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January's Shopping Plans and Meal Plans

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:





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



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:



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


Oatmeal cookies

Fruit Salad with home canned fruit

Banana bread




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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Tagged in: Grocery Shopping


  • carla January 02, 2017

    I will be going through our fridge freezer and small chest freezer this week and making a menu around what is in them. I know there is cooked turkey and ham so most likely creamy turkey rice soup and ham and bean soup. Not sure what else yet. I love that you have a menu for all the seasons. I plan to work on that fir my family this year.

  • Chelsea January 02, 2017

    For some reason the extra question mark made me laugh! Like you are super eager to find out what I am doing????

    I am moving, and will have no food at my new place. As a result, I am instead scanning for sales in the area to find good deals to build up a pantry. I am learning how to balance having a balanced diet for the time being, while still taking advantage of sales, and all within a budget. I'll be glad when I am not starting the month out from zero.

    Since I am moving several states away, I am unaware of what prices are good so I am starting a price book to reflect the new costs.

  • Lisa January 02, 2017

    I am totally on board with a no-spend month! We are leaving at the end of the month for "vacation" for 10 weeks, so I'm hoping to clean out the fridge and freezer. (I say "vacation" because my husband has a couple rotations for vet school in another (warmer!) state and we'll be going as a family. We'll be able to stay with family members making it a very frugal and fun get away from the snow for two months!)

  • Hilogene in Az January 02, 2017

    Great post today! And it made me rethink my beliefs a bit. Could I really spend $0 on groceries? Over the last few years, I have reduced our average monthly grocery spending from $500-600 a month down to $350 in 2016. My goal in January was $200, but zero seems like a really good Challenge! Thank you for getting me thinking in a new way.

  • Pamela January 02, 2017

    I was thinking the same thing. I have a $200 budget for January, but now I am thinking of trying for $0. I have a cow in the freezer plus hams and three turkeys. We need to rotate can food as well so a win win

  • Robin January 02, 2017

    Good Morning. Thank you for sharing your plans and encouragement. One of my goals is to attempt baking bread (the yeast intimidates me) as part of my routine. Do you recommend an easy recipe for beginners that could help me become acclimated to bread baking? I read your helpful instructions for rosemary bread, and realized I may need to start with something a bit less complex. Suggestions for a recipe? Thanks so much.

  • Juls Owings January 02, 2017

    this is the recipe my daughter uses....she isn't trilled with yeast either. http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/basic-homemade-bread

    My dad does a sourdough starter instead of yeast that is close to King Arthur Flour recipe only he uses white all-purpose flour


  • Hilogene in Az January 03, 2017

    Hi Robin,
    I started baking bread two years ago due to Brandy's website. I am not a very good cook or very intuitive so I went to goodwill and bought a used (but in like new) bread machine for $8. It came with a recipe book in it. For the bread machine, you put everything in it, you don't have to worry about yeast water temp or knowing how to knead. So that was where I started and I have been doing it for the past two years. I have tried 4-5 different recipes and found one we love. There are only two of us in our home, so I bake a loaf, then slice it, and put two slices each in freezer ziploc bags and freeze. When we want bread, I always have fresh bread in the freezer, takes 15 seconds to thaw in the microwave or a short time just sitting on the counter!

    Plan B might be to ask friends if they have a bread machine they aren't using...you can borrow and see how it goes ;). Everyone I know has one...It is a bit having a treadmill in the house I think!

  • Athanasia January 03, 2017

    That is strange, I don't know anyone with a bread machine. I wonder if more folks use them down by you because it is warmer/hotter and the machine doesn't heat the house?

  • Cindy S. January 04, 2017

    I bought a bread machine at a rummage sale for $5.00 and I prefer to use it (I live in northern Ohio). Any time I work with flour I make a complete mess and the bread comes out heavy. It comes out perfect in the machine and no mess!

  • Cindy in the South January 04, 2017

    I do not have a bread machine nor a treadmill....lol. Seriously, my house is small, I do not have any kitchen cabinets (long story), and I have a very tiny kitchen, so I do not have many appliances other folks have. Plus, my kids are grown. I do not have a washer, dryer, dishwasher, vacuum cleaner (I have all tile and hardwoods for flooring) , food processor, treadmill, crockpot, tv, computer (I type on my "dumb" smart phone ($38)...lol, or go to the library. I do have a frig, an electric stove, an electric hot water heater, the old fashioned kind, a regular radio I plug in when I want to listen to music or weather, a combined window unit (under $500 at Lowes purchased five years ago) air conditioner and heater. I do have an oil coiled plug in electric heater if the window unit is not doing the job. Our power is expensive, even though we are in a warm state (go figure) and I have found having less appliances forces me to use less electricity. Brandy, after reading yoru post, I have reconsidered my earlier statement on one of your threads that I was gonna spend $40 on groceries this month. I am going to try to spend nothing on me. I usually spend about a $100 a month on me. I thought $40 was an improvement, but I think I can go to 0. We shall see.....lol

  • Rhonda A. January 04, 2017

    We have a bread machine. I just use the dough cycle to mix the dough, take it out, shape the dough, let it rise one more time, then finish it off in the oven. I have made bread by hand, when I was younger, and it was quite a time consuming process...mix ingredients, then wait a certain time, then do something else, then wait again. It is much easier with a bread machine and tastes just as good. In all honesty, I'm more likely to make homemade bread and homemade pizza dough with the machine than I am without, so I consider it a good investment.

    My brother decided he wanted a bread machine a while ago. He was able to find one for a good price at the thrift store. There were plenty to choose from, but some were is rough condition. The one he chose didn't have the manual with it, so we looked it up on line and printed it off (a lot of pages) since he doesn't have a computer to view it on at home. We cleaned it all up and it worked great!

  • Athanasia January 04, 2017

    Cindy, is that a mineral oil filled heater? We have one of those for the corner bedroom that faces NW. Sometimes it is just too cold and windy and that room needs a little extra help. Even with the 2 dogs sleeping in there.

    I hope you reach your goal of 0 expenditure.

  • Cindy in the South January 05, 2017

    It is a $69 dollar oil coiled heater (I do not know what kind of oil) that plugs into the wall (runs on electricity) and I bought it at Lowes. I had a similar, cheaper one ($40) that I got at Walmart several years ago. I t had been plugged in for an hour or so in my bedroom and all of a sudden started sparking and caught fire!!!!! I managed to get it unplugged and threw it out in the yard!!! I was moving on autopilot and just so shocked. So, I hope that this one (it is an Italian Company but it is manufactured in China, just like the Walmart one) has tighter factory controls on manufacturing at its China factory. It does have a year warranty, and I did something I have never done, I bought a warranty for two years after that. I usually do not spend much on any type of appliances/electronic devices. I do enjoy the additional heat from this type of heater so we shall see if it was a good investment or not. My friends have the same kind and say that it has outlasted the other similar cheaper heaters so we shall see. Thank you!

  • Melissa V January 05, 2017

    We kept one in our rabbit barn in the winter to keep the water bottles from freezing otherwise we would have had to buy another set of bottles for each cage at $8 a bottle x 30 cages.....and then hope they don't break. They are much less likely to catch fire if say a curtain gets pushed against one or in our case, hay or shavings on them. That thing lasted for 8 years of at least 3 months of constant running each winter. You should have seen the drop in our electric bill when we got out of raising that many rabbits!!! I went to heated water bottles and dog bowls when we had 4 rabbits left which sucked ALOT less power. Our ducks and chickens we have always used heated dog bowls or buckets for which since I am down to only one bowl now (2 hens), it barely moved the usage this year when I plugged that in :) I also stopped any type of light on them as well and just keep them closed in on really cold days.

  • Athanasia January 10, 2017

    Cindy, maybe it is a Delonghi, that is what ours is. It's at least 15 years old.

  • Mariana January 02, 2017

    While I am doing a 'frugal January' I am not implementing changes to my usual grocery budget. (Everything else is a 'no' this month)
    I am hoping to try out a few new recipes to bring some variety to our already very boring menu. I am trying to eat from our cupboards as well, while at it. I don't keep a bit food storage at my apartment, basically lol storage I have is a regular size fridge and one kitchen cupboard.

  • Rozy January 02, 2017

    Great timing on this post. I'm beginning a no-spend January, eating from our freezer and pantry. As there is only my husband and I, and one adult son at home I figured we needed to stop stockpiling and start using things up. Plus we are anticipating a move this summer and want to pay off the last of some debt and have some money to accomplish the move. I actually enjoy getting creative with menus and seeing what I can put together from what I have. Yesterday I prepared a crock-pot full of white beans and ham bone soup. On a frosty Sunday after church it tasted really good. Plus there's enough for a meal today (we still have a couple of children home from college with us for a bit longer) so I won't have to cook anything new. Thanks for all your suggestions and encouragement. I appreciate the community of great women I find here.

  • K January 02, 2017

    I'm planning on spending less than $100 for groceries and household goods for the month of January. We have a stocked freezer and pantry, so I will really only need to purchase a few things, like eggs, milk, and some fresh fruit. Ideally, I will only spend $50 this month, but we will see if I'm able to pull that off.

  • Laurie in central NC January 02, 2017

    I don't have any specific sales I'm looking for, but I'm being mindful of trying to eat more out of the freezer, so there is room when the garden harvest begins to come in. I'm thinking about making your rosemary olive oil bread, and am curious if you or anyone has tried it in a bread machine? These days, I generally let my machine do the mixing and rising, then take it out to cook in the oven. Do you know if this recipe would work in a bread machine, or need some tweaking? Looking at all your meal ideas inspires me to try some new ones.

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