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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


  • http://Http:Vickie @Vickie's kitchen and garden January 02, 2017

    We are on another spend January. I do allow us $40 a week for groceries for milk,greens, eggs etc. We Include the milk and diapers for when the grand baby is here. Each year it helps us different ways. This year the money is to redo our bedroom. Its amazing how well it works for us! I know you will do well Brandy!

  • Juls Owings January 02, 2017

    If I had stocked more basic veggies and milk I would try the $0 for the month. As it is I am doing the pantry Challenge (goodcheapeats sponsor) and only buy certain things. I want to have both frigs's freezers empty at the end of the month and a good part of Baby the 7 cf freezer pretty much emptied except of the corn. I have 52 meals of corn in there to last until the next harvest. We have 2 other deep freezers that we will be eating out of also.

    Menu is on my blog... I list proteins for dinner only as I fix what ever sides will fill in what vit etc I am lacking at dinner due to Crohn's.

    Blessed Be

  • Pam January 02, 2017

    For children two 8 ounce cups of milk is all they need. Which is equivalent to 300 mg of calcium per cup give or take.
    I was surprised to find this out from my granddaughters pediatrician. This knowledge is helpful when you have a kid who has no appetite or one that is on the chunky side. In our case our 2 1/2 year old is on the chunky side from us giving her milk on demand.

  • Andrea Q January 03, 2017

    Beyond weaning age, humans don't actually need milk, though many choose to drink it. Calcium is present in a variety of sources (Brandy shared a link above). Vitamin D comes from the sun and some mushrooms, plus fortified products. My family of six uses about a 1/2 gallon of milk each week. We rarely drink it as a beverage. Some of us eat yogurt, everyone likes cheese, plus we eat a lot of broccoli and spinach.

  • Athanasia January 04, 2017

    We use 2 gallons of milk a week for the 3 of us (though a couple times a week we feed more, as in an extended family meal) most of which goes into cooking. My bread recipe uses milk, I make yogurt and pudding every week. We make our oatmeal with milk. I make a cream soup every week or so and make my own white/cheese sauce for casseroles or macaroni and cheese, scalloped corn or potatoes. Then there is milk in miscellaneous recipes like corn bread or coffeecake or biscuits. We eat some cold cereal but that is more common in the warm months than the cold. I never drink milk; my husband and daughter are most likely to have a glass of milk with sandwiches or cookies. Normally we have iced tea (unsweetened) or ice water or hot tea with meals. We do drink our homemade cider and grape juice. I suppose I could use powdered milk in all that cooking but I don't need too. I only use as a back up.

  • cathy January 06, 2017

    I agree with not needed milk after being weaned. Other cultures don't drink milk beyond 2 years old. I quit drinking milk years ago. I do use some coconut or almond milk when I need it for cooking. I drink a lot of water and with lemon too.

  • Margaret @approachingfood January 02, 2017

    I'm pretty lucky in that I don't need to do a $0 food budget this month, but I do have some pantry supplies that I would like to use up, including a lot of potatoes. So I'll be working on using those up, and supplementing with fresh veggies, fruit, and milk. I'm also going to try to start growing herbs indoors; I'd love to have a constant supply of fresh basil, cilantro, and parsley!

    I do plan to buy some grains such as faro and quinoa, to add to my lunch time salads, and want to work on adding in more protein to my diet (I'm a vegetarian with IBS issues) so I will likely buy some nuts as well, but I'll keep an eye out for sales or for coupons to buy those. I've got a pea soup simmering on the stove right now (with some carrots that I bought on sale and froze in the fall, plus some inexpensive potatoes in there as well) -- protein-rich but uber-frugal!

  • Amy Dunham January 02, 2017

    Hi Brandy: I just went though my pantry and freezer this morning while making my meal plan and grocery list. I have plenty of meat/protein, pantry is well-stocked too.... just needed some cheese items, celery, tea (me) and coffee (for the hubby). We are not going to go $0, but we are being careful until March, building back up the emergency fund. I did want to share this recipe I found when I was looking for a different salad to make one night. This recipe just said "Brandy" to me:

  • Laurie in central NC January 07, 2017

    Thanks for linking to that recipe, Amy! I grow chard, & have never eaten it raw, though I often eat kale & cauliflower in raw salads. I'll definitely be trying this!

  • momsav January 02, 2017

    I won't be joining in. I see hams are 99cents a lb. and whole chickens are 88cents a lb. I can't pass those up. My husband eats ham sandwiches almost every day for lunch. I've already started to cut back, though. Since i'm leaving the first of Feb; i'll be making extras and portioning it out so he doesn't run to the store. I may even make a meal plan just for him while i'm gone. (Is that condescending? He's not motivated to cook much after doing construction for 9 hours a day.) I do like your menu plan, Brandi. I haven't done one in awhile. It does save money, that's for sure.

  • Nancy January 02, 2017

    This month I'm stocking up on meat, I really need to stockup on Chicken (breast & thighs, whole chicken), Boneless pork loins. Eat constantly eat from the freezer and then rebuild as sales come along. This month though I must stockup on above during sales as the freezer is currently slim pickings.

  • Ann Lee S. January 02, 2017

    With the garden frozen and expecting a $200 month electric bill, plus January is my "last" month of my year (I budget from Feb 1 - Jan 31) this is my thrift month too! Thanks so much for the menu ideas Brandi, that was very helpful. I hope to clean out my freezer and older items in pantry. I will need to buy fresh veggies, eggs and milk, and cat food. Good quality cat food is expensive here, $2.49 per can (instinct, weruva) and dry is about $12 for 2 1/2 lb bag. (instinct) I'd like to reduce this but don't want to give her garbage cat food either. Happy New Year everyone. Ann Lee S

  • Megan January 03, 2017

    Could you make your own cat food? We had a cat who had gotten ill and vet had us feeding her boiled chicken and veggies and it was actually not too expensive. Vet said it was much healthier than cat food.

  • Rhonda A. January 03, 2017

    Please be careful with making your own cat food. There is a supplement that you must add to their diet (Taurine if I remember correctly, but please confirm this) as cats cannot make this naturally in their body on their own. Do some research and talk to your vet for information if you are considering making them a homemade diet. I wouldn't want you to end up with a sick or dead cat because you didn't know what they needed in their diet.

  • Athanasia January 03, 2017

    Lack of taurine is a problem when trying to feed a cat a vegan diet free of animal products. Dogs can manage but cats are carnivores. Birds and rodents are high in taurine, what a cat would be eating in a more natural state. Taurine deficiency can cause blindness and heart problems. (Info from my Don in law the veterinarian)

  • Athanasia January 03, 2017

    Son in law

  • cathy January 06, 2017

    I have been making most of my dog's food for the last 2 years. I usually have meat, potatoes, brown rice, carrots, or any other vegetable, some fruits, spinach or other greens. I also give her apple cores,tomato tops or any other produce that I am cleaning. Do you have any other advice on homecooking for dogs? She is worth it. A beautiful soul.

  • janet January 07, 2017

    I have to say that I make my own dog cookies with oat flour (whole oats put thru the blender), pumpkin puree & peanut butter. You roll into balls and smash down & bake. He LOVES them!

  • Lisa January 15, 2017

    Do a search for "Rubie Stewbie" and you'll find a great recipe for dog food. It's technically for a diabetic dog but it's vet approved. I was feeding this to my two english labs and it wasn't expensive and they loved it.

  • So CO Mary January 03, 2017

    We found that the website Chewy has excellent prices on canned cat food. I actually 'share' a can (like the tuna can size) among five cats! It is their evening treat. We also do make dog 'meatballs' for our two little ones. That has turned out to be much cheaper than any wet dog food we've found. And no 'additives'. Your prices for the brand names listed is about what we see here as well. I buy Iams for the cats.

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