would certainly seem like it isn't enough food, and certainly not well-balanced!

I never did end up finding a good sale on frozen peas or on cream cheese last month. I ended up buying broccoli instead of peas last month, and as long as prices stay under $1 a pound, I'll buy more this month (I've still got some in the fridge). If I find frozen sweet peas for $1 a pound or less, I'll stock up. 

There are so many great sales this month on holiday baking items, citrus, and Christmas meal ingredients. I'll only be picking up a few of them. My budget for this month is $200. I spent a little more last month than I had planned, stocking up on some great deals, including canned green beans at $0.33 can, potatoes, more acorn squash, and broccoli.

I don't want to be in the stores much this month: I'd like to do many other things with my time!


I went to Sam's Club yesterday and picked up the following:


powdered sugar

brown sugar

chocolate chips

balsamic vinegar




goat cheese (I was pleasantly surprised to find that they had switched brands and are now carrying a store brand in a 2-pack for the same price as they used to have 1)

sharp cheddar cheese

mozzarella cheese

toilet paper


I'll go to Winco later this month and with the remaining $50 I will buy:


clementines and/or mandarins and/or oranges



sweet peas if there is a good sale


sour cream

canned pineapple


Swiss chard on bench The Prudent Homemaker 

Right now in the garden, my Meyer lemons are ripening. While I don't have the bumper crop I did last year (where we had hundreds of lemons) there are lots of lemons in the garden!

I am harvesting Swiss chard, beet greens, and a good number of herbs. I still have Thai peppers ripening in the garden.

We picked all of the tomatoes from the garden, which are ripening inside. I also picked two more butternut squash, which I added to the squash I picked previously from the garden as well as the acorn squash I purchased.

The freeze I heard was coming to the valley did not come to us. I have lettuce seedlings growing outside under glass, and I plan to transplant them and then cover each individual plant with a glass jar to keep it growing all winter. We may get a freeze one day next week if the weather prediction is correct, but all other days are predicted to be above freezing at night, which is pretty typical here this time of year.

I've planted spinach and snow peas in the garden that we should be able to harvest in early February. February 15th is our last frost date for this area, and I usually plant more lettuce seeds in the garden the third week of January, as we rarely see a frost past then (I'll cover my seedlings too, which will keep them safe and also increase their growth rate).


Some of the things I'm planning to make this month are:


pork roast with roasted rosemary potatoes and broccoli

chicken with Swiss chard and garlic chicken rice

French onion soup (using mozzarella as a much less-expensive topping than Gruyère, the traditional topping) with French bread

pizza with peppers, onions, and artichoke hearts

cranberry almond granola to go on homemade yogurt

butternut squash soup with rosemary olive oil bread

Tuscan tomato bread soup

crepes with lemon juice and powdered sugar (also with strawberry jam and Nutella)

taco soup

rosemary white bean soup

chili with cornbread

tomato basil soup with rosemary olive oil bread

fruit crumble using frozen fruit from our garden

lemon meringue pie


You can see more of my winter menu here.


What are you planning to buy this month?


Last modified on
Tagged in: Grocery Shopping


  • Jessica December 03, 2016

    Things are pretty tight around here with my husband being laid off because of seasonal work and my reduced hours while being in school. On the bright side he is looking to develop work that lines up with his passions, and I will be able to accrue OT on break from school...and potentially move up in the ranks as well *fingers crossed*. We are very blessed to have a well stocked cupboard so we have been eating out of that more. I still have turkey from last Saturday that I might turn into a pot pie and go on to freeze the rest. I managed to score some Wild Alaskan Salmon in pre cut and packaged form for $5.00 a bag. I bought two! With my health issues I need to eat lean meat and veggies, and rarely do I see that quality of salmon here at that price.
    I have some Christmas presents I need to get and a baby shower gift as well but I am keeping costs relatively low.
    Thank you for putting the work in to build up this frugal community, I appreciate it!
    Do you have a certain french onion soup recipe you enjoy?

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker December 03, 2016

    I don't measure much for my French Onion soup recipe; I need to measure and put on the site! I do use 1 onion per person.

  • pat December 03, 2016

    This month we will need milk, eggs, bread, vegetables and some fruit. For baking we need flour, sugar and brown sugar. Otherwise I think we are all set and I am very thankful!
    Meals this month will include spaghetti and meatballs, meatloaf and mashed potatoes and corn, Fettuccini Alfredo, garlic chicken stir fry and enchiladas.

  • Heidi December 03, 2016

    Brandy I really hope you get an Aldi soon. It seems like it should come to your part of the country soon. Hopefully it will be close when it does come. Frozen veggie under $1 a pound are an everyday price there.

    I need to stock up on more butter, I have 62 lbs but that is not a year's supply for my family. I am in desperate need of sugar. Aldi is still hanging out at $1.45 for a 4 lb. bag. I would like to get a least 100 lbs of sugar. Chocolate chips is another thing. Aldi has them for $1.49 a bag but hopefully a store will loss leader at .99.

    I am also very low on chicken. i hate that feeling because it is such a staple for many dishes. I am actually pretty low on meat all around. I will buy 1 or 2 hams and a turkey. Never saw a price I liked over Thanksgiving. We don't love turkey and we really hate turkey broth so 1 a year is fine by us. I can get chicken much cheaper and I love having pressure canned chicken broth in the pantry.

    I am done Christmas shopping so I can focus more money on food in preparation for our no Spend January that we always do. Have a blessed Christmas.

    P.S. I have a hard time when people ask me for recipes also because I never use them.

  • Ellie December 03, 2016

    If you live near a Walmart super center, check out the 10 pound bags of sugar. I bought one yesterday, 12/2/16 for $4.90. That is the best price on cane sugar that I've found.

  • Debby in KS December 03, 2016

    I gotta ask...what do you do with so much butter? Was 62 lbs a misprint?

  • Cate December 03, 2016

    I buy butter on sale all the time and freeze it. It freezes very well.

  • Heidi December 04, 2016

    I have a large family and all boys. I make everything from scratch. Butter is our main fat source. I

  • Debby in KS December 04, 2016

    Ahh, okay. We go through about a pound per month and I thought that was a lot! I have a dozen frozen and feeling rich!

  • Athanasia December 05, 2016

    We use a lot of butter also and do try to build up a good supply. I have never bought or used margarine. I used 1 lb Saturday mixing up my first batch of Christmas cookie dough. Between baking, cooking, making popcorn, toast, buttering vegetables etc we probably use 1 1/2 lbs a week, more of less depending on how many at home at the moment and whether there is a holiday. I keep most in the freezer, about 5 lbs in the refrigerator. There are usually a couple sticks or a pound laying on the counter coming to room temperature because I have plans for it. We bought 20 lbs at Sam's club last week when shopping with a relative. No Sam's club in our town. It costs about 9.50 for 4 lbs there and the grocer has it
    2 lbs/5.00 so not a huge saving and would not have made a special trip for it.

  • Rachel cortese December 03, 2016

    Last month none of the items I normally buy went on sale. Canned corn never went below .79 a can. Last year as the years before I was able to get it for .39 a can. The only thing that went on sale that I stocked up on was canned pineapple for .99 for 20oz cans. I was a bit disappointed that they didn't have the sales they normally have this time of the year. Even my mom was shocked that there were hardly any sales. I will be keeping my eye open this month on sales for baking goods and canned items and frozen veggies.
    Butter is finally on sale for 1.99 a pound a limit of 20lbs at food for less. Vons has brown sugar and powered sugar one pound packages for .69 each. Last year I was able to get brown sugar and powdered sugar for .99 for 2lb packages. I'm thinking of getting some for .69 since I doubt I will see that price again for the 2lbs.
    I left my job August 31st to stay home with my kiddo. Since my babysitters could no longer watch him. It has been a tough transition since I am trying to get the hang of being at home and sticking to a budget and learning how to make a tight budget work since we only have one income coming in now. So I can't buy huge amounts of food to stock up on. I really appreciate all the posts that you have done on grocery shopping and it has helped me a tremendous amount. I look forward to every month seeing these lists and I also look forward any and all posts you make.

  • Terry December 03, 2016

    Rachel, do you have a Dollar General in your area? Twice now they have had Libby's canned vegetables for 3/$1.00. I have also been able to pick up a couple of bottles of vegetable oil for $1 for the 48oz size using their digital coupon. Most of their items are higher than the grocery store but they do run a pretty good sale price on a few items each week.

  • Amy in Phx December 03, 2016

    I agree with the disappointing sales this year. Because of that I skipped a trip last week since I am well stocked. I too was disappointed with the Turkey prices, I couldn't find anything under $.79/lb. This week Fry's ( Kroger) has butter for $1.88 and ALL laundry soap for $1.99. I am hoping baking supplies go on sale ahead of Christmas.

  • Debby in KS December 03, 2016

    Does anyone still do the free-turkey-with-purchase? When we lived in SoCal, we regularly got at least 2 free turkeys every year for a $50 purchase. In the 12 yrs we've lived in KS, we've never had that. I loved that freebie! We got to donate one to the food bank every year.

  • Amie December 03, 2016

    We have basic turkeys at 59c a lb w a $25 (I think Kroger is a $30)purchase. Butterball is like $1.19 a lb. They had canned vegetables at Meijer 2/$1 last month. The 3/$1 at DG is for a couple varieties. They go fast here. Besides baking, I tend to watch potatoes and sweet potatoes.

  • Danielle December 03, 2016

    My local grocer does. Free up to 12lb turkey with $100 purchase. However, they are one of the most expensive stores in the area.

  • Terry December 04, 2016

    one of our stores does the free with $100 purchase and another store does free with $400 in a months time. Where I live turkeys never went below $1.19lb. I'm hoping they mark them down in a few weeks.

  • Debby in KS December 04, 2016

    That's a shame about the turkeys. I remember them being pretty cheap even if they weren't free.

  • Becky December 06, 2016

    I know it's hard to get things built up when you are on a budget, and especially when you are just getting started up on it. It is also much harder to go "down" in budget then "up." That being said, it is precious that you can spend all that time with your child.

    One idea that came to my mind, is for you to try to carve out $10, $20, or whatever each month for the specific purpose of buying in bulk. Then, take that money and go to a place like Cash and Carry (a place that supplies restaurants, but also sells to the public in large packages) or Costco, etc. and buy one huge bag of whatever you can afford. I recently bought brown sugar that way. I don't remember exactly what I paid right now, but it was less than in the small packages at Winco. Best of all, I don't have to buy any for months. I repackage into large tins, large plastic food-grade buckets, empty ice cream buckets, or ziplocks to keep fresh. Then, the next month, buy rice, or sugar, or flour, or oil, or whatever you can. In a few months, you will have so many of the staples that it will free up money for you. I'm sure you have lots of good ideas, too, but that's one that works for me.

  • carla December 03, 2016

    I just harvested my carrots and am super excited. In our rocky soil in Pennsylvania they are hard to grow in the ground. I also transplanted four lettuce plants that has held on in the cold to bring inside and see if they will continue to grow.

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