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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


  • cathy pirucki January 03, 2017

    I was trying to spend less, but I went to the store and they had great sales. Most were 50% or more off. They had organic produce and dogfood. I also got baking cocoa, cereal for $1.00. I use it for snacks or trail mix, nuts in shells for $1.00 a bag (a pound each), pasta for .49. I bought 6. I cook for my dog, so I find produce and meat sales too. I spent over $100.00. My cupboards are full, but I couldn't resist. I am trying to stay out of the stores. I found a few Christmas presents for next year. They had great prices. I will make soups for me, salads and beans, I am a vegan but my husband is a meat and potatoes guy. My freezer is full, I am grateful for that, but I need to use up the food. I try to buy extra and store things. I feel that if the economy suffers I want to provide for my family. I grew up lower middle class and my parents lived through the depression. There are times during the year where I run short and I like having food when I need it. Anyway, I have found great deals lately. Aldi's has great prices here. I run in to see if they have clearance items. Thanks to all who write. I learn something everyday. I am cooking more now trying to show my kids how healthy eating really pays off. God bless.

  • Leslie January 04, 2017

    A -0- spend for January is a great idea, I'm in. It is just my husband and I. We have a large freezer, two above the refrigerator freezers and a smaller freezer. That is ridiculous for two people. We also have a pantry which is overstocked and right now a mess. Maybe I will put off organizing the pantry and start cooking from it regularly instead. Not as much time spent organizing and cleaning out then. Unfortunately we end up throwing out some canned and boxed items that are way past best use date. I know you can use items past the best use date but when it gets to be a year or more it is way too long and they get pitched which is such a waste of money.

  • Amie January 05, 2017

    I've got to organize my pantry also. You could try working on a small section each day. Or at least a couple times a week. I try to write down what I have in my fridge, freezer, and pantry.

  • Lachellie January 04, 2017

    Hi Brandi and everyone from Northwest Louisiana. I plan on eating from pantry and freezer this month also.

    However, I'm raising my 3-year-old granddaughter and as I am low-income due to disability, we receive about $100 in SNAP benefits, and she gets WIC as well, so that is pretty much my food budget each month. (I hope no one here judges me for that.) I'm going to watch the sales closely this month and replenish the gaps in my food storage as much as possible - chicken, dry/canned milk, some spices, dry beans -- within that amount. I don't buy junk with the SNAP, just staples and low-cost meats and dairy.

    I've committed myself to an additional $20-30 per month to stock up on food storage basics. So far in January I have bought 10 pounds of rice, some spices and cream of mushroom/chicken soups that was on clearance at Kroger for 69 cents each (Campbell's brand - usually not priced that low here). I know how to make bechamel and veloute sauces ;) but some recipes just aren't the same without the canned soups and sometimes the convenience is good too.

    My other food-related goals for 2017 are to grow more vegetables, bake more breads, cherry-pick my groceries even more and plan my meals weekly.

    Happy New Year to everyone!

  • Hi Lachellie!

    I know at least a couple of readers who have told me in emails that they receive SNAP benefits. Both have been able to use that amount to also build up a food storage by eating less expensive meals, by buying in bulk, and by using coupons.

    You probably know, but just in case you don't, SNAP benefits can also be used to purchase garden seeds, fruit trees, grape vines, and berry bushes. If you've been able to build up a storage with your benefits, you can then use your benefits use in this way as well to further your garden. One of my readers has half of everyone's plates filled with garden vegetables from the abundance of food that she has grown in her garden using SNAP benefits.

    I wish you the best of luck with your garden and your goals! They sound like wonderful ways to cut expenses!

  • Rhonda A. January 04, 2017

    Lachellie, I think it would be incredibly insulting if someone judged you for using food programs to help feed your family. No one should be hungry in a country with such overabundance. That's what those programs are there ensure no one goes hungry! I hope you find some great ideas here on how to feed your family with good quality food on such a tight budget. I know that can be very hard and even overwhelming task at times. Glad you've joined this supportive community. Sending love from Canada!

  • Melissa V January 05, 2017

    Also - check and see if your state has the "double up bucks" program. Here in MI, we can go to a farm market and use our EBT card for a certain amount and they give you "coins" for that amount but do not remove that amount from the card (clear as mud?) We have been able to purchase say $20 worth of veggies for $10 :) I haven't figured out how to use them for seeds or plants yet since most of my stuff is done by mail order - I only buy from non GMO seed companies and only heritage, open pollinated varieties (so I can save seeds).

  • Candace January 05, 2017

    Welcome from another person in NW Louisiana! This is a fantastic resource and a very encouraging place.

  • Juls Owings January 05, 2017

    My oldest daughter works as a bank vault teller gets SNAP and my son who is in the military tells me several of his soldiers get SNAP pay taxes you deserve the help.

  • Cindy in the South January 05, 2017

    Happy New Year! I think you have a great stocking up plan, and I think Brandy's suggestions are wonderful also!

  • Amie January 05, 2017

    I'm a single mom w an 8yr old. We get SNAP, and she got WIC until she was 5. On WIC, I would get oatmeal for cereal or grains.(interestingly it's considered either) I would check size options of bread loaves. Quite a few had sizes, that I could get 2 small loaves. I'm in SW Ohio. I've also used my SNAP to get some seeds, herbs are included(I get chamomile and basil). Still learning gardening. But working on it. I've got my pantry setup that I mostly buy sales to fill my stock as needed.

  • Athanasia January 10, 2017

    Lachelle, you sound like a good grandma, and I wish you all success in raising your grandchild. SNAP benefits can be used at our farmers market.

  • Juls Owings January 05, 2017

    I will have to add that Hubby suggested we stop tomorrow at Sam's club since we would be in that area for what I have on that list. I vetoed it. I feel we would be better waiting until next month AFTER I have finished the Christmas candy and cookies that I didn't get done due to being in the hospital and then I will know exactly what I need to replace in the baking supplies. The look on his face was priceless. I did tell him we need to get milk, heavy cream , half and half and buttermilk. I use dairy for my protein when the Crohn's flares up.

  • Ann Lee S January 09, 2017

    I just made Rosemary White Bean Soup from Brandi's recipes for the first time and found it very good, quite filling with more flavor than I expected !! Just the thing for a snowy cold noon hour. I'm into Day 9 of no shopping (had to buy 1 doz. eggs and a bag of onions) and doing well. Ann Lee S

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