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Bulk Foods Smaller Bulk The Prudent Homemaker

What are the holes in your pantry? If your circumstances were to change so that starting in October you would need to live on only what you had stored for the next 12-18 months, what items would you run out of?

This month I would encourage you to strongly consider this question and figure out what is missing in your storage.

For my own family, having lived from our pantry for over a year before, I have a pretty good idea of what I need. I also see gaps where we have eaten items and not replaced them in the amounts we would need if we needed to live from our pantry again.

My priorities this month are those "holes" where I have items, but not enough. I've been working on filling those holes most of this year, but of course, we continue to eat what we have stored. 

My priorities this month are powdered mik, rice, vitamins, yeast, baking soda, baking powder, sugar and salt. 

I prefer instant powdered milk in my storage; you can read my thoughts on powdered milk here

My husband had to make a trip to Chandler, Arizona today (not a normal thing at all for us), and just yesterday I heard about an AMAZING price on powdered milk in Tempe, Arizona, which is very close to Chandler. It is $49 for a 50 pound bag (makes 62 1/2 gallons at a cost of $0.78 a gallon).  I had him purchase 4 bags for us. The store is called Milk N' More; here is the address and store hours. They make the milk powder there! 

For vitamins, I am looking to purchase more children's multi-vitamins, I buy the store brand of children's chewables at Target ($7.79 for 150, which is less than a month's worth for my family).  I often find these on sale for $1 off, and then sometimes find additional $0.75 or $1 off Target coupons, and sometimes an additonal 10-15% off on top of that as a Target Cartwheel offer (I add these to my Cartwheel account and then print the paper to be scanned, since I don't have a cell phone, and it works without any problems). Hopefully I'll find some of these items to lower the price this month. (Update: These are on sale for even less online this month--see link above--so I will see if I can get the same price at the store).

I'll purchase everything else at Sam's Club.

Later this week we'll finally see temperatures drop below 100ºF. This is a great blessing for the garden. As the weeks go by and temperatures continue to drop this month, my cucumbers should start producing female flowers (unfortunately, they only produced male flowers last month, as it was around 107º).

I should also (hopefully!) start harvesting more red noodle beans. As the temperatures drop, they also flower more. 

By the last week of the month, temperatures will hopefully drop below 90º, and I'll be able to plant lettuce seeds in the garden. Be watching for a post on fall gardening very soon! I've been collecting lettuce seeds from the garden, and so I won't have to purchase any lettuce seeds for fall planting, and I have lots of other seeds left from last fall and this spring for fall planting.

I am currently picking pears, apples, beet greens, chard, green onions, basil, chives, thyme, and other herbs as needed from the garden.

Olives 2 The Prudent Homemaker

September is the month where I pick olives. I should be able to go olive picking around the end of the month. A lot of people asked me about instructions for olives last time. I was new to doing them and they take a very long time (weeks, depending on how you do them!) and not all of mine were okay at the end of that time. I learned a lot about what works and also learned that there is going to be some loss.  There are a lot of ways to process olives. Our favorite way was the freshest way, which doesn't last long. I'll make sure to put that recipe up, as it is very simple.  I recommend reading this for complete olive instructions. It's long--26 pages--and I suggest printing it and stapling it to refer to while you're processing olives. For most ways of processing olives, you're going to need lye, and you'll want to make sure it is pure lye with no additives. I ended up buying my lye from Amazon.

I've had some questions about starting to stock a pantry. If you're just starting out, my first two choices in items would be bulk rice and beans. Then, should something happen to you financially, you at least have something to eat. The second items I would add would be bulk flour, yeast, and salt, so that you can make bread. Third, I would buy oats in bulk (which can be used for breakfast as well as for dinner).

After that, look at what you eat for a week. How often do you eat spaghetti? Take the number of times you have that per week times 52 to know what you need for a year. If you only have it every other week, take .5 times 52, and if you eat a pound each time, you'll need 26 packages for the year. Now you'll know, when a great pasta sale comes by, how much you'll need. Pasta sales, of course, include other shapes, so think of how many times you make pasta salad, chicken noodle soup, or other pasta dishes, and stock up on each of those at the sale as well.

Do the same with other items that you purchase, and you'll know how much your family needs of an item, so that when sales come, you can stock up.

For my pantry list, click here.

I wish you all the best in filling the holes in your pantry this month!

 

 

 

 

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August's Shopping Plans

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Armenian Cucumbers on Scale The Prudent Homemaker

Last year's Armenian cucumbers

 

It's the 11th of August and I still haven't been to the grocery store.

I have, however, finally written down my priorities for the month, which are all long-term pantry items. 

I never did make it to Walmart last month, instead choosing to buy multiples of some items at Sam's Club while I was there, so all of last month's Walmart items are on my list, plus a few more. I also didn't make it to Winco, but my husband ran in to get margarine and potatoes, so I have the other Winco items on my list as well. I also somehow forgot to purchase some things on my Sam's Club list! Those are back on my list for this month.

The garden is full of herbs (basil, mints, thyme, rosemary, oregano, chives).

My red noodle beans are coming in. I have more vines that are growing, too, which should increase my yield.

The first two of my Armenian cucumbers are starting to ripen on the vine, and I think we'll get quite a few this month. If you recall from photos I've posted in the past, these can easily get two feet long without being bitter. Also, as they are technically a melon, they can be left on the vine longer to turn into a large, peach colored, sweet melon. I love that they serve a double duty in the garden. 

My Asian pears are ripe this month, and my Bartletts may be ripe this month as well.

My Jonagold apples are ripe this month.

We're still cutting green onions (we harvest those all year long).

I plan on harvesting a good number of grape leaves this month.

I expect some other things will be ripe as well, including Thai peppers, and hopefully a few more tomatoes. 

We were also blessed this month with zucchini from friends' gardens and peaches from my father-in-law's tree. I'm hoping my own zucchini plants produce, but they are not flowering yet.

 

Winco:

Brown lentils

Pink Beans

Old-Fashioned Oats

Non-iodized salt (for canning pickles)

Couscous (I haven't bought this from here before, but I haven't bought any in a long time and I know they sell it in bulk)

Carrots

 

Walmart:

Knorr Tomato Bullion powder

Vegetable Oil

Powdered milk

 

Sam's Club:

POM toilet paper

Popcorn

Knorr Chicken Bullion powder

White vinegar (I'll need several gallons for the pickles I will can from our cucumbers this year)

Mozzarella cheese

Salt

Mayonnaise

All-Pupose flour

Sugar

 

Costco:

My mom has a card, so I'll go with her for some things.

 

Balsamic vinegar

Tomato Sauce

 

.99 Store:

My mom usually goes to this store once a month, so I'll either go with her or ask her to pick these up for me.

Cotton Swabs (1000 in a package)

 

Target:

I did run to Target earlier this month to purchase a couple of clothing items for my daughter that she needed for camp. I will be watcing Totally Target blog for any deals on items that we can use that are worth a trip. I am grateful for this blogger who helps me match up the coupons, Target Cartwheel, and sales at Target.

Eye drops (store brand)

Antibiotic ointment (store brand)

Zest soap

 

In addition, I'll watch for great sales on items I need. In years past, I have purchased peaches and pears on sale to can in August.  I may or may not purchase either of these, depending on prices this year.

 

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July's Shopping Plans

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Early Elberta Peaches 2 The Prudent Homemaker 

I skipped my trip to Sam's Club last month, since there was a  .49 a pound pasta sale at Smith's. That is a price that only comes around a couple of times a year, so I went there to buy that, milk (which was on sale for lower than Sam's price), men's deodorant, and more ice cream.

This means I have all of last month's items to buy, as well as a few more items to buy, (including some that are on sale) at Sam's Club right now. I'll go to Sam's Club right at the beginning of the month. I'm also going to buy a larger quantity of some of these items.

I'm placing an online order from San Francisco Herb Company as part of this month's shopping.

I feel that right now it is essential to stock our pantries. If your pantry is low on anything, I highly recommend that you take the time this summer to fill in any gaps. Do not delay this. If you have the space for a fall garden, please plant one. Purchase open-pollinated seeds in large quantities. (Outside Pride has a July sale for 15% off any orders through July 5th; use code JULY. Territorial Seed Company has released their fall catalog and you can find a fall planting chart here).

I will be focusing the bulk of my purchases on pantry items over the next several months.

The garden provides lots of fresh items this month. I am picking peaches, grapes, and red noodle beans. I will harvest and dry sage, oregano, spearmint, hot peppers, passionflower leaves, blackberry leaves and basil. I also have green onions, leeks, Swiss chard, a few strawberries, and more herbs that I will harvest from the garden.  

My cucumber and zucchini plants are alive, but small. I don't expect to get anything from them yet, but I am grateful to have some plants that have finally not been eaten by bugs!

A note for those who are in the northern hemisphere in a cooler climate than I am: July is a great month to start seeds for a fall harvest. This is a helpful chart for fall planting.

 

Sam's Club:

Rice ($8.64 for 25 pounds)

Worcestershire sauce (this is on sale)

Knorr Chicken Bullion powder (this is now .40 less at Sam's Club than Walmart)

Black pepper

Vanilla

Powdered sugar

Brown sugar

All-purpose flour

Salt

Chocolate Chips (By the time Sam's Club opens in the morning, it is 105º, and the car is much hotter inside. I'll take ice in an insulated bag to the store so that I can bring these home unmelted.)

Almonds

Ketchup

Mayonnaise

K.C. Masterpiece BBQ sauce

Pancake Syrup After reading how many of you make your own I will be trying that instead.

White Vinegar

Oxi-Clean Powder

POM Toilet paper

Cheddar Cheese (5 pound block for $11.66)

Mozarella cheese (5 pounds shredded for $10.66)

Pepperoni (the only exception to my $2 price per pound limit--it's $10.52 for 3 pounds--but we only use a tiny amount at a time when we make pizza)

Gatorade powder (I have never bought this, but after reading the comments here and researching prices, this looks like a great way to store an electrolyte solution for when people are sick, and it looks to be lower cost than other options).

 

Winco:

Pink beans

Margarine

Potatoes (if I can find them for .20 a pound or less)

Carrots (I am drying some each month in my dehydrator)

Oats

 

Walmart:

 

Knorr Tomato Bullion powder

Vegetable Oil

 

San Franciso Herb Company:

 

Cheddar cheese powder

Lemon juice powder

Cream of Tartar

Cocoa powder (Dutch process is $5.72 a pound if you buy 5 or more pounds, otherwise it is $6.35 a pound)

Oregano

Parsley powder

Hibiscus flowers

Lemongrass

Orange peel granules 

 

 

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June's Shopping Plans

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Summer Fruits

June is an abundant month in the garden. I will pick Royal apricots, Red Flame grapes, blackberries, Green Gage plums, Mission figs, Dorsett Gold Apples, white alpine strawberries, and Early Girl tomatoes.  I will cut green onions, Swiss chard, oregano, chives, tarragon, and the first of the Genovese basil.

Apricots in Wire Basket The Prudent Homemaker

I'll can apricot vanilla jam with my apricots, and freeze most of the blackberries, which will later go in smoothies and fruit salads. I'll can plum sauce from many of the plums. I'll dry most of the figs, to be used later in fig sauce.  I'll also make at least one batch of rosemary fig gelato. If we have more apples than we can eat fresh, I'll can applesauce as well. I expect to make yogurt and granola, popsicles, and smoothies.

Rosemary Fig Gelato 2 The Prudent Homemaker

Despite that fact that I won't need to buy a lot of fresh items in June, I have decided to increase our grocery budget by $100 for the next four months, to allow me to do some stocking up on pantry and toiletry items (making a $400 a month budget for my family of 9).  I also want to increase our dairy purchases during the summer months this year, including cheese, milk, and ice cream (which should be on sale quite a bit). I am grateful for the increase in income at this time that is making this possible. 

Sometime in the next month or two, I expect to see summer sales on women's razors, sunscreen, and lotions. I'm low on all of these items. I'll be looking for coupons and sales for these. I also expect to find sales on first aid supplies, and I will look for deals on those.

During the summer, I make certain to have insulated shopping bags in my vehicle (my grandmother always had a cooler with ice in her trunk to put all of the cold things in her car, allowing her to visit several stores in one trip during the summer--a pratice that I found inspiring as a child).  Even with these, I tend to keep my summer shopping trips to early morning, or even better, after the sun has gone down. 

My summer menu can be found here. I use my menus to plan meals based on what is currently ripe in the garden, what I have in the freezers and pantry, and of course, what I am in the mood to make! 

 

Sam's Club:

Flour tortillas

Milk

Cheddar cheese (5 pound block)

Mozzerella cheese (5 pound block)

Mozzerella cheese (5 pound shredded)

Pepperoni

POM Toliet paper

Brown sugar

Powdered sugar

Vanilla

Rice

Ketchup

Vinegar

BBQ sauce

Pepper

Chocolate chips

 

Walmart:

Vegetable oil

Dish soap

Equate dandruff shampoo

 

Target:

Zest soap (There is .50 coupon on Coupons.com)

Disposable razors (A reader just shared this deal for free razors at Walmart)

Coppertone sunscreen (There is a $1 off coupon  and a $3 off 2 coupon on Coupons.com)

Aveeno baby lotion

Johnson's baby wash

Feminine hygiene supplies on sale with coupons (Coupons.com has a $2 off coupon for Playtex right now)

 

Winco:

Lentils

Pinto beans

Milk

Carrots (10 pound bag)

Whipping cream

 

Smith's:

Ice cream (I buy the Kroger party pail when it goes on sale)

 

Yogurt Peaches and Granola The Prudent Homemaker

Flourish 1

 

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Blackberries in white bowl The Prudent Homemaker

May is an adundant month in my garden.

The Desert Gold peaches will be ready any day now, as will the Katy apricots (last year the apricots ripened in April, but this year they will be ripe in May).

Blackberries will be ripe this month. 

Artichokes in the Garden The Prudent Homemaker

I'll have a few artichokes to harvest the first couple weeks of the month.

My lettuce is still doing well, but with temperatures of 97ºF now it is starting to bolt. We'll have lettuce for at least the first two weeks of the month, harvesting some every day for salad. This week we've had soup and salad for lunch every day. When the lettuce is done, I'll let it finish bolting and collect seeds to plant again in fall. I'll also be collecting seeds from the bolted Swiss chard when they are ready, and I'll continue to collect seeds from the green onions. I let them reseed themselves, but I have also started collecting seeds and growing them in more places in the garden.

I'm picking white alpine strawberries and a few regular red ones every other day.

I have loads of Swiss chard in the garden, as well as thyme, tarragon, green onions, chives, parsley, and oregano. There is still chamomile to be cut and dried for herbal tea. My front yard smells like chamomile; it is wonderful.

The Iceberg roses will have another flush towards the end of the month. Right now the larkspur is opening in abundance and the poppies are blooming. 

Poppy The Prudent Homemaker

 The nasturiums and lavender are blooming, too.

Nasturiums and Lavender in the Garden The Prudent Homemaker

 

This month I'm doing less pantry stocking than in previous months, and I'm open to whatever great deals I find. Towards the end of the month, there will be lots of great sales for Memorial Day in the U.S., which means sales on items for a barbeque, including ground beef, hot dogs, ketchup, mayonnaise, relish, barbecue sauce, etc.  (I usually buy ketchup and mayonnaise in bulk at Sam's Club.)

 

Heres what I plan on buying:

 

Sam's Club:

 Popcorn (it comes in a 50 pound bag)

Feta cheese

Mozarella cheese

Ketchup

Mayonnaise

Barbeque sauce

Milk

 

Costco (I don't have a Costco card, but my mom does): 

Baby wipes (we still need these, as Ivory wears a diaper at night)

Tomato sauce

Balsamic vinegar

 

Vons:

This week they have corn on the cob 6 for $1.

 

Winco:

Spreadable margarine

Heavy cream 

Milk

 

Walmart:

Vegetable Oil

 

Because of Mother's Day, May is a great month to buy makeup (lots of sales). Ebates has double cash back right now for Mother's Day, and the more expensive brands of makeup usually have free gifts with purchase this month. If you go through Ebates you can get cash back on your purchase. If you've got an upcoming wedding to attend, you may be able to get cash back and a sale on a wedding gift this way as well this month.

It's also a great month to buy flowers for your garden. Look for local flower sales in time for Mother's Day (in the U.S., Mother's Day is the second Sunday of May). Roses will most likely be on sale, along with many other choices.

May is also a great month for yard sales. I'm still looking for some items on my list. Lately I've been finding out about yard sales from the local Facebook garage sale pages. I usually find a few more on my way to those sales as well. 

 

 

 

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April's Grocery Shopping Plans

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Easter Rabbits

This April brings Easter sales the first week of the month.  Eggs and ham will be on sale this week, as well as Easter candy, potatoes, strawberries, and butter.

This year for Easter I am planning to make chocolate rabbits again.

I am continuing to work on filling in the holes in my storage. I am also adding to my pantry by cutting and drying herbs from the garden.

Snow Peas 2 The Prudent Homemaker

The garden is full of wonderful things in April. This month I'll harvest lettuce, green onions, parsley, tarragon, thyme, sage, dill, chives, beets,  Swiss chard, radishes, snow peas, strawberries, and Katy apricots.  The apricot tree is still very young (this is the one I planted a year and a half ago in the front yard) so the harvest is still small.

Mulberries The Prudent Homemaker

Last year our neighbor let us pick the mulberries from her tree (she doesn't like mulberries, and our picking them saves her a lot of cleanup), and I am certain she'll have us pick them again this year (her tree was planted by birds, and she just let it grow in her garden). Since I have less freezer space this year (because our second fridge/freezer went out) I will freeze some, and dry some in my dehydrator. The frozen ones will be used in smoothies and muffins, and the dried ones in muffins.

March Flowers 2 The Prudent Homemaker

My garden yields lots of roses in April--enough to cut and bring several in to enjoy. The poppies and larkspur will also bloom this month. Larkspur usually blooms for me in May, but the weather has been very warm this year (91º yesterday) and the larkspur are already starting to bloom. 

 

 

LDS Cannery:

White beans

Black beans

 

Walmart:

Knorr Tomato Bullion

Knorr Chicken Bullion

 

Target:

Easter candy. I managed to get two 9 ounce bags of white chocolate M&M's last month for .33 out of pocket, by combining sales, coupons, Target Cartwheel, and $1 from a Target gift card. There is a Target sale and coupon stack for Starburst jelly beans that I will get this week.

Pastel sprinkles (on after-Easter clearance). I can't count on finding any of these on clearance, but right now they are in the dollar section. Update: I didn't find any clearance sprinkles in pink, so I skipped buying these.

Neutrogena Alcohol-Free Toner. I'm hoping for coupons and a sale; however, they are rare on this. Update: I found a $2 off coupon!

Oil of Olay Sensitive Skin Moisturizer with sunscreen. I have a couple of $1 off coupons for this, and two  $3 off 2 coupon as well. It's time for Winter to wear some too, so I expect to need more. In past years, I have seen rebates in April when you buy several bottles, and this year is no exception. The Proctor and Gamble rebate must have a total of $50 after coupons and sale prices, to get a $15 gift card back. I've done this in the past, getting enough for the year, and if I can do this again,  I will. Here is the rebate form.

Eggs. Target has these on sale here for .99 a dozen, plus a 5% off cartwheel, making them $0.94 a dozen.

 

Smith's:

The caselot sale is this month. I'll be buying the following items at this sale (which goes over 2 weeks, but includes different things, sold by the case, each week):

Mandarin oranges, on sale for $0.50 a can (11 ounce cans) in a case of 24 cans ($12). I'll buy 2 cases.

Peanut butter, store brand (Kroger) on sale for $1.25 for a 16 ounce jar in a 12 jar case for $14.99. I'll buy one case.

Strawberries. On sale this week for $0.97 a pound.

Russet Potatoes. On sale this week for $0.99 for a 10 pound bag. If they look good, I'll buy 10 bags.

Colgate toothpaste. A 4.6 ounce tube is on sale for $0.89. I'll get several tubes. I also have a $0.50 off coupon.

Barilla pasta. This is on sale for $0.50 a box! Boxes are 12 to 16 ounces, so I'll make sure to buy the 16 ounce ones. You have to buy 10 to get this price.

 

Vons:

They have a shank half-ham for .99 a pound, limit 1. This is the lowest price around. Update: They were out when I went, so I didn't get a ham.

 

Sam's Club:

Cornstarch

Feta cheese

Mozarella cheese

Corn tortillas

Olive Oil

Mayonnaise

Toilet paper.  I buy the POM brand. 

Milk

 

Other items that I'll buy where I can find the best sales: 

Heavy cream. I'd like to make strawberry shortcake this month; I'll whip this with a splash of vanilla extract and a bit of powdered sugar to put on top. I didn't see this on sale in the ads that start toda,y but I will look over them again to be certain.

Challenge cream cheese. There are two different $1.00 off coupons available to print right now on coupons.com. Last December I was able to combine these coupons and a sale to get 4 packages of cream cheese for .29 a package. I'm hoping to do the same this month. I thought I would see a sale on these for Easter, but I have not. If I find a way to get cream cheese for less than $1 a pound using these coupons or on another sale then I will get some.

Mustard. I like both Gulden's Spicy Brown and French's Spicy Brown mustard. I have two coupons for French's, so I'll look for a sale on these to combine with the coupons.

I will also keep an eye out for any other fantastic sales during April.

 

April is also the month that I attend a community garage sale. I've made a list of needed items. I will be looking for clothing and household goods at the sales. My list includes both sizes for each child (including larger sizes, to be prepared for growth spurts and next year) and the number of items needed in each size. I've been selling items via Facebook garage sale sites to have money to spend on this day, and I am listing several more items for sale in the next week, to add to the money I have to buy these needed items. 

 

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