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July Shopping Plans, Meal Plans, and Garden Harvest

Pavlova For the Fourth The Prudent Homemaker 

My budget for food and toiletries for our family of 10 for this month is $200.

July is one of our highest utility months, as we are using more water in the garden and using the air conditioners (our house has 2 units, plus a window unit in our pantry) and ceiling fans all the time, as our highs between 105 and 118ºF. Normally summer bills are matched by an increase in income (and lower utilities in the winter for us are matched with a lower income, as fewer people move during the winter), but not this year. Consequently, I'm lowering the budget this month. I am also considering keeping it at the same amount in future months, as we will have a new regular expense starting in August.

With an irregular income, I pay my bills in this order: mortgage, then utilities and other bills (like insurance; we have no consumer debt), then food, and lastly anything else (clothing, schoolbooks, etc.). If our income doesn't cover everything, then we can eat from the pantry, freezers, and garden. 

The grapes and peaches are ready in the garden. I'll be picking 3 kinds of grapes (Red Flame, Thompson's seedless and a non-named seeded grape) as well as Early Elberta peaches. We're also still picking apples from our Dorsett Golden tree.

Red and Yellow Tomatoes The Prudent Homemaker

There should be a few tomatoes ripe. Usually, once it heats up they stop flowering and don't flower again until mid-October, but for some reason, there are flowers on several of my plants right now. We love tomatoes, so I'm very grateful! We've been picking about two colanders full a week for the last 3 weeks.

I have some Swiss chard ready in the garden, as well as several herbs, including basil, oregano, chives, rosemary, sage, and thyme.

I am hoping for some zucchini--but will have to see if they flower much, due to the heat. One of my plants looks promising with plenty of female blooms ready to open in the next month, but there are no male flowers, so it may go unpollinated. Another plant has no flowers whatsoever. I had several other plants die, so I replanted and am currently waiting for them to get larger. Usually, they won't set flowers during the summer, though mid-July, should the monsoon season come upon us with a few overcast days and one day with a few hours of rain, the temperatures may drop enough for flowers. (Last year this mid-July rain never happened and the temperatures kept rising--and my garden burned worse than normal).

I'm hoping, too, to see some pollination on my Armenian cucumbers, which I haven't seen yet. I've not seen any female flowers yet. I have several more seedlings that are up but still small; hopefully, they will grow large enough to flower and produce in October when the temperatures drop (like the zucchini and tomatoes)  and if they decided to produce before that I will be delighted. I'm really hoping for some cucumbers now, but so far I haven't seen any. I've realized that in this heat about all I want to eat are cucumbers and tomatoes every day. With this in mind, I planted several more seeds for Armenian cucumbers during the month of June. It will be a few months before I see anything from those, but hopefully, we'll have enough to eat every day and also use to can pickles and relish.

I have a bit of lettuce in the garden still, surprisingly. It is bolted lettuce (it's gone to seed) and usually turns bitter, but in a sandwich, it is just fine. I also have a bit of arugula; mine bolted and self-seeded, and I'll be able to harvest it this month.

Ice cream is at the top of everyone's wish for just about every meal, but isn't exactly practical! Nevertheless, I will be looking for sales on the large gallon store-brand containers of ice cream at Smith's and Albertson's. At the lowest price, I can buy a full gallon for $3.99 on sale at Smith's (and Albertson's has in that size container, with sale prices at $4.49 a gallon; they carry mint chocolate chip in that size and Smith's does not; we usually buy fudge swirl and cookies & cream on sale at Smith's). 

I started having a date night at home with each child last month that included ice cream and three games of Sequence after their siblings were in bed. I haven't had a date with all of the children yet, so I'll make sure to get ice cream to continue that this month.

I'll look for sales on pasta. We've been eating ours down in an effort to rotate through all of it. I'm down to only angel hair pasta in the pantry. I'd ideally like to purchase fettucini, rotini, macaroni, and shells on sale. In the past, Smith's has had a $0.49 pasta sale on American Beauty pasta in the past (some areas of the country get the same sale on Ronzoni), but they have been slowly getting rid of that brand on the shelf and now mostly carry it only in a few shapes at the nearby stores (shells and rotini are no longer ones they carry for this brand). This means I'll have to pay more; I've seen sales for other brands (like Barilla) in these shapes at the lowest prices of $0.69 and $0.75 a pound. If I don't find a good sale on this, I'll wait. If I do, pasta salad with homemade Italian dressing and fresh vegetables and herbs from the garden is sure to be on the list. I can add green onions, New Zealand Spinach, basil, and tomatoes from the garden right now, and if I get cucumbers, I'll add those too. There is a coupon on coupons.com right now for $1.00 off two bags of American Beauty pasta. I printed two this week (the limit) and then the coupons reset and I printed two more. If the sale comes, I should be able to get 8 bags of pasta for free.

I'll cook some chicken (more of the legs I bought on sale for $0.44 a pound a few months back) and cook a turkey from the freezer to use in several meals, including some turkey salad (with grapes and apples from the garden), some enchiladas, in sandwiches, and to serve over rice with a lemon dill sauce.

July Fruit Salad The Prudent Homemaker

My meals will be simple this month.

I'll make Greek yogurt in the crockpot and granola for breakfasts (and we'll add homemade jam and/or fresh fruit and leave out the cranberries).  I'll make smoothies, eggs, and toast. Eggs have been wonderfully low-priced and I stocked up last month.

Lunches will be pasta salads, turkey salad, green salads (with tomatoes from the garden and sometimes hard-boiled eggs), sandwiches, quesadillas, tomato cheddar cracker sandwiches, and leftovers.

I'll make lots of smoothies and popsicles using frozen fruit and peaches from the garden for snacks.  We'll also enjoy fresh fruit from the garden and make a few batches of popcorn. 

Dinners will include at least bean burritos (I bought tortillas last month), barbecue chicken, beans and rice with tomatoes, homemade pizza, turkey enchiladas, lemon dill turkey, and some more ideas from my summer menu.

Desserts will be ice cream, tarts, fruit crumble, and individual pavlovas.

  

Here are the items that are for certain on my list this month:

 

Winco:

Potatoes ($0.25 a pound )

Milk

La Victoria Salsa (I have coupons)

La Victoria green enchilada sauce (I have coupons)

 

Albertson's:

Ice Cream (mint chocolate chip at $4.99)

Frozen Petite Peas (16-ounce bags are on sale for $1 each through Tuesday)

Corn on the Cob (on sale for 8 for $1, limit 8, through Tuesday)

Pasta (if on a good sale later this month)

 

Smith's :

Ice Cream (on sale through Tuesday for $3.99)

Blueberries (on sale through Tuesday for the unbelievably low price of $0.88 for a 6-ounce container--that's crazy low-priced for here. NO LIMIT. )

Whipping cream

Lettuce (Red leaf on sale for $0.99 a head)

Milk

Celery

Pasta (if on a good sale later this month)

 

Vons:

Sweet cherries (on sale for $1.47 a pound. This price is so low my jaw dropped when I saw the ad. Sale through Tuesday. Normal sales prices are $2.99 (lowest) or more usually $3.99 a pound. For this price, I am buying cherries!)

 

Target:

Salon Graphix Unscented Extra Super Hold hairspray

Playtex Sport Tampons (there are $1.50 off coupons on coupons.com right now and like the pasta, I printed 2 before and 2 after the month changed over, so I can buy 4 boxes for my eldest. This should last her quite some time as she normally uses these washable pads normally but wants to have something for when she is swimming).

 

Sam's Club:

Toilet paper

Milk

Mozzarella cheese

Cheddar cheese

 

I let my Sam's Club card expire last month. Rather than renewing it right away, I always try to put off renewing it by several weeks. The new membership starts from the time I pay, so this buys me a few weeks each year.  I'll wait until a bit later in the month to renew my card.

 

What are you planning on purchasing this month? What do you hope to harvest from your garden?

 

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Comments

  • Lisa,

    You should know that pantry moths have no trouble eating plastic. In fact, they seem to enjoy it. They will eat right through heavy duty freezer plastic bags--even double layered plastic bags--to get to your yummy food inside. Afterwards your package will have more holes than package. Plastic wrap is even thinner and they will have no trouble with that. We are seriously considering bucketing all of our pasta in the future. I didn't know they existed here until last summer, when something we bought must have had them.

  • Lisa in Georgia, USA July 03, 2017

    Oh no! Thank you for telling me that. I do have some Rubbermaid lidded containers for the penne, macaroni, and rotini. The pests we have noticed here in GA look like little carpet beetles. One time, I bought a bag of flour that must have been infested wtih eggs, and those little critters got into EVERYTHING dry in my pantry! After a deep clean, I put my flours into glass iced tea dispensers with lids, and most everything else into ziptop bags or plastic lidded containers. So far, I haven't had any problems...including the plastic-wrapped pasta. Do you have any tips for how to store the spaghetti? I did have those plastic lidded spaghetti dispensers, but I don't like that the lid can flip around and open for dispensing the spaghetti. Maybe I should use another glass iced tea dispenser with a lid? I think I have an extra!

  • Juls Owings July 04, 2017

    shoe box , plastic shoe box . I have used this for decades including a wet basement. I also have pantry moth bait to help with the issue. The plastic shoe box will even slow down a mouse (we live in boonies and get field mice when the crops come off the fields in the fall).I leave spaghetties in their boxes. My son uses rubbermaid/tupperware that is to store celery in.

  • Lisa in Georgia, USA July 05, 2017

    Thank you for these great and simple tips, Juls Owings! Now, why didn't I think of them? After reading your reply last night, I went "shopping" in my house, and found a large lid-locking bin to store my recently purchased BOXES of pasta. I have 3 large round lidded Rubbermaid containers (one is for head lettuce). The contents of two 16 ounce boxes of pasta will fit in each. I cut the labels from the rotini, penne, and elbow boxes, taped them to the lids of each container, and filled them. I also found my Rubbermaid-type lidded spaghetti storage container, and it fit the contents of three boxes in it. I have never seen a celery storage container; I will have to keep an eye out for that! As for plastic lidded shoe boxes...I can find LOTS of them at our local dollar store, Kmart, Walmart, etc. Thank you for posting! I have been inspired frugally!

  • Melissa V July 05, 2017

    Most of my bulk foods (rice, pasta, flour, sugars, oatmeal) are either in 5 gallon buckets with Gamma lids or in the various Tupperware pantry storage I have picked up from garage sales and thrift stores over the years (all the lids are different colors so it sure doesn't look like one of the magazine organized pantry photos!). Tupperware is guaranteed against bugs. I also have a few bail topped glass jars with rubber seals I use as well. Finding all your dry goods infested and having to dump all of that food is VERY discouraging when you are on a tight budget :(

  • Allyson F July 05, 2017

    Freezing your flour for about 3 days is supposed to kill eggs of any critters that may be in there. I've been doing that for years and haven't had any bugs since

  • Lynn July 04, 2017

    I brought something home from the store with pantry moths. They invaded everything, kitchen, pantry , bedrooms it was a nightmare. They laid larvae on the undersides of soup cans, drawers, under the lids of glass jars. It took months to get rid of them. I ordered pantry month traps by the dozens. Used Peppermint oil on my shelves. Now I don't bring anything into my house until I look at it.

  • Becky July 05, 2017

    One thing I use for storage is those large buckets ice cream comes in. I've stored many things including brown sugar, white sugar, flour, dry beans, and more in those. I've gathered many of them from church events where they are serving ice cream to children, etc., and most of the time I've been the only one who wanted them--they were slated for the garbage can until I snagged them.

  • Rhonda July 06, 2017

    In 45 years of marriage we have never had pantry moths - until the last six months! I have been battling to get rid of them. They are awful little things!

  • Rhonda,

    Mine are back again (supposedly eggs can lay dormant for almost a year and then hatch when it's warm). We have found fly paper is much cheaper than the pantry moth traps and it works wonderfully in our walk-in pantry. I hope this year they don't find anything worth eating--but knowing their propensity for eating plastic I can't say everything is safe. Most things we have transferred to canning jars. It's just hoping they don't get into anything. I don't keep several things in the original containers anymore, like chocolate chips, nuts, and any kind of dried fruit. They will eat right through the bags until they look like cheesecloth.

  • Cindy S. July 06, 2017

    I have a friend who works at the bakery in our local grocery store and she saves me the buckets the frosting comes in. I use these buckets to store pasta as they are food safe, come with lids and only require that I wash them out first. It wouldn't hurt to ask at your local bakery, because from what I understand, they usually just throw them away. They are usually 3 gallon buckets.

  • Kirsten July 03, 2017

    Our peaches ripened just when we needed to stretch our food supply!

  • What a blessing! I love having fruit from the garden, especially when it is needed!

  • Chantal July 04, 2017

    Shopping plans are... nothing! The van we use for church transportation (we are our ward's unofficial taxi) has had... well, it did a thing, my husband has done everything he can do, it still is messed up, so into the shop it will go thus month. We're forgoing several things this month to ensure maximum cash flow. Because of course this happened after we paid a single Sister's rent, so we're okay, but extra tight at an extra inconvenient time, haha.

    I'm planning on harvesting squash tomorrow. (Hurrah for the south; squash season is upon us!) I'm also really hoping to get red noodle beans and cherry tomatoes by the end of the month; I got my garden in so late this year, everything is messed up. Except the squash. :p

  • Patty from the NW July 04, 2017

    I really love to read your shopping and menu plans as well as your harvest plans. You are very fortunate to have so many ready to harvest fruits and vegetables each month. The pictures are wonderful to see. Here in my NW garden, I have been able to harvest rosemary and lettuce so far. We have had such a long rainy year that our veggies are taking longer to ripen and so does my lavender to bloom. Not at all like last year. I do see flowers and squash starts on my zucchini plants, little bell pepper buds and small tomatoes starting. Hopefully they will mature and we can have a good harvest in August. We added one more veggie planter box ( 5 now plus containers ) in my small back yard so I am excited to get a few fall veggies started now too. I have noticed about 10 little apples on my 1- 1/2 y/o apple tree. Last year we had only 1 :)
    This last week I lost all of my garage freezer meats and food. This is a financial loss of storage food for us. Our power had gone out a couple of times and the circuit breaker switched off . We fixed it and somehow it went off again after the power was back on. Even the garage lights have been working this last week so I am surprised this one breaker switched off and we lost use of the big freezer. Needless to say we were very disappointed as I had planned to use most of this through October for meals . Thankfully I did have home made packaged freezer meals, some chicken, packaged vegetables and pasta sauces in my refridg freezer. This , along with our pantry foods should last us this month. With the lettuce to harvest , we will have plenty of salads as well. This month I will spend only enough for bare essential foods from my budget ( $50.00) and use the remaining money ( $75.00) for any sales of meats to help replace what we lost.
    Thanks to you and your wonderful teaching of frugality, food storage, gardening as well as your awesome menus , I find comfort knowing we will be ok :) I continue to learn so much from you Brandy~ and you give so much inspiration not only to me but to so many. So blessed!

    Have a very blessed week,
    Patty from the NW

  • Cindi July 04, 2017

    Patty,
    If your deductible is low enough, it might be worth filing a claim with your homeowner's insurance for the loss from the freezer from the power outage. Years ago, we had just purchased a side of beef when we had an extended power outtage (five days in the middle of summer) due to damage to power lines from a storm. Our insurance reimbursed us for the freezer contents, less our deductible. I had to send in an itemized list of what was in the freezer, but they didn't ask for any proofs of purchase. Of course, it was pretty fresh in my mind, since we had purchased all that beef only the week before!

  • Juls Owings July 04, 2017

    we did this twice when electric was out over 5 days in 2 different summers. Only got back a couple hundred after the deductible but it helped

  • Doris in the midwest. July 04, 2017

    Last year was our first time with pantry moths also. Now, we put everything in a heavy, plastic pourable container. We bought several at Target and have not seen a moth so far this summer. They will eat right thru a cardboard cereal box. We keep a close eye on everything. Also, flour, pancake mix, etc. goes in the freezer for a while before opening to get rid of weevils, etc. that come with it.

  • Lisa in Georgia, USA July 04, 2017

    Hi Doris! I do the same with flours...they are stored in the freezer until I need to refill lidded glass iced tea containers that are in my pantry. I told my husband this morning that I don't like to think about just how many insects we all eat per year! He said he read somewhere that it is about 2 pounds! We remembered the time we had pantry months was when I bulk ordered from a company that obviously had an infestation in their warehouse. The moths hatched from the bag of dates! BLEH!!! I looked online last night, and Bed Bath & Beyond sells OXO Good Grips Square Food Storage POP containers. I think I will use some coupons and go buy a few for storing the pastsa.

  • Lilllanna Pickles July 04, 2017

    When I started couponing, I wasn't much better than a hoarder. I did not have a clue what pantry moths were. Our infestation was extreme. I took two truck loads of food to the dump. I had to pull everything apart in the kitchen. Every drawer was removed. I used a fondue fork to scrape the eggs out of the crevices. We soaked the kitchen in Apple cider vinegar. This was one of my nastiest life experiences. I learned real quick what pest infestation is. The kids of food was unbelievable. My problem seemed to have come from oatmeal.

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