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Blackberries and Strawberries The Prudent Homemaker

May is a wonderful month for harvesting from the garden.

Desert Gold Peaches The Prudent Homemaker

This month I'll be picking blackberries, Swiss chard, beets, strawberries, chamomile, hibiscus flowers, lettuce, spinach, beets, turnips, Katy apricots (they didn't ripen last month as I had expected, but should early this month),  Desert Gold peaches, artichokes, and even a few tomatoes. I also have leeks, oregano, parsley, mint, sage, rosemary and thyme fresh in the garden.

Chamomile The Prudent Homemaker

I've got a full pantry and some pretty full freezers.

Consequently, I don't need to buy much. I've decided to make our grocery budget for this month $200. I may or may not use all of that.


To prepare for meals when the baby comes, I've been cooking and freezing large batches of beans (pintos, black beans, and white beans). 


Here are my shopping plans for this month:


Milk (currently $2.31 a gallon at Sam's Club)

Eggs (Currently $4.98 for 5 dozen large eggs at Sam's Club)

Flour tortillas


I'll look at the ads for other great deals, and I may or not buy anything in addition to these items (in which case, I will end up spending much less for the month). In fact, I may not have to spend much of anything at all, since I redeemed some Swagbucks for a $25 Sam's Club gift card (which at the current prices would cover 10 dozen eggs, 3 gallons of milk, and 80 flour tortillas, or some other combination, such as  5 dozen eggs, 5 gallons of milk, and 80 tortillas). 

I also recently found out about strawberry picking at a local small community garden. They ask for a donation of time or money for picking. We're going to check it out this week (my children have already been there for a service project earlier this year) I've had little success with growing regular strawberries (the tiny white alpine ones do well for me, though) and I'm curious as to what I can do to see better results. I'm also looking forward to having some more strawberries, as I didn't get a chance to get many from the store last month.

Normally, this would make this a great month for to me to stock up on pantry staples, but since I am working to cut our expenses significantly right now to pay for some unexpected medical bills, keeping the list to a few short items while eating from the pantry, garden, and freezers is a great way for me to have more money to put towards bills. 

For my American readers, you may want to save a portion of May's budget for stocking up at the end of the month. Memorial Day sales will have barbeque savings, which usually includes sales on condiments as well as ground beef, hot dogs, watermelon, and corn on the cob. If you're planning to host a Memorial Day barbeque, check out my Patriotic Decorating board on Pinterest for some fun ideas and free printables.


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We've had an increase in income this year. While we don't know how long it will continue (due to the nature of a job in sales), we have decided that for now, we will be increasing our grocery budget to allow us to buy more of the things we love. For April, our budget will be $400. 

Strawberry Jam The Prudent Homemaker

Strawberries should be in season here this month. Last year I bought loads of berries on sale and made jam. I'd like to do that again this year, so I'll look for great sales on berries. I also want to freeze strawberries to use throughout the year. Last year I paid $1.25 a pound on sale for strawberries. While I have expanded our strawberry bed, I've never had more than a few to harvest, so buying them in season will have to do.

April is a month that usually sees lots of sales on toiletries and makeup, and lots of coupons and rebates on these items as well. I'll be looking for sales on these items.

The case-lot sale is also happening here this month. There aren't a lot of states where there are case-lot sales (nor stores who have them). We have one store that has them in our area, which is Smith's. I've decided to stock up on some items at the case-lot sale.

I'm seeing some great meat sales (this week has whole chickens for $0.79 a pound and boneless pork loin on sale for $1.89 a pound) if you need to stock up on meat. I will be using up meat from the freezer this month; I have several large items (like turkeys, hams, and pork roasts) that, once cooked, will last for several meals. 

I intend to cook several pots of beans (from the pantry) this month, to make burritos and soups.


Case-lot sale:

Canned green beans ($0.50 a can in a case of 12 cans for $6)

Canned tuna fish ($0.50 a can in a case of 48 cans for $24)

Canned mandarin oranges ($0.50 a can in a case of 24 for $12)


Fresh Produce:





Milk (the current best price in my area is $2.49 a gallon, on sale at Smith's this week)

Heavy whipping cream (to make strawberry shortcake)

Sour cream

Mozarella cheese (bought in a 5 pound bag at Sam's Club; the current price is $2.10 a pound)

Ice cream (I'll watch for a sale on the big buckets at Smith's)


Breakfast sausage links (I have a raincheck from a sale that I went to at Vons in February)


Other Fresh:

Flour tortillas



POM Toilet paper (from Sam's Club)

Oil of Olay Moisturizer (I usually stock up for the year with coupons, sales and a rebate deal in April)

Aveeno Baby Lotion (there should be coupons)

Mascara (I'll look for a deal with purchase)

Salon Graphix unscented hairspray (there's a $1 off coupon on Coupons.com)




Chocolate chips (Sam's Club)

Craisins (Sam's Club)

Almonds (Sam's Club)

Snow Peas 2 The Prudent Homemaker 

We'll have lots of salads from the garden this month, as lettuce and radishes are both ripe. The 30-day snow peas that I planted are covered in flowers, so I will be harvesting snow peas this month and making museum pasta salad (which wil be rather refreshing to eat with our temperatures in the 80's!)

I'm still picking lemons from our trees. It's wonderful. I love that they can stay on the trees for a long time. They'll all need to be picked this month.

The Swiss chard in the garden is growing tremendously. We could eat it every day this month and still have tons left in the garden. It is going to bolt in a few weeks, so we'll be having it often. We've been eating it as a side dish, as well as in several soups.

The beets are ready to harvest, as are the beet greens.

The turnips are growing quite a bit, and I can harvest them sometime this month.

I'm also harvesting a few asparagus spears from the garden.

Red and White Strawberries The Prudent Homemaker

I am picking a few red strawberries now, and I'll have some tiny white alpine strawberries ripe later this month.

I have green onions and leeks ripe in the garden.

I have thyme, oregano, parsley, garlic chives, onion chives, dill, sage, lemongrass, and rosemary available to cut in the garden. 

My Katy apricot tree in the white garden will be ripe this month. I put in this tree three years ago. I harvest several apricots last year, and this year it will have a good number to eat fresh, though the tree is still small. 

Roses in Glass Bowl The Prudent Homemaker

I'll be cutting flowers from the garden this month, too: nasturiums, white Iceberg roses, iris, and at the end of the month, David Austin roses (yellow Graham Thomas [shown above from last April] and peachy-pink The Shepardess).


That's it, unless I've forgotten something. I'll certainly keep an eye out for great sales. I may buy eggs again towards the end of the month (5 dozen at Sam's Club, since they've been holding around $1.25 a dozen there) if we go through all of the others.


Happy April! I have lots of lovely posts and projects planned to share with you this month. (In fact, I have several sewing projects to finish in the next two days that you'll be seeing very soon!)



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March's Grocery Shopping Plans

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I don't feel like I need to buy much this month, but there are some holiday sales this month that are worth noticing.


St. Patrick's Day sales will include corned beef roasts, potatoes, and cabbage.

Easter sales at the end of the month will include hams, possibly turkeys, and eggs, as well as Easter candy.

Asparagus, lettuce and strawberries should be on sale this month as well.

Daffodils also go on sale this month.

Chard and Beets The Prudent Homemaker 

The garden is full of chard, beets, and green onions. Lettuce and radishes will be big enough to harvest this month, and I should have snow peas and asparagus ready as well. I also have several herbs: thyme, oregano, sage, rosemary, garlic chives, onion chives, parsley, peppermint, and spearmint.

Easter Rabbits 2 The Prudent Homemaker


I plan on making Easter rabbits again this year (instructions here). I'll buy some  M&Ms to go in our Easter eggs, along with the jelly beans I bought on sale last month. I have some more ideas I want to try pinned on my Easter Pinterest board.


Here's my list for the month:


Feta Cheese



Easter candy (I'll combine sales and coupons for this).

Corned beef, if it goes on sale below $2 a pound. I'm not sure what price we'll see this year.

Ham, depending on price.

Cabbage (I plan to make sauerkraut using this recipe)



Strawberries, if the price goes to $1.25 a pound or less

Toilet paper


 Daffodils and Pink Stock The Prudent Homemaker


I'll also be cutting flowers from the garden this month: daffodils, Iceberg roses, Lady Banks' roses, nasturtiums, and stock. I'm really enjoying the floral arranging results I've had so far last month using this floral frog; I ordered this larger floral frog to use in my arrangements next month.


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February's Grocery Shopping Plans

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Beets in Basket The Prudent Homemaker

The garden is less productive than it usually is this month, but I'm hoping to have more to harvest towards the end of the month. I've cloched several lettuce seedlings to get them to grow faster. 

I have a few green onions (fewer than previous years, but we've also been using them more, so I will be planting more seeds this month), lots of beet greens (and beets), some chard, lots of thyme, lemons still hanging from the trees (plus the baskets and baskets inside), and a few other herbs. 

We're working on eating down the freezers, and I'm using up fruit we've frozen from the garden, and eating home-canned and dried produce as well.

I never did get to Target last month, so I'll look for sales this month on items I usually purchase there.



(These sales end 2/02)

American Beauty Pasta $0.49 a pound when bought in multiples of 6

Oranges $0.39 a pound

Gala Apples $0.99 a pound


Sam's Club:


Eggs (they had 5 dozen eggs at $6.24 last month; I'm hoping that price continues)

Flour Tortillas



Oil of Olay soap (there is currently a $1 off coupon on Coupons.com)

Secret unscented deodorant (I'll look for coupons; it's also possible to find a good sale at Smith's occasionally, so I'll look at their ads as well)

Valentine's peanut M&M's (coupons.com has coupons, and Target usually has a Target coupon you can stack with this, plus a Target cartwheel offer to stack, plus a sale. I'll watch for these.)

Vitamins (I probably missed a sale, but I've been a bit busy in the garden lately. . . .)

Salon Graphix unscented hairspray


Washing Soda



Hand dishwashing soap (they were out when I went last month)

Oxi-clean spray in the refill bottle



Feta cheese


Other items for which I'll watch for sales:

Sour Cream




Almond extract (I found out last month that our Sam's Club no longer carries this. Does anyone have a suggestion on where to find the best price? I am considering checking at Winco and Costco.)

Frozen petite peas (I'm hoping for a great sale at Albertson's, since everyone loves them).



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My post, What I'll Spend for Food, has been one of my most popular posts. Several readers have asked for an updated version that includes current prices, as prices have risen since I have written that post.

At the time I wrote that (3 years ago this month) sales for both us and our agents were far and few between, and my grocery budget was $100 a month for our family of 9. A year later, were were able to increase our budget to $200 a month, and two years later (last January), as sales had begun to increase in our city, for both us and our agents, I increased our budget to $300 a month. (Note: For those who don't know, my husband is the broker and owner of a real estate company, and we have around 40 agents at our company).

This didn't mean I greatly increased our price points on most items, however. I still aim to find the lowest possible prices and buy items at that price.

With growing children whose appetites are increasing, I an serving larger portions than I did in 2013. I currently have a 14-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy, as well as 5 younger children. My son has the typical appetite for a growing boy his age, and my husband tells me I haven't seen anything yet when it comes to how his appetite will increase even more over the next few years! 

And so, I expect that the need to increase our budget will continue to grow, as our children continue to grow.

For now, I am keeping my budget at $300 a month for our family of 9. This includes both food, toiletries, and cleaning items. I have been asked if it includes "paper items", which I believe means disposable items used with food. I don't buy a lot of items in that category, but I do buy Ziploc freezer bags, toilet paper, and paper towels. We don't use paper towels for cleaning or for drying our hands; we use paper towels for draining oil or grease from foods that need it. (Some people have suggested using newspaper or paper bags for this, but we don't get the newspaper, and I take reusable cloth bags with me when I shop).

Keeping my purchases within my price points means I won't buy items if they go above that price. We will choose something else (see my post "Comparing Apples to Oranges"). It also means waiting to purchase items when they get this low.

I have had some readers tell me my prices are low, and some tell me they are high. My readers are from around the globe, and prices vary a lot depending on where you live. Our "local" produce in the grocery store (and yes, the ads mark it that way) is from the next state over, because I live in one of the driest deserts in the world, and food is not being produced here. What might be the lowest price for me may be vastly different for someone on the other side of the country. When making a price book for yourself, study the ads for 12 weeks (the typical grocery cycle) and sometime in that 12 week time period, you will see the lowest prices on most items come around. 

There are exceptions, of course. Some items go on sale 1-2 times a year at their lowest price. This is always the case with in-season produce, and also the case with a few holiday special items. I wait to purchase these items all year at their lowest price.

Where a range of prices is listed, that is the typical lowest price sales range in my area.

Note: For my readers outside the U.S., 1 pound equals 0.453592 kg.1 pound is 16 ounces.

Berries in Colander The Prudent Homemaker 


I keep my produce price to $1 a pound or less, with an exception noted below. Several items that used to be on my produce purchase list are now no longer on my list, since I grow them instead.

Russet Potatoes: $0.10 to $0.25 a pound, always purchased in a 10 pound bag. I still occasionally find them for $0.10 a pound, but there is a usually a limit of one bag at this price now. I generally find them on sale in season (fall-winter) on sale for $0.20 a pound.

Apples: $0.79 to $0.99 a pound. Again, I find the best prices in fall and winter. I also grow apples in my garden; my best producing tree is a Dorsett Golden, that is ripe in June.

Oranges: With the razing of so many orange groves in California in 2015 due to drought, as well as several store closings in our area that used to have cheap oranges, this price has changed. The lowest I found this year was $0.68 a pound, with typical sales prices going to $0.99 a pound this winter. I currently have two small orange trees planted in pots, but they are young and not yet producing.

Limes: I buy a bag of 12 from the .99 store, or else I use powdered lime juice (which tastes as good as fresh) from San Francisco Herb Company.

Broccoli: This is in season in winter, and I pay $.99 a pound for crowns at Winco, and blanche and freeze it when it is on sale. I also grow a bit in my garden. If I can find it for less, I'll buy even more at once.

Petite Peas: $1.00 a pound, frozen, bought on sale at Alberston's a few times a year.

Asparagus: $0.99 a pound in season in spring, but I also grow some in my garden.

Corn: Canned corn comes in a 15 ounce can (16 ounces equals one pound). I'll pay $0.33 to $0.45 on sale a couple of times a year. For fresh ears, I'll pay $0.20 to $0.25 each. I do not grow corn, as our extreme heat means it rarely tassels and the plants burn in the harsh sunshine.

Green Beans: Canned green beans comes in a 15 ounce can (16 ounces equals one pound). I'll pay $0.33 to $0.45 on sale a couple of times a year. The only beans that grow here in our heat are the yard-long beans, and they usually need some afternoon shade to keep them from cooking and burning on the vines. I grow them, but not enough for our family. Most of the year it is too hot for even this type to flower.

Bananas: $0.59 to $.79 is the typical price here.

Carrots: $0.40 a pound in a 10-pound bag at Winco

Onions: $0.38 to $0.48 a pound

Clementines: $1.00 a pound in season in winter

Strawberries: $1.25 a pound in season. I grow both red strawberries and white, miniature alpine strawberries (shown in the picture above with blackberries from my garden) but not enough for my family. When they are in season in the spring (typically March/April here) I buy a lot on sale to make jam, to freeze, to make popsicles, to make shortcakes, and to eat fresh.

Milk and Eggs The Prudent Homemaker 


Milk: $2.59 to $3.15 a gallon for whole milk are the lowest sales prices in my area. I also use milk to make yogurt.

Sour Cream: $1.00 to $1.25 a pound on sale.

Butter: $2.00  to $2.40 a pound. This is a seasonal deal at this price. I freeze butter to use thoughout the year in baking and occasional sauteeing.

Spreadable Margarine: $2.54 to $2.79 for a three-pound tub of Gold N Soft Light. I use this on toast, baked potatoes, etc.

Eggs: Egg prices in the U.S. doubled last year.  I now occasionally can find them on sale for $1.25 a dozen, but it's a rare price. I buy a lot at that price. (typically 15 dozen at a time). The American Egg Board says that eggs are good for 4-6 weeks past their sell-by date, so keep that in mind when stocking up on eggs.

Mozarella Cheese: $2.17 to $2.5 a pound, bought shredded in a 5 pound bag at Sam's Club. (In summer I sometimes will also buy a 5 pound block).

Cheddar Cheese: $2.39 to $2.79 a pound, bought in a 5 pound block at Sam's Club

Parmesan cheese:  $1.32 a pound, sold ina 24 ounce container at Winco (shelf-stable Winco brand)

Feta cheese: $4.66 a pound sold in a 24 ounce pound container at Costco ($6.99) or Sam's Club (Sam's price is $8.48, or $5.65 a pound)

Cream Cheese: $1.00 for a half pound block, on sale usually November-December. It lasts all year in the fridge in the cheese drawer, so I buy a bunch when it goes on sale. I don't freeze it, as it changes texture, and we generally use it on bagels.



My rule is still nothing over $2 a pound, with one exception (noted below). That hasn't changed. Since beef prices doubled, however, it cut beef off our menu. I've read rumors of it coming down in 2016, but we'll have to see if that actually happens.

When I see meat on sale at these prices, I stock up and put it in my freezer. We have two fridge/freezers, plus a stand-alone large freezer.

Chicken, whole: $0.79 to $0.99 a pound. I look for chickens that are 4 to 5 pounds.

Chicken, thighs/legs, bone-in: $0.69 to $.0.89 a pound. This usually comes in a 10 pound bag at this price.

Chicken, boneless skinless breasts: $1.99 a pound. I don't buy this cut real often.

Turkey: $0.79 to $0.99 a pound. I buy the largest birds I can find. Turkey prices have increased greatly, as have required sales amounts to purchase turkeys at holidays.

Hams: $0.99 to $1.69 a pound, on sale at the holidays

Pork Roasts, boneless: $1.89 to $1.99 is a typical sales price that we see a few times a year.

Pepperoni: This is exception to the $2 a pound or under rule. I buy pepperoni a few times a year for putting on our homemade pizzas, and it is $2.96 a pound at Sam's Club, sold in a 3 pound bag. It doesn't take much to cover a pizza, so I don't use much in a meal.


Pantry/Bulk items:

Pasta: 3 times a year I can buy pasta on sale for $0.49 a pound, so I stock up then. The exception is farfalle, which we like in some dishes. I buy that on sale for $0.75 to $0.79 a pound.

Pinto beans: $0.53 a pound, bought in a 25 pound bag at Winco

Black beans: I stocked up on these last year at $0.68 a pound, but that source no longer carries them in bulk, so when I buy more I'll need to pay $0.99 a pound at Winco.

White beans: I stocked up on these last year at $0.68 a pound, but that source no longer carries them in bulk, so when I buy more I'll need to pay $0.81 a pound at Winco.

Kidney Beans: $1.04 a pound

Brown Lentils: $0.97 a pound

Long-Grain White Rice: $0.34 a pound, bought in a 25 pound bag at Sam's Club.

Basmati Rice: $0.80 a pound, bought in a 25 pound bag at Sam's Club

Oats (Old-fashioned, also called Rolled Oats): $0.65 a pound, sold for $16.15 for a 25 pound bag at Winco

Wheat: $0.28 a pound for white wheat, and $0.24 a pound for red wheat, bought in a 25 pound bag at the LDS Cannery

All-Purpose Flour: $0.31 a pound, bought in a 25 pound bag at Sam's Club

Yeast: $2.39 a pound, sold in a 2 pound pack at Sam's Club

Baking Soda: $0.423 a pound, sold in a 13.5 pound container at Sam's Club ($5.72)

Baking Powder: $0.096 an ounce, sold in a 60 ounce container at Sam's Club ($5.78)

Cornstarch: $0.093 an ounce,  sold in a 35 ounce container for $3.28 at Sam's Club

White Vinegar: $1.99 a gallon, sold in a 2 gallon package at Sam's Club

Balsamic Vinegar: $10.99 a liter at Costco. (This is the biggest price increase I have; I paid about 40% less at Sam's Club, but our store no longer carries this item.)

Salt, Iodized: $0.32 a pound, sold in a 4 pound box at Sam's Club

Salt, Kosher: $0.74 a pound, sold in a 4 pound box at Winco

Salt, Canning/Pickling: $0.32 a pound, sold in a 4 pound box at Winco

Sugar, Granulated: $0.398 a pound, sold in a 10 pound bag at Sam's Club

Sugar, Brown: $0.698 a pound, sold in a 4 pound bag at Sam's Club (I don't make my own, as molasses is fairly pricey and we go through a fair amount of brown sugar).

Sugar, Powdered: $0.68 a pound, sold in a 4 pound bag at Sam's Club. I don't make my own, as my blender has never turned sugar into powder with any success. I only occasionally use powdered sugar.

Vanilla Extract: $8.98 a pound. I'm considering making this but not I'm not sure if the price will be much lower. However, this has gone up a lot.

Chocolate Chips: $1.99 a pound, bought in a 4.5 pound bag at Sam's Club

Almonds: $5.99 a pound, bought in a 48 ounce bag at Sam's Club

Popcorn: $0.48 a pound, bought in a 50 pound bag at Sam's Club. We pop this on the stove with a little vegetable oil.

Vegetable Oil: $4.98 for a gallon at Winco

Olive Oil, extra-virgin: $5.99 a liter, bought in a 3-liter container at Sam's Club

Knorr Chicken Bullion: $4.44 for a 2.2 pound container at Sam's Club

Knorr Tomato Bullion: $4.8 for a 2.2 pound container at Walmart

Canned Tomato Sauce: $2.89 for a #10 can (6 pounds 10 ounces; 106 ounces) at Costco

Canned Tomatoes: $3.28 for a #10 can (102 ounces) at Sam's Club

Cranberries, Dried: $2.66 a pound, bought in a 48 ounce bag at Sam's Club

Raisins: $2.12 a pound, bought in a 2 30-ounce bags at Sam's Club

Poppy Seeds, mustard seeds, cream of tartar: Under $2.50 a pound at San Francisco Herb Company. I also buy other herbs there, such as cinnamon.


Meyer Lemons in Basket The Prudent Homemaker

Items I don't buy because I grow them in the garden:

I have a .24 acre lot in the desert, with over 40 fruit trees, most of which are semi-dwarf trees. My garden is watered with drip irrigation. We have 6 months of above 90º temperatures, running April through October, and summer days in my part of the city are typically 110º to 113º. We have sunshine almost every day of the year.

I aim to always have something ripe in the garden. You can see my garden calendar here. I live in a U.S. zone 9a.

I grow almost all open-pollinated seeds. By so doing, I am able to collect my own seeds to replant each year, saving me the need to purchase seeds for everything every year. There are a few seeds and plants that I still need to purchase each year, but that number is becoming fewer each year as I see success with collecting my own seeds.

Lemons: We have 6 lemons trees, with 2 large enough to produce. I dry and freeze zests, plus freeze juice to use throughout the year. We make our own lemonade with these.

Peaches: We have three peach trees-two in back and one in front of the house (with the two in back large enough to produce). The two  producing ones are Desert Gold, a semi-freestone that ripens in May, and Early Elberta, a freestone peach that ripens in July, and typically givens me enough peaches to can a dozen jars, plus all of the peaches I eat fresh.

Apricots: I have three apricot trees, with one large enough for good-sized crop. The producing one is a Royal Blenheim, and it is ripe in June. The other two trees are Katy apricots, and one of them (in the front yard) gives us a few apricots at the end of April/beginning of May.

Figs: I have a Mission Fig tree. Mission figs are unusual in that they double crop. I get a crop in June and again in August.

Blackberries: I harvest these in May. The heat and sunshine make them small (they need to be grown here with afternoon shade so as not to burn on the vine).

Grapes: I grow Thompson's Seedless, Red Flame Seedless, some seeded large green grapes that were all marked Red Flame (but aren't!) and I have a Concord vine, though it rarely produces more than a handful of grapes. My grapes ripen from late June to early August.

Pears: I have a small espaliered 20th Century Asian pear, as well as 2 Bartlett pear trees that have never grown very large.

Pomegranates: I have 2 potted pomegranate trees.

Green Onions: These reseed themselves in the garden each year, and are a cut and come again vegetable. I grow and harvest these year-round. To read more about green onions, read my post "How to Grow Green Onions and Collect Your Own Seeds." I bought green onion plants 9 years ago, and I haven't had to buy any since, as they reseed themselves.

Snow Peas: I plant these in fall for an April harvest.

Swiss Chard (silverbeet): I grow Fordhook Giant chard. This is an open-pollinated type that self-seeds. I also collect seeds from this. It grows year-round in my garden.

Beets: I grow these in the garden fall-spring. I grow open-pollinated types and allow some to go to seed each year. We eat the greens as well as the beets.

Turnips: These grow fall-early spring.

Lettuce: I harvest lettuce in the early spring. Last year I collected quite a few lettuce seeds from one variety.

Radishes: I grow these fall-early spring.

Artichokes in the Garden The Prudent Homemaker

Artichokes: I harvest these in April. Artichokes are a pernnial plant, that may or may not return each year. I planted some new plants last fall.

Armenian Cucumbers on Scale The Prudent Homemaker

Cucumbers: The only cucumbers that don't go bitter and still produce female flowers in our heat are Armenian cucumbers. These can grow to arm's length without becoming bitter. I use these to can pickles.

Tomatoes: I buy plants at the nursery to set out in February. Our last frost date is February 15th, and come April/May, we'll see temperatures of 100º, which stops my tomatoes from flowering until the last week of October. Consequently, I am unable to grow enough to can, so I buy canned sauce and canned tomatoes, but fresh ones come from the garden.

Herb Arrangement The Prudent Homemaker

Herbs: I grow enough of the following herbs that I don't need to purchase them: Basil, parsley, rosemary, oregano, tarragon, garlic chives, onion chives, chamomile, peppermint, spearmint and thyme. I make my own herbal tea from some of these.

Larkspur and Rose arrangement The Prudent Homemaker

Flowers: I grow my own flowers in the garden from bulbs, seeds, perennial plants, and the occasional annuals. One flower I like to buy is orchids. You can see why I think orchids are a frugal flower choice in my post here. I like to have enough flowers to make arrangments all year long. Here are my tips for growing more flowers for less.


There are, of course, other items that I will buy on occasion, but these are the typical items I buy on a regular basis.

I'm sure you're wondering why some items aren't on this list, such as cold cereal, bread or salad dressing. I don't buy these items. For my list of more items I don't buy, see here. For bread and cracker recipes, click here, and for salad dressing recipes, click here.


I've also had questions about what stores I have available in my area. We're blessed to have several stores not far from here, which leads to better competition and lower sales prices. Within a mile and a half, I have access to Walmart, Target, Winco, Costco, and Walgreens. Within five miles I have two Smith's (a Kroger affiliate), Vons, two CVS, another Target, another Walmart, and two Albertson's stores, as well as Sam's Club.  I rarely visit the drug stores (CVS and Walgreen's), and I don't have a Costco card (but my parents do, so if I need something from there, I'll go with them). This leaves me with a lot of choices and options for sales. In adition, the LDS cannery is not far from here (where I purchase bulk wheat berries). I order spices online from San Francisco Herb Company.

Our grocery ads (for Smith's, Vons, and Albertson's) come in the mail on Tuesdays, and our sales here run Wednesdays through Tuesdays. (Drug store ads come in the mail on Thursdays for sales running Sunday through Saturday).  I don't subscribe to the newspaper, but a free local section comes with a smaller number of Smart Source coupons on Thursday (compared to what subscribers get). I print coupons online from Coupons.com, Red Plum, and Target, as well as the Target Cartwheel offers. 

I'm sure I've left a few items out, so if you have any questions, let me know in the comments and I'll update the post with any missing items.

Lastly, I'd like to encourage you to make your own price book with the lowest sales prices for items in your area, wherever you are in the world. This will help you to know when to stock up on items, making your money go further on the things you already buy!









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January's Grocery Shopping Plans

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I went to make lemonade the last week of the year only to discover that I was out of sugar.

In general, I don't run out of things--especially sugar! Staple items are things I always have on hand.

I'll be remedying that problem right away. I have 7 or 8 baskets of lemons on the counter and lots of calls for lemonade!

This is also a good month to watch for sales on vitamins and cold and flu medicines. I'll be looking for sales and coupons to combine to stock my medicine cabinet.


Sam's Club:


Baking Soda

Baking Powder


Almond Extract



Chocolate Chips

Ghiradelli chocoalte melts (if these are on clearance--they usually are in January, as they are a seasonal item for the holidays)

Barbeque sauce

Ketchup ($3.68 for 114 ounces)




Vitamins (mutli-vitamins and invidual vitamins. I buy the store brand mens', womens', and children's from Target. There should be sales and possibly coupons and a Target cartwheel to stack.)

Children's Pain reliever/fever reducer (store brand plus sales/coupons)



Tomato Sauce in a #10 can

Balsamic vinegar

Crumbled feta cheese



La Victoria Salsa

Canned water chestnuts


Almond flour (for a specific recipe that I want to try this week)




Frozen petite peas. I have a raincheck from last month that I can use to get these for $1 a pound.



Hand-dishwashing soap (store brand)


I'll watch for sales on:


Broccoli (in season this month)

Ice cream

Sour cream








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