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December's Grocery Shopping Plans for a Simpler Month

This post contains affiliate links.

Christmas Spritz Cookies The Prudent Homemaker 

 Spritz Cookies made with my grandmother's vintage cookie press. These are the fastest and simplest Christmas cookies I've ever made.


Can you imagine a December without shopping?

No food to buy.

No gifts to purchase.


The chance to stay home: making cookies and treats from items in your pantry, making meals from a well-stocked pantry and freezers, making gifts from items you already have on hand, making memories as a family as you sing Christmas carols together before bed every night of the month, playing board and card games as a family in the evenings instead of being out shopping (and picking up takeout because you don't have time to cook after work and shopping), watching Christmas movies as a family, etc.


BUT . . .

Maybe you still have presents left to buy.

Maybe you have groceries to purchase.

Christmas Bedpost The Prudent Homemaker


Could it be simpler, though? Could you avoid the time you spend shopping, standing in line, etc.? 


You could decide to shorten your Christmas list to what you've already purchased (and/or make any remaining gifts using what you have on hand in your kitchen or with any supplies you have).

You could order the last gifts on your list online and have them shipped to your door. (Amazon has a free trial of Prime if you want two-day shipping for free for the month, plus you can watch movies from home with it).

You could order groceries and have them delivered. (I've never tried this option, but many stores have free and/or discounted delivery options for the first time you place an order. I can see an extra appeal in this if you don't want to leave the house in inclement weather). 

You could limit your grocery shopping to just two stores for the month.

You could decide to eat what you have in the pantry and freezer and not go shopping.


I've decided to keep my December shopping as simple as possible. I still have many gifts to make and I am wanting to bake often, both of which require me to be at home.


I'm limiting my December grocery shopping to $40 at Sam's Club, which comes from a $25 gift card I earned on Swagbucks and a $15 gift card I received as a gift, and $25 out of pocket.

I looked through Sam's sales flyer and am purchasing two things that will each be $2.50 off in December. One is balsamic vinegar, a regular staple in my pantry. The other is Nutella, which I only buy in December when it goes on sale at Sam's Club. It's a large jar (26.5 ounces/751.26g) that comes in a two-pack, on sale $6.48 (that makes each jar $3.24, or $0.122 an ounce/$0.0043 gram.)

I'm planning on saving the time of walking around the store and standing in the checkout line by ordering everything online and having it ready for pickup. I've never done it before, but this service is free, so why not have a bit more time in my life? It certainly doesn't take very long to add it to my cart online. I'll have my husband pick it up on his way home from work, and he can fill up on gas (which is cheaper there) at the same time.


Sam's Club:

corn tortillas (110 count)

milk (1 gallon)

salted peanuts (52 ounces)

mozzarella cheese (5 pounds shredded)

balsamic vinegar (1 liter)

brown sugar (7-pound bag)

Nutella (2 26.5 o./75126g jars)


I'd like to purchase some clementines for both fresh eating and Christmas stockings, but that will depend on what sales are out there. I'm allotting $15 out of pocket towards clementines, if I find a sale right before Christmas of $1 a pound or less (there are sometimes coupons available for these, so I'll keep an eye out). If I don't see that price close to Christmas, I'll pass on purchasing these.

I'll spend $10 on dish soap for hand washing. I usually buy this at Walmart, but since I am planning to go to Target anyway this week to pick up a few small items for Christmas gifts, I will purchase this there. I want to keep my shopping trips (and standing-in-line-time) to a minimum.

Christmas Table Runner Detail The Prudent Homemaker


A few ideas to make your December a bit more peaceful:


Advent calendar activity ideas Simple things you can do this month to keep the spirit of Christmas.

Rethinking Christmas Stockings. A simpler, less expensive approach to filling stockings.

Seven Frugal Ways to Decorate for Christmas

A Gift a Day. My current and past year's simple, inexpensive gifts, often made from repurposed materials, that you can make in a day. I'll be sharing more gifts this month as I complete them.

My Food Gifts board on Pinterest

My Christmas Crafts for the Children board on Pinterest

Ten Ways to Add Joy to Your Life When You Don't Have a Penny to Spare. Don't let a super-tight financial month keep you from finding joy.

Gifts You Can Make Right Now in Five Minutes or Less

Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial


 Deciding to keep things as simple as possible is helping me to stay more peaceful this month.


What are you doing to keep things simpler this month?


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  • Luba @ Healthy with Luba December 05, 2017

    Brandy, being home is always more peaceful. I love your ideas. Since we sent Thanksgiving cards, there are no cards to send this month. In addition, we do not have holiday party plans.

    I shopped online for business and pwrsonal needs.

  • darlene douglas December 06, 2017

    I like the idea of thanksgiving cards.

  • Debby in Kansas December 06, 2017

    I have debated FOR YEARS about sending either Thanksgiving or Valentine's cards instead of Christmas. But, I've never done it!! We get cards from two families that send them out in mid-January with a recent pic of their Christmas. They both say their cards were always late anyway so they took the pressure off themselves & send them after all has calmed down. It makes perfect sense to me!! Maybe one of these years....

  • Luba @ Healthy with Luba December 06, 2017

    Debby, it's the fear of being unlike others, right? You risk being "odd," yet your card is not one of 10 or 15 or more coming at Christmas. Give it a try if you would like.

  • patsy December 07, 2017

    our cards always get out late so we call them Epiphany cards...after all, Christmas is 12 days long, right?

  • Lynn from NC Outer Banks December 08, 2017

    Patsy, that's what I frequently did-mailed them after Christmas to arrive before Epiphany. We would travel on Christmas Day en route to our parents, so I would address them on the long ride and then mail when we arrived. For awhile it bothered me that I just couldn't get them out before Christmas. Then one time my aunt remarked that she would always get a little blue once Christmas was over, after the children left and she'd taken down the tree. About that time she said, my card would arrive and was a great "pick me upper" for her. I never worried about them arriving after Christmas again!

  • Luba @ Healthy with Luba December 06, 2017

    Thank you, Darlene. It gets your card in before all the Christmas cards and helps it to stand out rather than get lost in the shuffle of Christmas cards.

  • Renee December 06, 2017

    I've always wanted to send Thanksgiving cards! But never have.

  • Luba @ Healthy with Luba December 06, 2017

    Renee, next year I have made a note to start the project sooner. ☺

  • Debby in Kansas December 07, 2017

    Luba, can you post about it here in say, early October? Since I make mine, I'd like to get a head start. I'd sure like to use the darling turkey stamp I just found at a garage sale!!!

    Also, it's not really the fear of being different for me. I just don't think about it until it's too late. I'd start this February, but I already made 40 Christmas cards! Thanksgiving is a good goal for me. I should also write it in my calendar....

  • Lilli December 05, 2017

    I also have decided that our Christmas will be simpler from now on. I have all the dinner fixings tucked away. All gifts are waiting to be wrapped. I will be purchasing a chain for a pendant with a gift card from swagbucks. I have tons of brand new decorations salvaged from a jobsite several years ago. They are all color coordinated and came from Costco. If course they will go on my 10 foot Christmas tree I bought at Goodwill last year for 10.00. We will attend mass, have dinner and exchange presents. I have found all the Christmas movies and will make special snacks. Other than buying for my three children, I have a gift for two of their friends. I have 8 new neighbor children in my very small cul de sac and have bought them large size Hershey bars. I will tie the bundles up with ribbon and a free Shutterfly Christmas card. I have decided to do some baking for a local center that feeds the homeless one night each week. I have several ingredients that I would like to use up and this is a great way to spread the joy. I also have decided to take goodies to several businesses in our extremely small town too. So many people have been so kind to me during my recoveries from 4 surgeries the last 13 months. While deep cleaning, I found several children's toys that had been out away in my gift closet so long ago. I took them and dropped them off at a Toys for Tot location. I have to make two trips into the big city this month. Any shopping with my very last month of SNAP will be done at this time. I have some ECB's from CVS that I may roll on any good deals but I do not plan on spending any money this month. I will have more swagbucks at the end of the month and plan on using them to buy after Christmas sales items for sugar cookie for her February birthday. College boy is filling the car up with gas ,so my plan should work well. I found college girl a three inch stocking for 50 cents that has her initial on it. I am sure we will all laugh at how adorable it is with her stick of fun in it. Happy holidays my friends.

  • Lilli December 05, 2017

    " stick of gum" , sorry , auto correct gets me every time.

  • momsav December 06, 2017

    Lili, A stick of gum can be a stick of fun! I think I like ‘stick of fun’ better! It made me smile, either way.

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood December 05, 2017

    Brandy, can I ask which spritz cookie recipe you use? I've been in search of a good, easy-to-express spritz cookie recipe for several years now. If I can find one that works out, I will make a tons of cookies and decorate them festively, as you did, to send in to my DH's work. I actually pulled out my cookie press two days ago to do that, and then put it away until I could find a good recipe. And your recipe must be fabulous, because your cookies look fabulous!

    As for my December plans, I only have two social get-togethers that I'm hosting, and I'll be do that the same weekend, so that a lot of what I bake/make for one event can be used for the next event (plus I traded for some of the ingredients using my local trading app). Plus, as much as possible, I'll be baking in advance and freezing the dough. My Christmas gifts for friends, I already have, and just need to wrap them (and I already have all the supplies), and my Christmas gifts for my work colleagues and the DH's work colleagues and the two families I plan to do cookie exchanges/gifts with/to will all be baked and wrapped. With the exception of gifts for my immediate family (and we always set a low price limit), I won't be paying for any other gifts this Christmas, except for the cost of pantry ingredients to bake them.

    I do some have shopping to do: mainly fresh fruit, some veggies, milk, and some baking supplies (raw almonds, blanched almonds, icing sugar, candied fruits, condensed milk) when I can find a sale or a coupon or hopefully both.

    It's going to be a fun and baking-filled month! (My favourite kind!) Hope everyone else is looking forward to this month as much as I am!

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker December 06, 2017

    I tried a new one from the Better Homes and Garden magazine yesterday (that I get with a free subscription). It used Greek yogurt in place of part of the butter, which made it less expensive than the all-butter recipes. I have pinned others from Pinterest that I want to try as well. The cookies taste about the same as the regular butter ones (they are all somewhat plain) so what you put on top or bottom makes a big difference. I want to try large sugar crystals, a lemon recipe (with lemon in the dough), a peppermint glaze over a chocolate dough, and some others. I linked to my Pinterest cookie board above towards the beginning of the post; hopefully you can find some you like!

  • Miriam in Estonia December 08, 2017

    A professional baking tip from my daughter: To get your lemon cookies tasting more lemony, take the sugar of that recipe you're going to use and mix in grated lemon rind the day before baking

  • Miriam in Estonia December 08, 2017

    Oh, the correct word is lemon zest, right? :-D

  • Silvia December 08, 2017

    Miriam thank you for the tips.

  • Allyson December 08, 2017

    Brandy, my grandmother makes spritz cookies every year and they are always my favorite. She decorates wreaths with bits of chopped maraschino cherries and green sugar. She dyes part of the dough green and makes green trees .She adds cocoa powder to another portion and makes chocolate camels. They always add variety to the cookie tray, and are relatively simple.

    Yours are beautiful and make me want to get out my vintage press this snowy weekend!

  • Maxine December 23, 2017

    My mother always made peanut butter spritz cookies.

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