Lemons on Cutting Board The Prudent Homemaker 

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As usual, this month I’m concentrating on filling holes in my pantry. We’ve continued to eat down the freezers, which has been fantastic, as I’ve found things that really need to be used up. This has given me the chance to clean out a couple of freezers before I start juicing lemons and adding lemon juice from our lemons to use throughout the year. My Meyer lemons can stay fresh on the tree from late November through April, but after that, it’s too warm here, so they really have to be picked. Anything that we haven’t already harvested will be picked and juiced this month. We’ll freeze the juice and some zest as well. I plan on drying some zest to make my own lemon pepper seasoning.

Swiss Chard in the Garden The Prudent Homemaker

The Swiss chard in the garden goes to seed this month, so we’ve been eating loads of Swiss chard every week for the past month and will continue to do so this month. When it bolts this month, it grows 6 feet tall (2 meters) in a week! I plan on harvesting it before it bolts and then pulling the plants, except for one or two which I’ll let bolt for collecting seeds to plant later.

Salad Produce The Prudent Homemaker

April is the best month for lettuce in my garden, so we’ll have lots of salads. In April we usually have salad either with or for (as the main course) lunch or dinner every day, served with homemade salad dressing. A simple and very inexpensive meal we often have in April is black beans (seasoned with onion powder, garlic powder, and lime juice), rice cooked with tomato bullion powder, and a salad. Bean burritos (made with pinto beans) are another favorite of ours in April. As the weather warms, homemade lemonade and salads with homemade bread are a meal we have often as well. Often, we’ll have a homemade soup as well.

We’ll harvest lots of snow peas and green onions this month. Most of them will be enjoyed in my Museum Pasta Salad.

Spinach, radishes, and leeks are ripe in the garden this month as well. 

I’ll cut and dry parsley to add to my pantry. My parsley is starting to bolt in the garden, so it needs to be harvested before it all goes to seed. This is an item I no longer purchase dried, as I grow enough in my garden to use fresh and dried throughout the year.


I’m not sure when I’ll be out and about shopping in May after our new baby is born, so for April, I am upping our budget from $200 to $400. May’s shopping plans will depend on our income.

Here’s how I plan to spend my $400 grocery budget for my family of 10 this month:


Sam’s Club:

Raisins (60 oz.) $9.98

Chocolate chips (72 oz.) $9.98

Brown sugar (7lbs) $4.38

Granulated sugar (50 lbs) $23.88

Rice (25 lbs) $9.48

Tomato Sauce (5 #10 cans) $2.98 a can

Diced tomatoes (5 #10 cans) $2.98 a can

Feta cheese  (24 oz.) $7.38

Mozzarella cheese (5 lbs) $10.48

Ketchup (114 oz.) $3.83

POM toilet paper (4 boxes) $19.98 a box

Milk (4 gallons) $2.35 a gallon for whole milk







Great Northern Beans (25 lbs at $0.89 a pound)

Kidney Beans



Sour Cream (unless I find a lower sale elsewhere)

Spreadable margarine (3 lb container for $2.28)



Equate hand dishwashing soap

Dental floss



I’ll look for sales on strawberries for $1.00 a pound or less; I’ll buy several to make jam and to freeze.

I’ll look for sales on chicken under $0.99 a pound to put in the freezer. In years past, I have found whole chickens for $0.79 a pound in April, which is a rock bottom price where I live.

The case-lot sale takes place over two weeks this month. I’ll look for case-lot sales on canned Mandarin oranges and canned green chiles. Chiles are not on the case-lot sale this time.

Update now that I have the ad:

Mandarin oranges case of 24 11-ounce cans $14.16 ($0.59 a can)

Tuna fish case of 48 5-ounce cans $28

Canned corn case of 12 $6 (2 cases)



Going through the grocery ads last month, I can see so many items that can quickly up one’s budget–even on sale. For example, strawberries were on sale, but they were $2.50 a pound. I know that in April strawberries are at their lowest price for the year in April as they are in season here at that time, so that’s when I stock up for the year. Many stores have a limit, so I’ll look for a store that doesn’t (usually Smith’s–our Kroger affiliate–has them for under $1 a pound without a limit, though some years the lowest sales price has been $1.25 a pound). My goal is to always look for the lowest price and stock up then. I know that some items are only at that price once or twice a year, which is when I aim to stock up, and why the prices you see me paying are as low as they are. Regular prices and regular sales prices are not that low all the time on many items that I buy. By waiting to purchase items until they are at their lowest prices for the year and stocking up, I save a lot of money.

I’m cooking several pots of beans in my solar oven and freezing any we won’t use right away. This gives me a head start to making several meals on other days, including after the baby is born.


What sales will you be looking for this month? Do you plan on harvesting anything from your garden?


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  1. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    The only 4 things we were looking for on sale this month were BBQ sauce, mouthwash, deodorant and whole chickens and fortunately all came on sale very early in April and we stocked up on those to a 8 – 12 month level again at 25% – mostly 50% off sales.

    In the gardens we are planning to pick silver beet and blanch and freeze some for future vegetable stocks and also carrots if they are large enough along with beetroot for juices and meals. Other than that the heat somewhat decimated the vegetable gardens here and we had to replant most things recently. We will pick lots of lavender, basil and rosemary from the gardens to dry with some for household use and some to sell on the internet that are excess to our needs. Shortly we are planning to plant broad beans, garlic, peas and snow peas along with more carrots and we just planted onions, capsicums, turnips, and green bush beans and our pumpkins are now blooming on their second try for the season being nicely pollinated by the bees from the hives in our back paddock.

    Like yourself Brandy we are looking for the lowest prices on groceries before we stock up again and with a bulk purchase at 16.66% off everything earlier in the year giving us more food storage so now we only have to shop once every 2 months and buy things by the carton. I am saving my pantry budget to stock our food levels up further towards our 12 month stockpile until October or November when I can again get a special of 16.66% off everything I purchase using an e-voucher I can get online from our local supermarket.

    Here is what we plan to buy this month (we use our roadside assistance grocery gift card to get 5% off) all the items below which never come on special here unless they are clearance items. –
    – Flour.
    – Raw sugar 9kg.
    – Cocoa powder 1 carton (10)
    – Powdered milk 1kg 1 carton (8) could be 2 cartons.
    – Butter 1 carton (12).
    – Cheese 3kg.
    – Sour cream.
    – Whipping cream.
    – Eggs 6 dozen.
    – Tinned pears lge 820g 1 carton (6 tins)
    – Tinned mangoes 1 carton (12) again if we use a few more before the middle of the month ?.
    – Champignons 1 carton (12 tins)
    – Diced tomatoes 1 carton (12 tins) if we use a few more tins between now and the middle of the month ?.
    – Wet cat food 1 carton (12 tins)
    – Dry cat food 3 boxes.
    – Peanut butter x 1.
    – 1 body wash.
    – 1 Ammonia.
    – 3 dishwashing liquid.
    – Any fresh in season fruit such as bananas, grapes.

    Hope everyone finds some bargains to stock up on this month 🙂 .

  2. I need to clean out more from my freezers! I agree with you that it’s great feeling to find those “need-to-be-used” items and use them. I was able to pull out a large ham for Easter that was purchased very inexpensively earlier. I made broccoli soup for part of Easter dinner using some smoked turkey broth, broccoli and frozen veggie mix from the freezer. I bought a small piece of gouda cheese to add to the soup to give it a special flavor for the holiday. So, while that did empty a bit of space, my freezers are still pretty full so I will keep working on them. I also cooked a turkey out of there a couple of weeks ago. While I was digging for it, I found a large bag of boneless-skinless chicken thighs buried in the bottom. They were slightly freezer burned, so I trimmed them, and we ate the whole bag during the week. Today, I pulled out spaghetti sauce I had previous frozen and we had it for dinner. I plan to go out there and grab something each day and try to use it up.

    I also plan to continue to use home-canned items. This week, I’ve used sweet pickles, dill pickles, bread and butter pickles, green beans and jam. I plan to pull more items off those shelves, because that keeps the grocery bill lower.

    I have just planted a few early spring plants in my garden, so they will not be ready in April. I’ve planted potatoes, beets, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, snow peas, lettuce and spinach. I have some peas poking up that I planted a couple of weeks ago. There is still some kale and Swiss chard growing out there. The green onions that self-seeded last fall are almost all tiny, but there are a few that are a little larger and can be used. The others should take off now that it is warming up. There are several bigger ones that will bloom soon, and so should self-sow again. In the greenhouse my husband recently build for me, there is a pot of lettuce that I can start picking soon. I will just pick off the outer leaves and let the hearts continue growing.

    My month goes from mid-March to mid-April because that is the paycheck we take the grocery budget from. I spent quite a bit of money during the last 2 weeks of March. I bought produce, dairy and staples, along with the food for Easter. During this time of year, I buy more produce than almost any other time of year because the garden is in-between crops. Most of the fall things have been consumed, and the spring ones are not ready. I also bought quit a few specialty items like egg replacer, gluten-free cake mix, gluten-free flour mixes, and so forth at the health food store. I am not able to eat gluten/wheat, so that’s normal for me, but the fact that gluten-free, dairy=free, egg free people were coming to Easter made the cooking more challenging. My mom pitched in financially, which was very helpful.

    I wanted to be well-stocked because I’m leaving on Saturday, with one daughter, my sister, aunt and 2 nieces for a trip to Washington D.C. I have left several frozen items for the remaining family members to eat while I am gone, and my husband is a very good, but too busy, cook so he will BBQ or cook especially on the weekends. I’ve set him up so all he has to do is buy a few odds and ends if he runs out of something, but for the most part, he’s covered.

    We will eat out part of the time on our trip, and cook in the rented condo the rest of the time. That will save us a ton of money while we are there. There is “trip money” that has been set aside for that purpose. We are taking some of the specialty items in a suitcase so we don’t have to buy them there. These are things like gluten-free spaghetti noodles, gluten-free bars for our purses, and I guess my sister even plans to bring 2 lbs of Tillamook cheese. We are using public transportation the entire time we are there, so we don’t want too much in the suitcases, but any little bit will help keep the cost down, and keep us from getting sick.

    By the time I get back, it will be mid-month again, and time for a new plan. I should be needing to fill in empty spaces by then, but what I buy depends on what they choose to eat. I’m sure I’ll need produce and dairy unless my husband makes it to the store at some point. (or goes on a veggie strike)

    The amount I will have to spend next time will depend on the size of the paycheck and the bills that come in. Unfortunately, this check will be quite a bit smaller than some times. That’s another reason I stocked up on some things. I could afford it this month and that will not be the case this next time.

    I love hearing what you are eating from the staples and garden produce. It is always inspiring to hear how you, and others, stretch your money so far.

  3. Your swiss chard is beautiful! Do you use the stalks in other/special ways? I’m planning on growing some this year. I was wondering about the strawberries too. Is it too hot for you to grow them where you live?

  4. The freezer is very well stocked with meat and I have what I need for baking.

    I will be looking for good prices on produce. There are excellent fresh prices on for many vegetables grown in Mexico and fresh fruit will depend on what is available at the best price. I still have lots of spaghetti squash, pumpkin and a little frozen fruit on hand.

    I need cat food and cat litter. I need to figure out a dish to take for a potluck supper. I’ll be using a $25 gift card to pay for these things.

    Later in the month I may buy a large bag of flour. I will also look for good prices on dishwashing liquid and household cleanser.

    Altogether, very little will be spent on food, since the house is well-stocked.

  5. With my frozen meals all done, the only thing I need to purchase very soon is toilet paper. My cleaning products are stocked through until June.

  6. I cut lemons in halfs and in quarters then freeze in bags to use throughout the year and have had good luck. They aren’t just like fresh, but they are great to bake alongside fish or chicken then squeeze over top after baking. I have also let them thaw and use in lemon meringue pies.

  7. I always find these posts so interesting, especially when you share what types of meals you make according to what you have available for the month. Thank you for sharing so many meal ideas with us.

    I have a list of items that I want/need to buy, but I often add to the list as the month progresses. As we use something up or I realize we are low, I add it to the list, so I don’t forget to look for it on sale. Here is my list so far:

    -sweet potato fries (has been on list for months as I am waiting for a sale)
    -meatballs (been waiting months for a sale, but I will most likely just buy them soon before they disappear since Costco considers them a “seasonal” item)
    -parchment paper (still waiting for a sale)
    -shampoo/conditioner (waiting for a sale to stock up)
    -canned tuna (waiting for a sale, but will buy a couple cans at regular grocery store if we run out before I find a sale)
    -peanut butter (we have lots of chunky peanut butter, but need to restock the smooth if on sale)
    -paper towels (yes, we use these…I prefer to pick my battles with the family)
    -toilet paper
    -Naan Bread
    -tortilla wraps (hoping for a sale to restock freezer again)
    -cat litter
    -cheese slices (hoping for sale, but will buy 1 package if need be)
    -hamburger patties (watching for sales as spring approaches)
    -hotdogs (watching for sales as spring approaches)

    [b]Regular Grocery Store (No Frills/Fresco):[/b]
    -nacho chips (I buy the “club pack” bag, which stretches for several weeks)
    -breakfast sausages (waiting for a good sale to stock up…we will due without until then)
    -tomato paste

    As usual, I continue to shop sales to stock up our pantry. Since I start back to work at the end of this month, I hope to put together more freezer meals for my mom to pull as easy dinners over the next few months. She’s not as creative with cooking and the rest of the family like variety. Maybe this will lesson the complaining…maybe.:p

  8. I am still working on the last of my frozen mulberries (fresh ones from the tree will be ready in May) and I still have lots of frozen figs to eat. I have so much of these two fruits, that I seldom buy other fruit, except for a very occasional bunch of bananas, a watermelon in the summer, and maybe one basket of peaches in the summer. I do keep a couple of cans of peaches just in case, but really, I try to use figs or mulberries for everything that requires fruit…lol. I am considering getting a dehydrator, if I can find one at a good price. I have been replacing things as I have run out. I ran out of flour, but I seldom use it, and it almost went bad before I used it. I eat mostly rice, noodles, potatoes, or cornbread for my starches, so I decided to just buy a small bag of flour from Walmart. I did the same with cornstarch. I ran out of canned green peas, and bought two cans for a $1 at Dollar General. I need to buy some imitation vanilla. I have reduced my food storage variety, because I have so many rice and beans, especially beans, I need to eat up, that I am concentrating on that. I bought garlic powder for 88 cents from Walmart. I have enough fresh turnip greens to last me two weeks, maybe longer, depending on how much I eat of them. Dandelion greens are out, and I mix them with the turnip greens, when I have both. I am running low on potatoes, and will probably buy more in a week or two, when I get a little bit lower. It is getting warmer and more humid, so I manage my potatoes carefully, so that they do not ruin. I buy far less in the summertime. I am also concentrating on paying off my mortgage, so I am doing a cheaper, less variety in food storage, and throwing the little bit extra at my mortgage. I have some cabbage that I need to eat this week, so I will be making more coleslaw, which I love. I tend to keep coleslaw and potato salad in my fridge, and eat on it all week long, because it is so easy to just pull it out after working all day, and eat it without turning on the stove. It is also cheap, especially if paired with beans, greens, carrots, and rice. This is the time of year, where I cook less, except for the greens. So, I guess I will buy the imitation vanilla, margarine for $1 (butter is so expensive here), eggs, and maybe a can of evaporated milk for a $1. I will also buy a jar of mayo, and maybe a little aluminum foil.

  9. Yesterday I pulled a head of lettuce that had volunteered in the greenhouse and ate it for lunch — that will probably be all I harvest this month, since I am just starting to plant things in the greenhouse and it will be another few weeks before I can plant more cold-hardy things outside.
    We’re going to make our quarterly Costco run this month, as we will be in the city where there is a Costco — I’m stocking up on peanut butter, tuna, and coffee and chicken. I’m pretty well set for everything else and have been eating from the freezer and pantry, making space for summer harvests.

  10. This month, I’ve already done most of our grocery shopping, using a 5% discount as well as a $5 off $50 coupon given to me by my aunt.
    Here is what I purchased:
    * Flour (to make homemade bread)
    * Pinto beans
    * Tomatoes (on sale)
    * Spinach
    * Chicken (mainly leg quarters)
    * Grape fruit
    * Onions
    * Garlic (it’s still flu season here, hence the onions and garlic)
    * Frozen blueberries
    * Carrots
    * Bananas

  11. We are waiting for the snow to melt and for spring to finally find us. Then we will plant snap peas followed by lettuce. Then slowly add everything else to the garden. We still have onions, carrots and potatoes from last years harvest.
    We will be enjoying ham for awhile as we stocked up at Easter prices.
    We need to continue eating from the freezer to make some room. Lots of venison is taking up space.
    I am traveling this week so I bought some convenience foods for the trip. I hated to pay the price but since I am gluten free I need to know the food I am eating is safe. I will save money by not eating in restaurants on the way because I will pack all of my meals.
    I heard of someone who was traveling right past where my sister lives in another state. I asked them if I could ride along and be dropped off to visit her. I am so thankful for this free trip.
    Thanks for your continued inspiration. You are a blessing.

  12. The floss made me smile. A relative rinses and reuses her floss. I don’t know why this seems strange to me, since I rinse and reuse my toothbrush twice a day!

  13. I have planned to spend $60 this month. I will probably go to the grocery store twice. I will mostly only buy dairy products and fresh fruits/vegetables. I have two freezers that are packed full, a huge pantry cupboard, hundreds of jars of home-canned foods, plenty of eggs, and every kind of spice/herb imaginable. I really need to use up some of the food I have on-hand. I tend to see things on sale and not wanting to pass up a good deal I buy them! This month I am focusing on using what I have.

  14. I expect to have a half pig coming to me this month, so I have been trying not to fill my freezer.
    I shopped five times in March, as I shop on Fridays, so I hope I can do less shopping this month — I blew my budget last month. I have quite a bit in my pantry, but cooking right now is difficult, because I’m on a food challenge diet; everything has to be tested one at a time, with a few days in between each test. I can’t use much of what’s in my pantry yet until it’s tested, and some things I may never be able to eat again. It’s frustrating, but unfortunately, it’s necessary as well.

  15. Both here and 209 have rhubarb coming up but I doubt if it will be ready this month like it usually is due to snow (4 inches yesterday) and down pours (today) we are getting constantly the last week or so. Really don’t plan to get anything out of the gardens this year since we are planning on moving to 209 in June. Milk and fresh produce to fill in what I pull from the pantry and some of that is iffy . I am starting to do bulk cooking to make getting meals on table easier as we end up having to run over to 209 or go get something for 209 for the contractors at the last minute.

  16. I’m doing the same thing looking for strawberries at a good price. I want to buy as many as possible to freeze for smoothies and make some jam. I’m always on the lookout for cheaper meat prices to re stock my freezer. I need to go inventory again and see what I have.

    I’m checking out the Kroger case lot sale this week. I don’t need much. I like being able to slowly buy what I need to fill in holes.

    I discovered I have about 8 jars of canned applesauce that were done fall of 2015. Do you think these are ok to use? Or toss?


  17. Rhonda, do you actually live in Westmoreland County? I was raised in Derry. I moved away decades ago and haven’t seen the Tribune in years, but I recognized the URL name!

    Our Aldi’s and Wegman’s (the two stores where I shop the most) have both been stocking strawberries from Wish Farms in the past few months. Aldi’s are less expensive than Wegman’s, but usually the Wegman’s strawberries are of better quality (bigger, redder), although not always. I have not noticed any shortages, but based on their website, a lot of their product is from Florida. Wegman’s also has Driscoll’s but most of those are organic.

  18. Our strawberries come from California. Driscoll’s brand are never the ones on sale; those are much more expensive. I haven’t seen them for sale yet in the ads, but hopefully, they do well. If the price is too high, I will adjust my plans.

  19. This is the time I usually start emptying the freezers. (Breads/fruits/baking supplies and everything else) With my husband just getting back to work, since Christmas, i’ve been stocking up with my tiny, extra income from watching kids for a few weeks. Our small store has chicken thighs on sale for 99 cents so i’ll pick up several pounds of that. I had to drive to WallyWorld last night and walked around checking their prices. They had marked down chicken for 1.66 lb.! (Breasts) Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who walked away because they had a LOT of it! Eggs were 2.99 doz. A friend stopped into Aldi’s and noticed that their eggs had gone from 48cents doz. to 1.19. I’ve started lists on how much we might go through in a year and the stores where I buy it. If anything comes up on sale, from the list, i’ll go ahead and try to get a years worth. Otherwise, it’s mostly fresh fruits and milk for us. No gardening, either. We had a small blizzard several days ago. (8 inches) This is typical for April, although we (the whole town of 2200) were all hoping beyond hope that we were done for the year.

  20. Dentists highly recommend NOT doing what your relative does as the dental plaque buries itself in the floss in ways it doesn’t on a toothbrush. This allows it to be moved around the mouth and actually promotes infection/disease. Dental floss is not made to be reused the way a toothbrush is. Recently this has been in many medical/dental publications since it’s really become a thing, I guess.

    Something to pass along to your relative and anyone else who needs it,

  21. Hello Brandy,
    I’ve admired your industrious management of your large family for years now and have gained a lot of inspiration. This is kinda off topic, but if you could do a short series on how you manage such a large family as successfully as you have and more specifically how you stay organized? As my family has grown I feel like I’m floundering quite a bit and disorganized. I would appreciate any tips!

  22. We got to Kroger yesterday and “saved” 33% compared to regular prices. We bought a whole chicken for 49 cents a pound and one container of sour cream for 79 cents. But eggs were far more expensive than what others have paid lately. This week’s grocery store ads have a few prices low enough to make another shopping trip in a few days to stock up.

  23. Lea, I had not thought about reusing dental floss but would have considered it a good idea. Thanks for the warning.
    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry

  24. Finally, finally, finally, I am beginning to see signs of my pantry emptying out. I have actually had to start a grocery list! My freezer is half full or is it half empty? It seems strange to reach for something and not find it. This week it was apple cider vinegar that was gone. I have always kept a year’s supply of every single item in my house because I have ample storage space. The money we have saved by buying everything at the cheapest price possible has been unbelievable.
    So my shopping list is:
    Apple Cider Vinger (one bottle to get me through until it goes on sale)
    Vanilla (one bottle left in the cabinet)
    Of course, I need fresh fruit, milk, eggs, and cheese but the pantry purge continues.

    [b]QUESTION FOR EVERYONE:[/b] Does anyone have a recipe for instant chocolate milk drink powder, like Nestle’s Quick? I have sugar and cocoa, but the cocoa does not blend in cold milk. We don’t buy Nestle’s quick because it is so expensive but my husband mentioned he would like some. Any suggestions?

    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry

  25. I already have silicone baking mats, and can certainly use them. But they don’t fit well in square bake pans which I’ve had to do for some squares I’ve made. We use parchment when we cook bacon in the oven, as it makes clean up a lot easier. Also, I sometimes use parchment paper to separate things in the freezer. Honestly, we don’t use a lot. The roll that is currently being used will last a while, so I’m in no hurry to buy it. I can easily wait for a sale…but I keep it on my list to remind me to watch for the sale.

  26. Danielle,

    You can see my schedule in the links at the bottom of the site (in the black section).

    My children all have responsibilities to help; I have posted a few different chore posts in the past that you can also read. I’ve changed chores out several times since then but those will give you an idea. I can’t do it all and I also believe that children need to learn how to work, to help in the family, and to maintain a home so that they can take care of their own home as adults.

    Not having too much stuff also makes a huge difference. If your children each have three weeks worth of clothing in closets and drawers everything can become too messy with laundry as well as bedrooms; I try to only have a week to ten days’ worth of clothing in closets and drawers. This gets tricky in fall and spring when you need clothing for more temperatures, but in summer and winter it is easier to narrow it down. Likewise, having more toys than they use is another simple source of frustration. Limit things to what they really use and don’t feel like you have to buy toys for every birthday and holiday.

    Reorganizing drawers and closets recently really helped. We didn’t do every closet; just the linen closet, the game closet, and my closet, and the drawers and cabinets in the kitchen, but it made a huge difference in how organized I felt about things. Getting rid of things that were not being used helped a lot.

  27. I am having to re-adjust my cooking routine quite a bit. As my husband gets older (64), he has no desire to cook anything. He used to fix dinner a couple times a week which was a huge help to me as I also work outside the home. Lately, I have been ill with severe spring time allergies and was hoping he would fix dinner as I didn’t have the energy after working all day but all he was willing to do was to bring home take-out food. I realize now, I will have to have dinners ready to go in the freezers for these times. We all have to adjust as life goes along.
    I am in need of parchment paper and I purchase mine at Costco because I can get a huge roll that will last me a year. I don’t belong to Costco but I will ask a family member to pick it up for me when they go.
    I will be focusing on meat, produce and cheese this month.
    I have been able to grow and dry enough parsley and garlic from my garden for us and our two children and their families. This year I am trying hard to grow enough basil as well.

  28. I am grateful to have a fully stocked pantry. My refrigerator and freezer as well as the chest freezer are packed. I actually need to put together another shelving unit to control all my over flowing goods. Not a bad problem to have. I am moving 100.00 of this month’s cash to cover pet expenses as there is not much I could stock up on in the way of food. I will save 50.00 for any good deals and loss leaders I find. I plan on buying more eggs but they were 3.00 a dozen at Wal-Mart today. I don’t understand how eggs could go so high so quickly. The only other thing I really want to stick back up on is toilet paper. Later in the month we will use sugar cookies SNAP to buy, rice, beans and oats. I plan on using Swagbucks to order a gift card to purchase Mylar bags for long term storage. I am focused on putting things away for really long term storage.

  29. Hi Jeannie
    Cocoa will blend with cold milk if you only add a tiny drop to the powder and make a paste before gradually thinning that paste. It doesn’t ever seem to taste the same as the milkshake mixes though!

  30. I live in SoCal and my local Ralph’s had a sale of 5 containers of strawberries for $4! Such a steal! Sadly, they were all sold out by the time I got there but I’ll be keeping an eye out for more sales as strawberry season arrives.

  31. I bumped our grocery budget from $60 to $80 this month.
    I am thankful for discount groceries since I can buy the basics like dried beans, pasta, vegetables and apples.
    I did need to restock my sugar, table salt (for baking and popcorn), and flour this month. I spent every dime and was not able to get potatoes or another dozen eggs. I have 8 eggs and 8 hard boiled eggs to get through the month with. So today when I made your Rosemary Olive Oil bread (to have with dinner and to make the most awesome toasted cheese sandwiches) I skipped the egg wash. I did miss that “crust” it makes. Bread is still delicious!
    A friend gave me very garlic sets to plant once the snow disappears, I can’t wait to get the salad greens and beans started.

  32. I have 40 lbs of bacon coming in May. I paid for it last month when our return came. A little treat to look forward to 😀

  33. I have multiple things started in the greenhouse… Carrots, broccoli, lettuce, spinach and kale. It will like ly be May before any of it is ready.

    This month I am trying to make everything stretch. I hopefully won’t go back shopping for another 3 weeks. I’ve been making soup from the pantry. When I do cook meat, I set a little aside to put in a soup.

    I’ve been baking more too. It’s nice when you can just go to the pantry and everything you need is there. Considering I bake gluten free, that’s not always easy. We’ve been making more of a point to stock up though.

  34. Fry’s here in Arizona had their store brand one pound butter on sale for a 1.99 and you needed to buy 6, so I bought 12 to put in the freezer. Safeway had the challenge one pound butter for sale for the same price but you could only buy 2. So currently I have 14 that I bought at the beginning of the month and I only had 2 in there to begin with. Slow but sure stocking back up on things like this. I really need to stock up on some frozen and canned vegetables. I am anxious to see what tomorrows ads will bring. Strawberries down here have been running .88 a lb, we have been making smoothies with them. Need to add TP and PT to my purchases this month. I normally don’t buy papertowels very often, they are only used if my cats get sick and of course this past week I had one that was. Teaching my newlywed Daughter how to inventory her pantry and freezer and make a 30 day menu out of it.

  35. Jeannie, I do the same as Anne. When I make hot chocolate, I use 1 tsp. cocoa, two tsp. sugar, and add a v. small splash of milk to mix it up into a paste. Then I add hot milk. Works perfectly! I imagine that the same would work for chocolate milk. That said, for myself, I prefer to make chocolate milk from homemade chocolate syrup. (www.approachingfood.com/a-ton-o-hot-fudge-sauce/) I got this recipe from my mum — not sure where she got it from. But 1 tbsp. of this hot fudge sauce to 2 cups of milk makes perfect chocolate milk!

  36. Thank you, I’ll take a peek around your blog and look at the schedule and chores. I think limiting clothing is a great idea, as hand me downs from older siblings have taken over.

  37. Rhonda, if you have a George Foreman grill, have you ever cooked your bacon in it? No grease popping everywhere and it ends up wonderfully crispy in just a few minutes.

  38. For the first two weeks of April I plan to buy as little as possible – just some milk and a very small amount of fresh fruit & veg. I’m trying to use up all items from the freezer (the bit of meat that is left needs to be used up before freezer burn sets in). This will clear the large bin that I use to store meat in my small freezer.
    I have a bit of money coming due in mid-April so I plan to restock with that. A small amount of beef & pork, along with chicken, turkey pieces and duck (for a change) as well as more fish – cod & salmon is what I’ll be looking for.
    I also need canned fruit, beans (all different kinds) and canned salmon & tuna ( want to add about 10 cans of each). I’ll also be looking for sales on peanut butter, jam, honey, maple syrup and tea. I didn’t think I’d need much non-food items for the next 6 months but I will now have to look for some shampoo. I have a few bottles in stock but seem to have developed an allergy to a particular kind (I have a lot of allergies) so I need to give away that particular type and restock. I will also keep my eyes open for sales on TP, kleenex, paper towels (use about 1 roll per month) and parchment paper but not desperate for any of these items.
    I’m watching the calories so don’t think I’ll restock on baking goods until the Fall. It will be a busy shopping month and I will be watching the sale flyers closely!

  39. This month I’ll have to be more careful as I have to wait a whole month between paydays whereas usually I get paid twice a month. It will work itself out, but means a tighter more planned budget for a couple of weeks. My husband started a new job and now works swing shift, so I’ve changed my meal plans to include a harder protein packed breakfast instead of dinner. This is great because I can teach my teens to take on more dinner time meals and stretch the more expensive meat.
    My plans are:
    -Meal plan from my pantry and freezer to stretch this month. Last month I found ground beef for 2.50 a lb (cheap for my area) and I also found chicken for under a dollar a lb. I froze them and they will be handy this month.
    -Take my fill in grocery list(items not in pantry) to grocery outlet and see what amazing deals I find before heading down the hill to Winco.
    -Last Friday I found butter for 1.99lb, bought 8 and froze it.
    -i will look for markdowns on ham
    -Make my own bread and muffins and freeze them.
    -try making my own laundry detergent again. My newer washer and drier didn’t care for the previous formula, so I’m going to try watering it down more.
    -My eldest son needs new jeans(hello teenage unexpected growth spurt)so I’ll checkout goodwill before heading to Marshalls for just a couple high quality pants that last longer than Walmart/Target jeans and are usually cheaper
    -Gather alllllllll the random toiletries floating around my linen closet, bathroom, and kids bathroom and use what I have on hand first, even if it’s not my favorite.
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  40. I was given silicone mats this Christmas for the first time. I am finding that I LOVE them. I just keep using them over and over and over….. I never knew what I was missing until my sister got them for me. My husband gave me cookies sheets, on request, and amazingly, the mats fit in them perfectly.

  41. I have never heard of doing that before but will give it a try. I will try it first so I can show hubby. He can’t cook and seems to become befuddled in the kitchen.

  42. Dear Brandy, I pray that your last pregnancy weeks, delivery and time with your newest baby would be as smooth and easy on you as possible. I pray your family would support you and learn from this situation what they should so the difficulties which may occur would not be wasted. I pray for your good health. You have created a little universe for your family and you keep it together. You need your health for that. May you be blessed for your courage! I wish I lived closer to help somehow. We had a sister missionary from Vegas a couple years ago here in our country in Europe!
    Good luck with stocking and cooking!

  43. One more thing… me as a rather bad cook miss a post for cooks like me with little imagination: like that:
    parsley – I use for …. (names of dishes); …
    (I mean the thing you buy and the recipes it can be used in!)

  44. My experience is just the opposite. I tried using them but found that food still stuck. It’s impossible to wash the big ones and they always feel sticky!

  45. No George Foreman grill at our house, I’m afraid. My hubby is a restaurant cook, and he is the one who taught me to cook the bacon in the oven. I don’t have to deal with grease burns that way either.

    We don’t eat excessive amounts of bacon. My mom likes to make it for breakfast when my brother is visiting. I sometimes make recipes that call for bacon. Love the taste, but it’s not the healthiest of foods. So, I avoid cooking too much with it. We might prepare a meal with bacon maybe once, and on the rare occasion, twice in a month. As for price, I only buy it when it is on a good sale price ($2 or less per package), and freeze it, as it does add some tasty variety to our menu.

  46. I’ve only bought one roll of parchment paper in my life and still have most of it, so I’m always surprised by how many people here use it. Just wanted to mention that I’ve seen it at Dollar Tree.

    I’m very careful about buying food at DT. The big cans of Hanover baked beans are the exception. They are made in the USA and taste like Bush’s original recipe.

  47. I love an egg for breakfast, but not at the prices we have around here now. I do not understand why chicken if 49 cents a lb, and eggs are so high. I have started eating beans on toast, or potatoes for breakfast.

  48. I usally just spray my pans with cooking spray when cooking or baking. However, I have found the silicon bake mats are perfect for freezing produce. I blanch my veggies, dry them, then spread then out on bake sheets covered with the silicon bake mats. After the veggies are frozen, I use the bake mat to pick them up and use the mat like a funnel to pour the veggies into a freezer bag. I’ve tried using waxed paper or parchment, but I found the veggies would often freeze to the paper and caused frustration. The veggies don’t stick to the mats!

  49. My challenge this month will be shopping for 8 days in Hawaii. (There are worse challenges, right? But I had to stay married for 50 years to get there, LOL). There will be 5 of us and we will be eating breakfasts and lunches at the condo. I am taking tea bags and Splenda packets (DH is diabetic) in my luggage and trying to think of meals that will use up the foods that I have to buy. (Buying at Hawaii prices is one thing; throwing away food at the end of vacation is another).

    I have been living this winter in a very small house with limited space for food storage. We ate down the freezer and pantry and moved what was left here, where we only have the freezer at the top of the refrigerator. I brought cases of green beans and evaporated milk (for my tea) and half a case of pineapple. Those items are about half-gone, but I have been able to keep the freezer full and put 3 meals on the table every day by spending about $35 week, or up to $50 if I buy meat. We eat one dinner out a week, due to being 50 miles from home at dinnertime on Thursdays, but otherwise all meals are cooked and eaten at home for 2-3 people. The rule for buying meat is that it has to be cheap. Usually I will buy a big hunk of whatever is on sale and re-package it in meal-size portions. We eat meat at nearly every dinner–just not much of it–and have leftovers for lunch about half the time. I am satisfied with what we are eating and what we are spending, but I’m looking forward to having more space for food storage and a bigger freezer. We will be moving into our new house by the end of June.

    I am not LDS, but I’ve always kept a lot of food around. This stems from growing up in a household where my mother shopped every day. Also, we had a once-in-a-century snowfall when DH was in graduate school and all of the stores were closed…not that we had any way to get to one. Fortunately, I’d recently been grocery shopping. We didn’t starve, but we at some strange combinations of food, LOL. That summer, I had to opportunity to buy used canning jars and canned free pears and applesauce. One year, when I knew I was going to be unemployed on Oct. 1, I stayed up at night for two months and canned 200 jars of food, all of it from my own garden. I had a year’s worth of green beans, tomatoes, pears and applesauce, and froze a lot of corn. I’ve sold most of my canning jars, but I still make jam and can whatever I am given. I am planning on dwarf apple, pear and plum trees and a raised bed of strawberries at the new house. The rest of the garden will be in flowers…food for the soul.

  50. The main thing I will be looking for this month is over the counter “lotions and potions”–that’s what I call them. My husband plays with cars and I cook a lot so we use a lot of bandaids, antibiotic ointments, anti-itch creams, and the like. They are cheapest at Walmart, which means going in there for about the third time this year. I prefer not to shop much there–but it’s a small town with few stores, so they do get my money once in a while. Husband is allergic so even needs his own antibiotic as he is allergic to the triple antibiotic I always bought for general family use.

    In the area of food, I am still well stocked. I need some sponges and scrubbies for cleaning but could use rags, and probably should, except that my husband wears clothes for working on cars that would be rags in anyone else’s house. I was thinking about using some older kitchen towels by folding them over a couple times and stitching into pot holders. With an electric stove, potholders are often scorched when close to but not touching burners. I am the guilty party there, I will admit.

    In March, I ran into a couple unadvertised sales and bought a few more cans of corn at 50% off, and jarred spaghetti sauce as well. (Always made my own but now mix Prego with unsalted diced tomatoes to stretch the salt in the Prego over more liquid. Family likes Prego just as much as mine, so I usually just give in and buy it when it’s on sale/coupon deal.) Will sometimes make from scratch when tomatoes are cheap, but it’s not essential for me to save every penny these days. After your 75th birthday, sometimes energy expended outweighs money spent. I prefer to spend the energy on baking bread and desserts–the savings is higher and the quality better.

    This week’s sale is on meat, so I’ll see what is a good deal, although there is no hole in my freezer except for pork shoulder. I thought I took out cubed pork this morning to defrost but it turned out to be chunks of ham. Since we didn’t have ham for Easter, we will be having ham and scalloped potatoes for supper tonight. I will have to watch that I don’t run too short of milk until I shop tomorrow, but I think we’ll be ok. Was thinking as I sliced the potatoes a little earlier that the Mandolin I received for a year ago Christmas has worked out well. That is something I make frequently and I have learned to use the mandolin so that it goes quite quickly now. Another thing I should have bought 30 years ago! For dessert we can choose from leftover coffeecake or the oatmeal scotchies DD stopped over with yesterday. I don’t make them often so they tasted pretty good. She is a good baker.

  51. Jeannie, here is a copycat hershey syrup recipe I use. If you store it too long it will crystalize so only make 1 batch at a time.
    1 cup cocoa powder
    1 1⁄2 cups sugar
    1 dash salt
    1 1⁄2 cups water
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    stir together, keep stirring and boil till it thickens, about 5 minutes, keep stirring. When done store in refrigerator.

  52. Love reading your posts, they are always very inspiring. We have been going through a lot of lemons lately, I wish we had a tree. I’ve tried growing one before but we are in NW WA and I’ve never been successful.
    We absolutely love this recipe for lemon orzo chicken soup. https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/lemony-chicken-and-orzo-soup

    I noticed you had leeks which is what made me think of this recipe. Lemons and leeks are two of the more expensive parts to making it. We are vegetarians so we substitute white beans for the chicken and have subbed dried dill for fresh. Just an idea if you are looking for a new recipe.

  53. Hi Brandy – Hope you are feeling as well as can be during the “homestretch!” What are your best prices on silicone mats? I buy parchment at Sam’s and it lasts a long time but am willing to invest in the mats if they save money in the long run.

  54. This month we need food!!! I’ll be buying fresh produce (in season) and meat. I check the damaged goods at the food service company first and if they have a big bag of something, cheap, I get that. If not, we either do without if it really needed right away, will get it at Aldi or Sams. The meat will probably be coming from Sams. I may be buying a bag of frozen blueberries at Sams to use in oatmeal and yogurt. 3 lbs for $7.48. Aldi has a 12oz bag for $2.49, I cant see spending that much and I really dont want fruit from china at the dollar tree. I will also be stocking up on eggs at the neighborhood walmart. $1.30 for 3 dozen.

  55. Forty pounds of bacon is a fantastic treat! I could eat bacon every day, I think, if I had that much in the house.

  56. My budget is $400 for the month as well. My pantry is well stocked. If I find a good sale on toilet paper I will get more. I will be buying milk and soymilk, fresh fruit and veggies and what ever else I can get at rock bottom prices. I have been doing very well on meat markdowns the last 2 weeks. I just got 2 turkeys marked down to 49 cents a pound. I am hoping to get some hams on sale now that Easter is over. I am good for the month on eggs as I bought lots before Easter. I am trying to grow my pantry with all of the headlines in the news. I currently have 3-6 months of supplies. I will try to get closer to 6 months on everything. Whatever I do not spend this month I will carry over to May. My adding to my pantry post is here: https://mcoia.blogspot.com/2018/04/adding-to-my-pantry.html

  57. My grocery needs are pretty small this month. In fact this first week I don’t plan on shopping at all. We will make do with what we have. We will need potatoes, sweet potatoes, yogurt, coffee, and wheat flour. My 18 year old son wants white sandwich bread so I will have to get some baked. I’ve been baking half whole wheat and he doesn’t like it. He eats everything else I fix so I can make his bread.
    My sale purchases will be avacodos at $.39 each, broccoli at $.69lb and potatoes at $.88 for 5lbs.
    Other than fresh produce for salads our purchases will be to loss leaders.

  58. Can you provide more information about checking for ‘damaged goods at the food service company’? Is that something available to anyone or do you have to be an employee? I’m curious what a food service company is and would like to see if something similar is in my area or in nearby WA state. Thanks

  59. I have used wax paper for decades or freezer paper for separating things in freezers. Freezer paper holds up better especially when I vacuum pack most things

  60. Don’t know about the U.S. but I bought my silicone mats at a “dollar store” here in Canada for something like $3 or $4 each. My mom also bought me a set of 3 from Costco for Christmas one year. I think they were around $10 or $15 for the set. I’d try checking Amazon. They are not excessively expensive for something that is reusable.

  61. Danielle April 03, 2018
    Definitely limit clothes and hand me downs. …here is the why….My daughter2 has 4 boys, her ex mother in law buys clothes at yard sales, discounts stores for the boys plus daughter2 hands me downs amongst the boys. She was complaining of the boys not putting their clothes away. Boys complained of dresser drawers broke and not enough hangers. I spent a week babysitting her dogs while they were on vacation and decided to fix the dressers…
    The oldest had 100 shirts and over 50 pants, the next one down had 200 shirts and 100 pants, the next one had 300 shirts and 150 pants and the last one had 400 shirts and 200 pants.No wonder the drawers were broke and there wasn’t enough hangers. I immediately called the ex mother in law and she came in and lost it. The boys kept saying they needed clothes so she thought they were growing. Daughter2 is a clothes hog of her own so was not checking on the amount of clothes coming in. At this time I pointed out to ALL of them, if you are washing clothes daily, you don’t need more than 10 outfits for every day wear and maybe 4 for church or other. Ex mother in law had a yardsale and made tons of money LOL

  62. Cindy, you should try making bannock bread. It is very easy, tastes like a tea biscuit and has very minimal ingredients involved (all very cheap pantry items too). Also, you can cook it either in a fry pan or oven. Since you live in a very humid place, making it on top of the stove might be a better alternative to heating up the house with the oven. Here’s a recipe link: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/6919/bannock/. Just a note, you can divide the dough into smaller biscuit sized portions before cooking. That way, you will end up with several that you can eat over a few days.

  63. Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry
    Mother always made a paste of cocoa and sugar with a little hot water and then added the cold milk. Cousin said it is equal hot water to cocoa and sugar and the add enough cold milk to make 8 oz. She makes hers the night before and refrigerates it.

  64. Siiri April 04, 2018 That’s a good idea to say, example…I am buying celery I use it in potato salad, pasta salad, stirfrys and when making broths. Especially when it’s herbs and spices.

  65. I have been pleased with much of the food we have purchased at Dollar Tree. We have only had problems with one package of potato chips. I think a funky potato messed up the taste of the oil. The local Dollar Tree store refused to do a store credit. Indignant me complained to corporate and they responded with a $5 coupon. We are a very small family so smaller-sized packages work out well. I try to restrict the source of our food to places that can get here the products by truck (European pastries, fish, and things that only grow in tropical places excepted) so label-reading is essential. We haven’t opened the can of Hanover baked beans sitting in our pantry yet. I am so glad to know it tastes like Bush’s original recipe because those are the only canned baked beans my mom likes.

  66. Thank you Maxine – not sure we have DT here in Canada – the big shop like that is Dollarama. I too am very careful about buying food and even toiletries as I have a lot of serious allergies. I tend to stick to wrapping paper, crafty suff and things like that. I don’t think I’ve ever seen parchment paper there but will check it out next time I’m in there. I do need some foil containers for freezing so it should be in the same section if available.
    I didn’t start using parchment paper until a few years ago but now I wouldn’t be without it. It makes such a difference when baking cakes and while it can be pricey, has more than saved me money in protecting my cookie trays and baking pans.

  67. Thank you so much for the suggestion on how to reduce the sodium per serving of Prego spaghetti sauce. It is a very helpful hint for our household.
    Brandy, I look forward to seeing photographs of your newest baby soon. I hope your oldest daughter has new photographs of her sewing projects to share too.

  68. Brandy, when you are drying your lemons are you just drying the zest and not the whole lemon? My lemon tree is also full of lemons right now and I have been juicing some and freezing in two cup freezer bags.

  69. I am just drying the zest to use in recipes and for lemon pepper. You can dry slices if you want; I tried that once from a reader’s suggestion, but then we had pantry moths and they ate through the bags they were stored in and destroyed them, so I never did try using them.

  70. I purchased the Silpat brand- and absolutely loathed them for this reason. However, I gave the Amazon basics brand a try (MUCH more reasonable) and I use them everyday- literally. They are much better with nonstick properties, and I can toss them- sticky messes and all- right in the dishwasher. I highly recommend them!

  71. Its a food distributing company that delivers to restaruants, schools, hotels, and plenty other places…..when boxes get damaged they cant sell it so they sell the damaged items in their little company store. Just today I went and bought a “mystery deal” for $20….I got a box that was a 40lb box of ground beef seasoned taco meat. It turned out to be 7 5lb bags in the box, so it wass 35lbs. It turned out to be 57 cents a pound. The most northern one is in North Carolina. Perhaps you could google foodservice and then call and ask what they do with their damaged goods?

  72. I am buying new tires for the car and visiting my daughter for Mom’s weekend this month. That takes care of the spending.

  73. It seems many frugal families allot less on their monthly food budget — and thrive — than what SNAP benefits grant. If only all this frugal knowledge could be somehow imparted to those who could really use it!

  74. Well, you know what everybody said–“I give it 6 months!” (that was mainly because we had only known each other for 3-1/2 months). Guess we showed them!! Also, for our honeymoon, we pooled our resources and came up with $83. We used it as far as it would take us…definitely not Hawaii, LOL. Thanks for your good wishes!

  75. Well, the knowledge is out there, free for the taking, for those are ready and have a desire to learn. There are definitely those who join in the conversations here that are trying to learn these valuble skills and make a difference in their lives. The great part is when they share what they have accomplished, the rest of us can learn from them too! I, personally, enjoy reading about what others have done when living with so little income. It’s extremely inspirational. Unfortunately, there are some who are just not ready to receive the knowledge, have a strong enough desire to change or feel too overwhelmed to do what needs to be done. As the saying goes…you can lead horse to water, but you can’t make them drink. Nonetheless, the information is here when they are ready.

  76. Cindy, have you ever tried making your own Sourdough bread? My family enjoys several loaves a week. It is by far the easiest and best tasting (I think) bread around. It only uses flour, salt, water and Sourdough Starter (which you feed and keep in your refrigerator). I know that it sounds crazy but each loaf has turned out tasty Every Single Time! Some may not look beautiful 😉 but still taste just awesome. I have baked mine in a roundish loaf but the family likes it best when I just use loaf pans so that sandwich making and toasting is easier. I will have to try frying the dough to see if that works as well hmmm.

  77. I live in Western New York state, near Buffalo, and I cannot get prices anything like many of you can. Strawberries here are rarely under $3.99 a qt (which is close to a lb) and I haven’t seen any for $1 a pound in decades. I don’t even think you can pick your own that cheaply, although I have not picked my own for a few years. Our growing season hasn’t begun yet as it is still snowing, but 99 cents a lb is cheapest I have seen for broccoli in a supermarket, and it will be months before we have other options. I will check on strawberry prices by the flat when they are locally grown (first part of June) but even at farm stands, we pay. One of my friends knows all the little farm stands in her area and can sometimes get a deal, usually from some 95 year old farmer who still keeps his hand in–but isn’t up on current prices. I have been buying whole boneless pork loins for $1.67 a pound in recent months, but that is the best bargain around. One of our produce stores sells by the bushel and half bushel, but even then, the prices are not terribly low. I generally buy a half bushel of butternut squash in fall, and it’s $11 for the last couple years. Last year I didn’t need a half bushel because I had some leftover, so I bought a few at a sale price, which wasn’t bad but I can’t remember at this point what it was—less than $11 a half bushel would have been. I read the sale ads, I use coupons, I have a savers’s card for my favorite store, and I know where Aldi’s is. (temporarily closed for renovations at the moment.) A friend who always grew a large garden and let me glean when she finished canning has died, so that source is cut off now as well. I plant a few things but at 75 I don’t have the energy I once did. I cook from scratch, making my own granola, salad dressings, bread, baked goods, and freeze bits and pieces so as not to waste. I make my own broths and freeze as well, and make soups from scratch. I will keep looking, but the prices some of you find are just not available in this area. I suppose our more limited growing season, and the need for “imports” the rest of the time, probably contribute to that. I use imports to mean from far flung parts of the US as well as other countries. I am jealous of the bargains you can get! Although, I must say, I do stretch my dollar as far as possible. I have downsized meat portions quite a bit, and do my best to use all leftovers without discarding edible food. On that score, I believe I am doing quite well.

  78. Dear Rhonda, thank you so much for your comment. I Imagine our monthly income of 1000.00 puts us at below the poverty line. Due to massive injuries, I doubt I will ever return to work. Being frugal and actually practicing it can make a world of difference in the quality of ones life. Just when I think I cant find another dime to save, someone here teaches me a new trick. Sadly, I find people asking for help constantly. I have had to set boundaries because most of the time they want handouts and not the education to improve their circumstances. I often feel guilty and sad. My life changed drastically but we are so blessed. The children and I have everything we need and most of what we want. I am so grateful for the knowledge that Brandy and the posts contribute to our lives. Only having 60.00 a month in SNAP is a huge value to keeping my stockpile replenished. I can actually feed 4 adults in this budget.

  79. Marcia, your prices for pork roast and butternut squash are much lower than we would find here! And I never did end up finding broccoli at $0.99 a pound in January, so I never bought any; it was much higher. It just depends where you live. As you pointed out, there are things you can do to save money no matter where you live.

  80. Hello Marcia , I have a suggestion on your local farm prices. Here in the NW my sister worked a strawberry and raspberry stand for a local grower and at the end of the day they marked their flats down by 40_50% !! You may want to see if your farmers do that as well. They called them “jam berries” delicious still for many desserts and of course jam ! Wishing you Happy times

  81. Hi Maxine, Last winter, we accompanied my husband’s late 80’s grandparents and my brother-in-laws family, which includes 3 under 10 children, to the Big Island. We stayed in grandpa’s timeshare at no cost, so we were responsible for rental car, groceries and meals. By shopping at Costco (with my Brother-in-law’s membership) Walmart, and the local Farmer’s market we saved LOT’S on food. The cost is STILL much more than on the main land, but cooking at home is the way to go. You are so smart to pack the Splenda products, tea and powdered beverages that you are able to. Some snacks are a good idea too. Milk in HI was over $4.00 a gallon when we visited. If you happen to be on the Big Island, and staying near Kona check out the free Friday evening (from 6-7p.m.) Hula School performances off Allii Drive at the Keauhou Shopping Center. The show is open air. I enjoyed the children’s performances more than the luau that we paid for! They do a “love” offering at the end of the show (which runs over an hour).
    One more thing about food….More than once, we were so happy that we packed a picnic and drinks while we were exploring the island. Many sites like Volcano National Park and the Black Sand Beach are very rural, so there are not many food choices. Certainly not inexpensive ones. You will be happy if you buy a styrofoam cooler at Walmart to use in your travels. Have a WONDERFUL time in HI.

  82. Thank you Kim. I am writing all of these ideas down and will be trying them all at a taste testing next week.
    The Nestle’s syrup is just too expensive.

  83. Thank you Juls. I am thinking about buying one container of Nestle’s and dumping my own mixture in it and seeing if they notice. At first I was thinking of having a taste testing, but now I am wondering if they will be able to tell the difference. I can’t eat sugar so I am unable to experiment with the recipes.

  84. My husband is a Pastor and discovered that many who are low-income don’t have adequate cooking facilities (at least in our area). They perhaps have only a microwave, only a hot plate, only a toaster oven, not a full-size anything and most don’t have a full size refrigerator or access to a freezer. Or they’re living in a shelter, motel or their car, and have neither cooking facilities or refrigerator/freezer.

    The backpack food program through the schools here (sends food home with low/no-income families so the children can have something to eat over the weekend) does not allow sending food that needs to be cooked for that reason – and the cost of the backpack goes way up! They send food such as granola bars, tuna pouches, jerky, dried fruits/veg, crackers. All of those things are quite pricey.

    I’m not sure how true this is in other areas, but it may be more common than we think.
    Just a thought,

  85. Lilli,
    Your attitude is amazingly inspirational. Thank you for sharing your perspective with us. It is as valuable as a sale on meat, lol.
    Love and good wishes to you and yours as you stretch your resources. I’m so glad the snap benefit is a blessing to you.

  86. To add to the idea of the cooler, I have another suggestion. We bought 2 collapsible, zippered coolers while in the states once that are really handy. They were super cheap…the kind you can buy near the check-out to use to carry your frozen food home in so it doesn’t thaw. These bags fold down nicely for packing, are lightweight and easy to carry, even when full. We take several small freezer bags and sandwich bags with us when we travel, which don’t take up much room. The freezer bags are filled with ice and placed in the collapsible coolers to keep drinks and other food cold for the day (just dump the melted ice water and reuse). The sandwich bags are perfect for putting food/snacks in. Inexpensive plastic containers also work well, if you have room in your suitcase. If not, you could buy some at a dollar store when you get there, if you find you need them. Just a tip from a seasoned, budget conscious traveler!

  87. Oh I wish I could push a “like” button next to all your comments as I read them! (I’m too lazy to comment on each and every one *embarrassed blush*) Just know that as I read them, I’m in a constant, fluctuating state of happy (for posts of good news), excited (to learn a new tip), camaraderie and many other positive thoughts and emotions. Thank you all for taking the time to share your individual journeys! Miss Brandy, as always, thank you for this meeting up place of like minded hearts

  88. I use them this way as well! Makes it so much easier. My grandma uses a “copper” baking mat. It’s still flexible like that, but not sticky at all. I borrowed one from her to make cookies and it worked like a charm. I don’t know how they would do for freezing though.

  89. I picked up a small ham to restock the freezer for quiches and omelettes. Went to the Latin market while on vacation and picked up dried whole milk, jasmine rice, and bulk mint for tea. Otherwise, I”m still eating out of the freezer, and buying a few fresh produce items to supplement that.

  90. I wondered why there have been no strawberries in the stores! Aldi had them for $1.19/lb a few weeks ago and then they disappeared from every store. This week they were $3.99/lb at the regular grocery store.

  91. In addition to what Lea mentioned, lack of transportation or the ability to drive is a huge issue for many people receiving SNAP benefits and for elderly folks with limited incomes. If you have to carry everything home on the bus or in a backpack, it is extremely difficult to buy in bulk. Regular access to a working vehicle is a huge advantage, as is the strength to carry things.

  92. I made my first garden harvest last week. My chives have come up and a little dusting of snow didn’t prevent them from making a nice topping for pumpkin soup last week. Thank goodness for perennials. My main garden crops won’t go into the ground until mid-May.

    Your nasturtiums are so lovely! How do you use them? (Whole, just the petals?)

    Thank you for sharing your inspiration and beautiful photos with us.

  93. I always bake my bacon, Rhonda. No fuss, no muss. I, too, use the parchment paper as it makes it easier to remove from the sheet. I will never fry bacon on the stove top again.

  94. Hi Brandy,
    I really want to make the Museum Salad for my family, but my husband has a life-threatening allergy to peas and lentils. Knowing the flavors of the salad as you do, what would you recommend as a substitute vegetable? I was thinking perhaps asparagus or green beans? Thank you.

  95. Michelle, I think I would use spinach. It’s 6 cups of vegetables, and spinach would be fairly mild. Asparagus and green beans have a much stronger flavor and would need to be cooked, plus they would be prohibitively expensive in those quantities.

  96. just finding this now – learning how to be more organized in my grocery shopping and meal planning 🙂

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