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February's Shopping Plans

Meyer Lemon Tree The Prudent Homemaker

This post contains affiliate links.

I'm zesting and juicing lemons this month from the garden. I am freezing lemon juice and zest to use throughout the year. In order to have enough space in the freezer for so much juice, we're eating lots from the freezers. This time of year, we eat the frozen fruit from the garden that I froze over the last year. We're also eating meat from the freezers. 

The pantry is still plenty stocked, including canned fruits and vegetables, butternut squash, pumpkins, and onions.

I'm glad I was able to can so much applesauce from our tree last year, as due to massive borer damage on all but one branch, we had to pull the tree last month. I'm replacing it with another. It will be a few years before the new tree is large enough to start bearing.

Snow Pea Blossoms The Prudent Homemaker

In the garden, (In addition to hundreds of lemons) we have green onions, oregano, nasturtiums, Swiss chard, New Zealand Spinach, and the first of the snow peas ripening this month.

I'm focusing on filling holes in the pantry. I've been asked before what percentage of the grocery budget I allot towards filling the pantry. Stocking up on pantry staples is my first priority, not my last, nor a tiny bit. I then look to purchase fresh items in addition to any pantry needs. I find that my money goes further this way (such as 25 pounds of oats for under $17 at Winco!) 

Each year I aim to increase the yield in my garden to allow for plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits throughout the year for my family. I succession sow seeds, I grow vertically, I've added additional fruit trees in pots (underplanted with flowers and herbs), I've planted more that grows well in my climate (especially more cut and come again vegetables like Swiss chard and green onions), I've covered the walls with berry bushes and grape vines, and I re-landscaped my small front yard to allow for 5 fruit trees in the ground and 3 in pots, in addition to herbs, vegetables, and flowers. Doing all these things not only helps us to have something always ripe in the garden to harvest, but it also allows me to be able to can and freeze fruit. I currently have a total of 29 fruit trees, including 3 nut trees and 8 potted fruit trees. Everything in the ground is watered by drip irrigation (and a few of my potted trees are also on drip irrigation).

I have a budget of $200 for February's purchases. Here's how I'll spend it:

 

Smith's:

Pasta. American Beauty brand pasta is on sale for $0.49 when you buy multiples of 6 (regular price is $1.25 a pound). This is the price I've been waiting to see; it's the lowest price I can find for pasta, and this sale only happens 2 to 3 times a year, so I'll stock up. Smith's is our Kroger affiliate, so you may have this sale price on pasta where you live, too! East of the Mississippi River, it's often the Creamette brand of pasta that goes on sale this low. (Note: One reader noted that her store has this sale for $0.38, but it's on 12-ounce packages pasta rather than 16-ounce.)

 

Target:

Diapers. There should be a spend so much get a gift card deal back on diapers this month. Every year, Target has a similar offer in January, but February's offer is usually a little better. Last year, it was spend $100 on diapers, get a $25 gift card. If I don't see this deal for some reason, I will hold off on buying more diapers. I still have plenty for my youngest and I don't need diapers for the baby yet. I will still have a 15% off coupon coming for one purchase from my registry to use on diapers if there isn't a great sale before the baby arrives. For the 15% off coupon, the item has to be on your registry. I created a registry just for this purpose, and I made sure I put diapers on the registry. (I will also pick up my registry freebies this month when I go to Target). (Update: It looks like it will be spend $100, get a $20 gift card starting next week. You'll need the coupon, which will be in the ad and also in the Target app, in order to get the $20 gift card).

Salon Graphix hairspray (unscented super hold)

 

Walmart:

Oxi-Clean spray in the refill bottle (I pour it into this pretty spray bottle to use for laundry)

Equate dandruff shampoo

 

Winco:

Oats (25-pound bag for a little over $16)

Potatoes

Vegetable Oil

 

Our last official frost date is February 15th, at which time our local nursery will have a large number of vegetable and herb plants available. I spoke with the manager, and because of our record heat this year (it's going to be 76ºF/24ºC on Monday), they are expecting these plants to come in earlier. (They had a few tomato and vegetable plants and a number of herb plants on January 26th when I went in; normally there are no tomato plants there until February 14th).  For those who are local, Star Nursery traditionally has a sale on tomato, vegetable, and herb plants on President's Day weekend. I plan on purchasing tomato plants and two fruit trees (to replace my dead ones) for the garden. I'll be watching for sale prices as well as coupons (usually there are coupons this month in the Val-Pak and/or in the ads that wrap around hte grocery ads in the mail) and I will be purchasing these items on sale. (My garden budget is not a set amount. I have spent as little as $150 a year on my garden up to $1500, not counting years where we landscaped the garden. Larger purchases include non-edible things like dirt, bushes, sprinkler and valve replacement parts, drip irrigation, etc. I take money for the garden from my miscellaneous budget, which includes clothing and household purchases for the family. That amount is generally equal to or less than my grocery budget for the month. This year, my miscellaneous budget for the garden, clothing, and household goods is $200 a month, but I will spend less if I don't need anything.)

I'll sow seeds for Armenian cucumbers, Red Noodle beans, lettuce, radishes, alpine strawberries, pumpkins and squash this month in the garden. I'll also sow flower seeds. I already have these seeds, purchased in past years and collected from my own garden.

I don't know if our record highs this month mean we'll see a longer spring or just an earlier summer. Either way, the ground is warm enough to plant now, so there's no point in waiting. Hopefully, everything will germinate well and my seedlings won't be eaten by bugs, and I'll have lots of fresh food and flowers to enjoy from the garden this year!

 

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Comments

  • Jennifer O February 05, 2018

    My mother and her companion arrive for a visit this afternoon. I have no idea how long they are staying. I made several casseroles to eat while they are here (I work full time). I have a ham and a turkey I bought months ago to serve on the weekend.
    They eat very differently than I do (lots of snacks), so I’m sure they will go buy all sorts of individually packaged stuff, keurig pods, and sugary pastries that I don’t usually keep here. I have coffee and the refillable pods, but they insist on the disposable ones. Same with a large container of yogurt and fruit, but they will go buy individually packaged ones. Sigh.
    Our freezers are full and the pantry holes have largely been filled – thanks to a sale on ground beef $2.99 lb! Hoping for a sale on Asian sauces and ingredients for Chinese New Year. My husband will take a trip to the Hispanic grocery while he’s in Miami this week and get me 40 lbs of basmati rice and 40 more lbs of jasmine rice and coffee (super sale) those will last a couple of years. He will also pick up as 4 containers of powdered milk (Nido).

  • Allyson February 05, 2018

    I understand your mild frustration with the individual packages, disposable items, etc. We feel very much the same way with my in-laws. We love them, but they live so differently than we do, and it does feel wasteful at times. But I'm sure they likely don't quite understand our way of living either.

  • Une February 05, 2018

    Hello. Does it arrive to you to spend more then you had planned?

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker February 05, 2018

    I don't spend more than I have planned. $200 is my budget for the month.

  • kim February 05, 2018

    Because I gained 5 lbs and think I have IBS or just a very sensitive digestive system, my grocery budget is going up for the next few months as I switch to a Mediterranean diet full of vegetables and whole grains and legumes. Until I learn how to follow this diet by cooking from scratch, I've been buying quinoa mixes and wild caught salmon which ate expensive. On the plus side, I feel so much better!! I have to figure out a frugal balance between eating healthy and saving money to pay off our mortgage sooner. So far I spent $360 on food in the last 3 weeks, but it should last a couple more. That is about double my $200 I wanted to spend but worth the health. Now I will focus on bringing my budget down!

  • Allyson February 05, 2018

    I have had similar issues and found out that I have an overgrowth of Candida, a naturally occurring yeast in your gut that can take over if you're on antibiotics, stressed, etc. I have found that a Paleo diet really helps, but you're right that it's much more expensive and time-consuming. Overall, I like feeling so much better, but I really do miss bread. If anyone has good grain free recipes to share, I'd love to try them! I love to bake and am finding that I really miss that creative outlet.

  • Marney February 05, 2018

    Hi Allyson,

    I have a great grain free cook book ( mostly uses almond flour) called 'Everyday grain-free baking' by Kelly Smith. Your library might have a copy ( at least my did, but I wore it out, so bought my own copy!). She also has a blog TheNourishingHome.com. I hope that you enjoy!

    Marney

  • Allyson February 06, 2018

    Marney, thanks for the suggestion! I'll check it out. I would love to have something that isn't quite as dense as the coconut flour muffins I've tried. I really appreciate the support; this diet is really tough some days to stick with when it feels like everyone else can eat what they like. I know I'm not the only one, but feels that way sometimes! So thanks!

  • Marybeth February 06, 2018

    My husband has dairy allergies and we found a great cookie recipe that doesn't contain flour. Hope you can eat them.
    Dairy free Peanut Butter cookies:
    1 cup creamy peanut butter(I use Skippy)
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 egg
    Mix egg with sugars. Add vanilla and mix. Add baking soda and mix. Add PB and mix. Make big ball and put on a greased cookie sheet. Squish down with fork and make a crisscross on top with fork. Bake 10 minutes at 350. Bottoms will get browner but tops stay light brown. Mine tend to break when we take them off but we like them very soft. Makes 18 cookies.

  • Mari at the Jersey Shore February 09, 2018

    Hi Kim. We follow a Mediterranean diet by choice and truly enjoy it. It is more expensive to buy fresh veggies & fruit but to us it is worth it as we are rarely ill. I do buy canned pineapple in its own juice. Fruits & veggies I mostly buy what is in season, which is a saving but where we live they are pricey year-around. We do eat a lot of fresh fish (we're on the East Coast where fish is reasonable except for wild salmon) and some lean beef (bought on sale of course). As you know, legumes and beans are very cheap, especially the dried varieties. We love lentils, kidney & cannellini beans & chickpeas and I serve them in salads, soups & stews. I also use quinoa (it's a complete protein) & and barley, couscous and brown rice.

    I do have a garden and grow tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, lettuces and herbs. This really helps with the budget during summer months. Our soil is very sandy/clayey here so I'm limited in what I can grow.

    I highly recommend the cookbook The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook by Jack Bishop. Also, any book by Dr. Dean Ornish, which contain heart-healthy recipes based on a Mediterranean diet. The Woman's Day and Family Circle websites also have terrific recipes As does Brandy here. Best wishes with your new lifestyle :)

  • Dawn in the Deep South February 05, 2018

    I'm a member of the Arbor Day Foundation, which has a great deal of information about trees on its website. They also have a nursery from which members and non members can order fairly inexpensive trees and shrubs. It might be a helpful resource to those researching various trees and the best climates in which to grow them.

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