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July's Garden Harvest and Shopping Plans

Fig Tarts The Prudent Homemaker

This month from my garden we'll harvest grapes, grape leaves, figs, Swiss chard, herbs, green onions, a few tomatoes, and a few peaches (from the tree in my white garden). 

I'm taking care of a friend's garden and chickens for two weeks this month, during which time we'll harvest cucumbers, tomatoes, and a few possible other items. We'll also 11-14 small eggs to bring home every day. 

I'm able to increase my budget for the month to $400, so I will stock up on some items.

I'm trying out Sprouts for the first time. They're a bit further than I normally drive to go shopping, as I usually stay within 1 to 2 miles of home to do my grocery shopping (except for one trip to Sam's Club, a whole 5 miles away).  They have cherries for the unbelievable price of $0.95 a pound; I've never seen cherries priced this low in my life, so I am definitely planning a trip.

Here are my planned sale purchases from the current ads, all of which are incredibly low prices right now:



Cherries $0.95 a pound

Corn 6 for $1



Whole chickens and chicken thighs $0.77 a pound

Boneless pork sirloin chops $1.47 a pound (I have never seen them this low)

Sour cream $1 a pound

Whipping cream $1 a half-pint



Diapers. There is a spend $100 on diapers get a $30 gift card deal this week. I buy the store brand in the bulk boxes. These will last me a few months.


And what I'm planning from Winco, Walmart, and Sam's Club:




Vegetable Oil

Ground Almonds (a small amount for a dessert)


Bell Peppers

Spreadable margarine (3-pound tub for $2.27)




Great Northern Beans



Mrs. Wages Dill Pickle Mix

Spray oil (I use my refillable sprayer for most cooking, but I found it doesn't work well in the waffle iron)

BBQ sauce


Sam's Club:

Tomato sauce in a #10 can

Popcorn 50-pound bag

All-purpose flour 25-pound bag (I will buy 100 pounds)

Mozzarella cheese 5-pound block

Mozzarella cheese 5-pound grated

Goat Cheese

Feta Cheese

Toilet paper

Pinto beans 50-pound bag


I'll also look for a sale at Smith's on ice cream in the gallon-sized buckets.


Pickles in Process The Prudent Homemaker

I plan to make dill pickles and sweet pickle relish with the cucumbers we're picking from my friend's garden.

I'll make pasta salads, Caprese salad, corn and tomato salad, grape juice, smoothies, popsicles, rice and beans, tomato pizza, BBQ chicken pizza, pork chops with fig sauce, stuffed grape leaves, tomato and cucumber salads with Italian dressing, grits with fried eggs, fried potatoes with fried eggs, BBQ chicken, corn on the cob, cherry clafoutis, Pavlova with cherries, brownies, and more this month.


What sales are you looking for this month? What do you hope to harvest from your garden? Do you have any favorite frugal summer meals?



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Tagged in: Grocery Shopping


  • margie from Toronto July 10, 2018

    Good luck with the restocking! I hope that your arm is almost fully healed so that the extra work doesn't put too much strain on it.
    I'm still flabbergasted about the things that your friend decided to throw out! I have eaten down most of my freezer as well so will start to see if there are any sales for restocking.

  • Athanasia July 11, 2018

    Ellie, the Hmong ladies here make a cucumber slushie that is very refreshing when it is hot.

  • Ellie's friend frrom Canada July 15, 2018

    Do they just freeze the cucumbers then blend them or add something else???

  • Lorna July 10, 2018

    Hi Brandy and so happy you are able to increase your grocery budget this month and be able to stock up on a few things. I too have found that sometimes travelling a little further brings rewards and blessings if you are buying in bulk quantities as you are :) .

    We only shop once every 3 months now for the two of us as we wait until we get e-vouchers that give us 16.66% off all our groceries that we can order online and just pick up. For us this is a huge saving in Australia and we then couple that saving with as many 50% off specials we can get on items we use too.

    We are doing a little fresh produce shopping as we saw specials on strawberries $5 per 500g and then coupled that with another 5% off using our roadside assist club discount bringing them down to $4.75 per 500g which is the cheapest I have seen them in some time here. Currently we are making our years supply of strawberry jam in our bread making machine for the 2 of us in small batches.

    The other thing we picked up was almonds that we were low on to make granola with and 1/2 price tins of spam and long life tinned vegetables and meat and we coupled this again with our 5% discount giving us 55% off usual prices. We are building up our food storage to closer to a 12 month level and are almost there :) .

    In the gardens we expect to pick -
    - Cherry tomatoes.
    - Snow peas and shelling peas.
    - Beetroot.
    - Carrots.
    - French and English lavender to dry for sale on the internet, trading and home use.
    - More thyme which we will again dry for sale, trading and home use.
    - More rosemary to dry to sell, trade and for home use.

    Being winter here we are enjoying hearty stir fries and soups made with a lot of our harvested garden vegetables at the moment with desserts of magic mix chocolate pudding (made from food storage) and tinned fruits.

    Have a great month everyone :) .

  • I July 10, 2018

    I have Saskatoon berries, rhubarb and raspberries coming in the yard. Waiting on beans, tomatoes, beets etc. Last week I bought corn for 40 cents per can which is unheard of-also tomato paste for the same price. The summer has been quite dry here but some rain is expected today-we have company so more food shopping than usual.

  • Ellie's friend from Canada July 15, 2018

    Where did you get the corn and tomato paste? That is a great price!
    re you going to any of the Historic Calgary events? Most of them are free!

  • ellie's friend July 15, 2018

    Sounds delicious! I used to have native Saskatoons in my woods but they died out and I haven't had much luck growing them. Will you make pies, muffins, jam or just freeze them?

  • Becky July 10, 2018

    I'm glad you are getting a bunch of chicken for a great price. That will help stock your freezer. I was just wondering how much flour you must use, making all that bread. How long will 100 lbs last for you?

    Our budget for food was lower than usual, so I had to plan well. I shopped at 3 places this past weekend, gathering the best sales. Now, the money has been used, so we are agreed that we will substitute if we run out of anything. So far, I've only ran out of tartar sauce and I know how to make that if the need arises. We plan to fill our grocery envelopes from the next paychecks in 2 weeks again, once again with the lower amount. I am trying to strike the balance between continuing to stock the pantry and lowering our bill. I can't lower the bill as much as some of you do, because of dietary restrictions, but I can lower it a bunch. My to-do list today includes making a menu plan for the next 2 weeks to make sure I'm utilizing my food in the best way to make the good stuff stretch and so that we are continuing to use up some of the very inexpensive items and the garden produce. Even though it's summer, I plan to make some soup, for one example of how I'm going to do that.

    In the garden, zucchini is just starting to come on. The first planting of snow peas are finishing, but I see tiny ones on the second planting. Each planting is very small--only a few feet of row or a few plants, but it's nice to have a succession. I put in a few more seeds last week, and will continue filling every space in my garden as the current crop finishes. Lettuce is in abundance, so we are eating a lot of salads. The green onions are in great shape, so I'm added them to everything I can. We've had a very few tomatoes, and I'm concerned because my bushes don't look good. Other plants are just growing along nicely and I'll have beans, cucumbers and other items in the next month. I pulled the beets that had any size, and some were eaten and 2 pints of pickled beets were canned. I had purchased 2 pineapples for 99c each during shopping, but they got super ripe super fast, so I canned them. I got 8 little 1/2 pints, perfect for sprinkling on a pizza or adding to some fried rice.

    I've been devoting more time to cooking from scratch. I usually do cook from scratch, but tend to make more quick meals using pre-made items such as jars of spaghetti sauce, purchased gluten-free buns and bread, etc. Now that my schedule is a little less busy, since it is summer, I have more time to make things. I plan to look up an old recipe for gluten-free hamburger buns and make them if I have the ingredients. I'm pretty sure I do. I checked out a gluten-free cookbook as well as one for my Instant Pot from the library. I will continue to buy those wheat-filled items for my family, especially since I got bread for 50c/loaf for 100 % whole wheat, but it will save me a bunch if I can make acceptable substitutions for myself. I don't eat much loaf bread at all--maybe a loaf in 2 months--but do use buns a little more frequently. Most of the time, I just leave the bread off my burgers, etc. and eat the patty alone. I was going to buy buns on this shopping trip, but they were $5.99 for 4 buns. Too pricy for my current food budget.

    It is likely that my food budget will decrease again in 2 months. We expect October especially to be very lean all around. So, I want my pantry/freezers well stocked in anticipation, while spending less each month. Good thing I like a challenge!

    I plan to can tomatoes and tomato products, a very few green beans as I have lots left over, more jam, peaches, pears and applesauce. I plan to freeze beans, peaches, blueberries, black berries, strawberries and raspberries. I will make dill pickles, sweet pickles, relish, salsa verde, and regular salsa and can them. I plan to serve all veggies that I can grow or get from my sister in meals, saving the canned and frozen for winter, and also stretching the purchased food. I am hoping to finish saving enough for 1/4 beef in the late fall.

  • Jennifer July 10, 2018

    Oh my goodness, I can't believe that price for cherries. One of our groceries has them this week for $1.99 a pound, which is the cheapest I've ever seen in my 18 years in Maine. Usually the lowest it goes is $2.99 a pound.

    My favorite frugal summer meal is a Pampered Chef recipe I learned when hosting a party 20 years ago. Basically, cook pasta noodles. Saute onion and garlic in a skillet with a little oil, add a cup or so each, depending on how many you're feeding, of chopped tomato and zucchini. Put the veggies on top of the pasta and pass Parmesan for serving. Really delicious if you're using farm fresh veggies and very frugal. I've been making it every summer since that party.

  • I couldn't believe it either. In season, cherries are usually $3.99 a pound on sale. I thought there had to be a mistake.

    It has to be a loss leader. Their other items were priced rather high.

  • Marybeth July 10, 2018

    Brandy, I don't like to spray our waffle maker. It doesn't work well. I use a basting brush with vegetable oil and that works better for me.

    That is such a blessing that you are able to watch your friends garden and chickens. Everything will be eaten for sure. When we go away, my friend watches our house. I always encourage her to take all of the ripe veggies. That is wonderful news that you were able to raise your grocery budget for the month. I hope you are able to stock up.

    My garden is doing great. We are getting tons of lettuce. I started giving some away. Peas are still going strong. Peppers have started so I have gotten some. I am hoping towards the end of the month to have a few cucumbers, tomatoes, and string beans. My herbs are doing great and we have been enjoying them. I have to start drying them too.

    I got chicken legs and thighs on sale for 69¢. I bought 12 pounds. Other then dairy and fresh fruit I don't have any needs. I will stock up with whatever items have great sales.

  • Jenifer July 10, 2018

    I was able to stock up on ground beef, ground chicken and ground pork all at 99 cents per pound. I got 5 lbs of each and will make meatballs (spicy pork, sriracha chicken...) to serve with a plate full of veggies for dinner. Veggies are coming from my garden or the other discount grocery that sells at dirt cheap prices. I bought more flour to continue making breads, English muffins and waffles for breakfasts.
    Fresh cherries are my favorite fruit. Cheapest I have found them was $5 for a lb and half. Best 5 bucks spent this month. I’d be a cat in a sunbeam if I could find them for that price - so happy for you!

  • Leigh Ann July 10, 2018

    Yes, Sprouts can have great loss leaders, especially on produce! Many of the other items in the store are more expensive, though. They sell a lot of organic and all natural products.
    My Sprouts tips:
    Wednesdays are double-ad days, where two weeks' worth of ads are valid.
    Our Sprouts gives a .05/bag discount for reusable bags; you may have to remind the cashier.
    You can get rainchecks easily, which never expire. Even when they were getting low on an item, they happily wrote me a raincheck for another time.
    You can order bulk items. The oats are Bob's Red Mill brand, which go down to .50/# a few times per year for the old-fashioned, instant, and steel cut varieties. They will order you a 50# bag if you want.
    Our store keeps free bags of ice that customers can take if they're not going home right away.
    Our Sprouts sometimes has good meat markdowns first thing in the morning.

  • Marg (near Sydney Australia) July 11, 2018

    I'll be making lots of cheap meals, using the car frugally and staying at home.
    It's mid winter in Australia and I just received an electricity bill for $1306 ($1045 if I pay before the due date) - this must be paid by the due date or it will be even more expensive for me.
    Do the US electricity companies do this too ?
    Winter is always costly for heating but this is the biggest bill yet
    It snows in winter where I live and it's generally just very cold and we haven't got to the coldest part of winter yet.
    I'll pick up an extra shift at work if I can.
    The price for electricity just keeps going up and up.
    A friend had a heated throw as she can't afford heating. I help her with buying food each week.
    It's going to be a frugal month. I'll be using up my freezer goods and other cupboard goods.

  • I July 11, 2018

    Oh my goodness-that is staggering. Is that just for one month? We have very cold winters-as low as -35 C on some days and our bills are nowhere near as high as that-we heat with natural gas. I don't know how Aussies can afford so much.

  • Here, you have a bill price, but then an additional penalty if it is not paid by the due date. So is your bill actually $1045, but $1306 if paid late? If you are not paying your bills by the due date every month then it is really important that you change your budgeting in order to always pay them by the due date so as to not incur late fees. I realize this is a huge bill but I would still do everything possible to pay it on time to not pay so much in penalty--eat from the pantry, sell items, pick up as many extra shifts as possible at work, put off other purchases, etc.

    There are cold areas in the U.S. with electric-only households that can have bills that high in winter.

    Where I live, the houses are electric and natural gas. My heater, stove/oven, water heater and dryer are all natural gas, which is much cheaper than electric. Our winters are very mild and that is when my electric bills are low, and even heating is not very much as we keep the heater set at 65°F/18°C. It is warm enough here, especially the last two years, that our heater rarely has come on in winter, even at night. Summer is when our electric bills are high. We keep the air conditioner set at 79°F/26°C and as it is hotter than that outside at night, it will run all night too. Daytime it can get up to 46°C in the summer, and we have 6 months where we need to run the air conditioner here. I know people who have $800 bills and $1200 bills who live just down the street from me. They set their temperature just a couple of degrees lower and they leave lights on all over the house. I am diligent about turning off lights and ceiling fans if no one is in the room, and I take any chance I get to turn off the air conditioner.

    Knowing it will be even colder next month, change what you can now to keep next month's bill lower. Set the thermostat lower. If you don't have a programmable thermostat, look into buying one as soon as you can budget for it. Setting a thermostat for a temperature versus a programmable one made an immediate and huge difference in our bill (several hundred dollars in summer) at our previous home, even though I was setting the thermostat to the exact same temperature. There is no need for it to connect to the internet--just a programmable one. Set it to be colder when you are gone from home at work and at night when you are asleep.

    Put extra blankets on your beds. I know when I didn't have enough blankets in the house that were the right size but I had extra baby blankets, I used those on beds. If you have extra sheets but not blankets you could make the beds with a second top sheet to provide extra warmth.

    Dress warmer. Wear wool socks at night while sleeping. Wear thermals under your clothes all day and night so that you can keep the temperature down in the house.

    See how you can combine cooking things in the oven to best make use of your oven time. Baking potatoes? Fill the whole oven with potatoes and eat the rest as leftovers. Cook multiple items at once in the oven. Turn off rice and steamed vegetables before they are finished cooking and let them finish cooking with the lid on. Use things that take less power, such as a crockpot, the microwave, or a pressure cooker or instapot.

    Increase your insulation in the house and seal drafts. Roll up old towels and place them in windowsills and along doors to the outside to block drafts.

    Unplug everything you can each night.

    Look for every way you can to save on electricity to keep your bill lower each month.

    It is quite likely with some effort, you can lower your bill by several hundred dollars.

    Electric rates keep rising here (every quarter for the last 15 years, approximately) but I have lowered my bill by several hundred dollars despite rising rates. You can do it!

  • Marg (near Sydney, Australia) July 11, 2018

    The electricity bills are sent out every 3 months. Same with natural gas and water bills. To clarify. The electricity bill is $1306 but the electricity company offers a pay-on-time-discount (pay $1045) if paid in full by the due date. After the due date, if not paid, the bill reverts to the non-discounted price $1306 and a late fee ($12.73) is also added to the bill....... electricity prices cause much grief in Australia and only keep going up and up and up and I think they are amongst the highest in the world, if not the highest.

  • PJGT July 11, 2018

    In addition to Brandy's very wise ideas, here are my experiences.

    Is there anyway you can shut off part of the house for the winter to only heat a couple rooms? When I grew up the bedrooms were not heated and we would have frost on the inside of our windows all winter. We slept under heavy quilts that my Great Aunt made for us. We also slept in long flannel nightgowns my mother made (warmer than pajamas) with wool socks and old fashioned hot water bottles. I have thick hair, but others in the family used a nightcap (a hat works). We always sat under lap blankets and had hot chocolate or tea to warm us and our hands. I have learned that a small electric heater strategically placed is very effective.

    I also lived on the Arctic Circle and found that at 50 degrees below zero and colder it pays to have an electric bed warmer to turn on and warm the bed while getting the woodstove going. I'd jump into the heated bed coat and all and read until the cabin was warm enough.

    Praying for you and your friend.

  • Laurie July 12, 2018

    We are blessed to have level payment options with our gas and electric. My payment for electric is $104 and my gas is $94/mo. I live in a 1300 sq ft home split level. We live upstairs and close off the basement. Our A/c is set at 70 when we are home and 75 when gone. Our prices here midwest are very reasonable. Living where I live things are very cheap. Housing, grocery prices, gas, car insr, and good jobs. We also have top notch grade schools and high schools. I make about $45,000/yr as a single mom with 2 kids. We always are able to pay our bills on time and put a little away. Our food stores are very close together and my job is 2 minutes from my front door. I have 6-7 yrs left on my mortgage to be paid off by the time I am 53. Being debt free will be amazing.

  • DonnaMarie July 13, 2018

    Laurie - I agree you are Blessed, but I also suspect that you live intentionally in order to make the most of where you are located and what is available. Congratulations on your soon-to-be mortgage payoff ! I am sure you are an inspiration to your two children.

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