Grocery Shopping

April’s Grocery Shopping Plans

Easter Rabbits

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

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

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

Snow Peas 2 The Prudent Homemaker

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

Mulberries The Prudent Homemaker

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

March Flowers 2 The Prudent Homemaker

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

 

 

LDS Cannery:

White beans

Black beans

 

Walmart:

Knorr Tomato Bullion

Knorr Chicken Bullion

 

Target:

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

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

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

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

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

 

Smith’s:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Vons:

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

 

Sam’s Club:

Cornstarch

Feta cheese

Mozarella cheese

Corn tortillas

Olive Oil

Mayonnaise

Toilet paper.  I buy the POM brand. 

Milk

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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54 Comments

  1. Brandy, I was quite interested in your comment about mulberries. They are not commonly grown in southern Ontario (or at least, not that I’m aware of), so I’ve never tried them. They look a lot like raspberries. Are they similar in taste? Also, can you use them to make a jam?

  2. Brandy, after tasting the mulberries from my in laws trees, we planted two trees a few years ago. This year, one of them is loaded with mulberries! I’m so excited! I make mulberry jam out of whatever the kids didn’t eat. But it was a pain pulling the fruit from the stems. The next year I just mashed the fruit and used the juice. I have placed the mulberries on a pizza pan, froze them, and put them in bags to be able to grab some for smoothies.

    I have yet to see a good ham price around here. 🙁 going shopping today and gonna check a few stores. The sales papers aren’t showing anything great.

    I was hoping to hear how you buy Easter outfits for your kids or do you? Just wondering the frugal route you would take in that area.

    Thanks for your frugal advice! Have a blessed Easter! What will you cook for Easter dinner? :p

  3. Rhonda,

    I thought they would taste like blackberries. I think other varieties must have more taste from my conversations with other people about them. The ones from my neighbor’s tree (and perhaps because it is a wild tree that just appeared in her yard) have almost no taste whatsoever. I made jam with them last year (and froze some, too) and because it had so little taste, my children rarely wanted it; I still have several jars left. This is why this year I have decided to mix them with other fruits in smoothies or use them in muffins.

    If I wanted to buy a mulberry tree here, there is only one type the nursery sells, and the berry is white when ripe. I have heard good things about this one and that is has a sweet taste. If I could figure out a place for one I think it would be neat to grow a white one!

  4. I don’t buy new outfits for Easter. We have regular Sunday clothes that we wear to church. I have, on occasion, made some new church dresses in time for Easter for the girls, but only a few times.

    If you’re looking for some frugal Easter clothes, I would look into buying used ones. I have seen some very nice suits for little boys, dress shirts and ties, and Easter dresses on the local Facebook garage sale pages.

    There are also sales, of course, this time of year. Last year Easter fell on my birthday. I bought myself something new the day before, on sale. I don’t normally buy new dresses, and it had been years since I had done that. I wore the dress I bought for my birthday to my brother’s wedding later that year, and I’ve worn it to church many times since.

    I have an ad here from J.C.Penny’s; womens’ dresses are 40-50% off, and children’s Easter outfits are 50% off (boys suits separates are 40% off), plus the ad includes a $10 off coupon and a 15% off as well that you can stack with the sales, so that would be a way to go as well, if you want something new. I know other stores are having big sales, too. To save yourself some time, you can search their clothes online first to see if there is anything you think you would like.

    I have not yet decided about Easter dinner. My parents invited us for lunch and they are making spaghetti! Dinner is still a decision I need to make. I am actually considering doing something different this year and roasting a chicken!

  5. How is your lettuce doing? It got so hot here so quickly that we had to finish up our lettuce from the garden before it bolted.

    Thanks for sharing the grocery list!

  6. My lettuce always bolts in April. I did a better job this year of planting over several weeks, so right now I don’t have any lettuce bolting yet, even though temperatures were in the low 90’s. They are supposed to cool down with a huge wind storm that is continuing for at least the next week, so that will be good for the lettuce.

  7. Brandy-my best friend has a white mulberry tree in her front yard and the berries are SO sweet!It’s like eating candy!Her tree is only about 6ft tall,but is LOADED with berries-not quite enough to make jam with unfortunately.They are much better tasting than the “regular” mulberries. 🙂

  8. I have followed your advice about making a garage sale master list. This has made a huge difference in how I shop sales. It saves so much and I’m not guessing sizes. Thank you!!

  9. Can you tell us where the community garage sale is? I also live in Las Vegas and seem to have been missing a bunch of them as of late. Thanks for all that you do!

  10. Thanks for your response! I will definitely check out jc penny for a suit for my seven yr old. I actually got my dress for around $24 at Ross–so excited to have bought a dress- been breastfeeding forever it seems! And I’m like you, I will wear it and wear it and wear it! Lol

    Ps. Our mulberries are super sweet and they are the red/purple ones! I so wish your neighbors mulberries were sweet! Yum! (Not sure the variety of mulberries we have)

  11. Tina, Aliante (north end of the valley) and Peccole Ranch (by Summerlin/The Lakes) always have their community sales the second weekend in April and October. I have been told that Waterfall (near Aliante, but much smaller) is having theirs on the 11th too this year (last year they were on the first weekend in April, and the tract next to Waterfall had one that day too).

    We have done both Aliante and Peccole Ranch on the same day before a few times. In general, we find the highest number of sales in Aliante, so we’ve decided to just stick to Aliante. Aliante has a senior community as well, so it’s rare to find children’s clothes in that section (though I have found a few there). Last year we found a tract that had a lot of children’s clothing sales. I [i]think[/i] I know which one it is; we are going to try to hit that one first this time and the senior community after that.

    The HOA says the sale goes from 7 to 3, but pretty much everyone packs up at 11 or 11:30 a.m.

  12. If you have a save mart grocery store their hams are .99 with NO limit. I will be buying about 3 or 4 hams. Vons also has them like you said but I would rather get all I need in one trip. Also smart and final is the only store in my area that is selling potatoes 10 lb for 99 cents. Everyone else is just too high for potatoes and hams. I haven’t checked Winco though, but right now I am unable to due to a back injury, so I will stick with having others help me get the hams instead of making hubby go there just to see. I won’t be saving much this week because of illness and doctor costs and I haven’t been able to (for the last month) to go out and get sales for baskets stuff, so hubby gets the job of buying a few things for our girls, luckily out littlest will love to find plastic eggs with stickers in them and our oldest will help her sister and she too will get a little basket. If I feel good Saturday (after an outpatient procedure) I will make homemade playdough, and chalk paint so the kids can play with that from their basket. The oldest will get some kind of candy and a gift card, the youngest will get a toddler snack (no candy), a new sippy cup and a book (from local thrift book store, I think I’ll send my mom there if she is in town). It will be a simple Easter at our house this year, but we are grateful for what we have and that’s family and love. 🙂 I hope everyone has a great Easter with their family.

  13. Dianna, those sound like [i]very nice[/i] Easter basket gifts!

    I was raised with just candy and hard boiled eggs for Easter. My parents never gave us gifts in our Easter basket, nor did we get new clothes. We have done the same for our children and they don’t expect more. If you end up skipping the gifts because you don’t feel well, don’t feel bad about it!

  14. Rhonda,

    I grew up in Southern Ontario right near Windsor, and we had the biggest mulberry tree in our backyard. It must have been 20 years old back then, and it produced the red/black coloured mulberries. They were always a treat for us kids, and I remember them to be really good. If you’re interested in getting a tree they do really well in our climate (unless it’s this oddly cold year….).

  15. I agree. I’ve done toys, books, and stickers in the past, but I’m just doing candy in their baskets this year. My kids rarely played with the Easter toys. I had candy and hard boiled eggs as a kid and was very happy.

  16. Generally we buy cleaning products in April, there are usually some great sales tied into Earth Day. I am biding my time.

  17. Albertsons in Henderson on College Drive has their brand Greek cream cheese and Neufchatel for .75 manager’s special. I know it is WAY far away from you.

  18. There’s some great sales in April. I plan to stock up on butter at $1.99/lb. Last Fall it got up to almost $4/lb! I also hope to buy eggs on sale and freeze them. Just whisk them and put in ice cube trays to freeze. But at the store I usually shop at, they said all their eggs were recalled so I’ll see if any other stores have sales. Mulberries have to be very ripe to have any flavor, I’ve found. To tell when they are ripe, the stem should easily pull away from the fruit. I made a mistake in picking them too soon the first year I preserved them and like you, Brandy, I found they were pretty tasteless.

  19. Thank Jane. I think they were pretty ripe; if we barely touched them they fell from the tree. I didn’t even know she had mulberries until I saw them falling in the street. I will certainly try your test to see if it makes a difference. They kept falling to the ground every day when we were picking; we picked a lot from the ground, too–and still not a lot of taste.

  20. Brandy, have you tried using the mulberries as an “extender” for a mixed berry jam? 1 part red raspberries, 1 part blackberries & 2 parts mulberries, for instance? If the mulberries have no flavor, the other flavors will predominate in the jam, & you will get more volume by including the mulberries. We use currant & gooseberry juice in this way, to extend strawberry jam, red raspberry jam, & mixed berry jam.

  21. Thanks Brandy! I also just found out there is another community (albeit a small one) on the third weekend in April just south of Buffalo and Craig.

  22. I actually thought about that last year. Strawberry is the favorite around here. Raspberries are MUCH too expensive here for jam and they don’t grow well in our hot climate; I ended up ripping mine out (a shame, since they are my favorite fruit). They were 1/3 the size of a raspberry; the heat made them tiny. In subsequent years they didn’t fruit at all. My blackberries do well but there aren’t enough for jam unless I used all of them to make one small batch. The ones in the shade are larger; the ones in the sun are tiny. I am experimenting with growing some grape vines above them to shade them in future years.

    Most berries like acidic soil and cooler climates, so they are tough here with out 8.2 ph soil and water. I grow what I can, but not enough to make jam. (I have never seen currants for sale here, and gooseberries only once at a party, but never at the store; they generally grow in zones 7 or cooler. I tried getting plants of each last year at the nursery but they didn’t fruit last year; perhaps they will this year, but they may not get enough chilling hours. I would love to have them, but I fear they may end up like the raspberries).

    So, the most economical choice would be to combine it with store bought strawberries. If I froze strawberries this week I could combine them with the mulberries. I may reconsider this to stretch the strawberry jam.

  23. Brandy,
    I just noticed that my Walgreen’s ad has a cream cheese coupon which makes the cream cheese only 99 cents each. Do you have a Walgreen’s near you? I’ve also been looking for under a dollar cream cheese lately.
    Corinne

  24. Hi Brandi, try topping salads with the dried berries, even with very little flavor it still comes through and the texture contrast is really nice.

  25. Hi Brandy,
    I went to Aldi’s today to shop and they had hams on sale for 99 cents a lb., cream cheese for 89 cents, 5 lb. bags of flour and 4 lb. bags of sugar for $1.39 each, milk for $1.79 a gallon, and eggs for 69 cents a dozen! I stocked up on everything! I live in southern Indiana, so I don’t know if all Aldis have these prices. Even though I have my own hens and get 6 to 8 eggs daily, I still bought some 69 cent eggs! I make the deviled eggs for our family Easter dinner, and everyone who has their own chickens knows that fresh eggs don’t peel as well as store bought. So I will use them to devil! I hope everyone has a blessed Easter!

  26. I used to enjoy sewing Easter dresses for my girls back in the day. Not so much after they were older—they weren’t very interested in having new all the time by their teen years. I was cleverly frugal with Easter bonnets, though. I would buy them each a bonnet and by changing the ribbons, silk flowers, etc., they could wear them for several years before they outgrew them!! It was a joke to them–but who remembers by the next Easter what a couple little girls wore the year before. I also made them lined woolen capes one time–capes are quite useful because they don’t have to fit very closely—they were full length the first year, and 3/4 length the second year, and there was little detail in the sewing!!

  27. Brandy,
    I love your chocolate bunnies. I remember growing up that our local dime store used to take orders on putting names on each bunny. I always received one from my Mom. It was so pretty to see everyone’s name on their bunny in the basket. They used piped icing.

  28. There is a local state park where I can forage mulberries. Last year they were so sweet and tasty, but the prior year they were very bland. Not sure why the difference, but looking forward to more this year in a few months.

    I enjoy your shopping posts as it gets me planning for our month. It’s a heavy bill month, so I need to keep the food budget as low as possible. Fortunately, I am well stocked with food. I want to focus on using fruits and vegetables I had frozen from my garden last year. We have plenty of chicken, so I’ll focus on sales I can find on other meats. I’m hoping to find a pasta deal like you found, as my pasta supply is getting low.

    Hope all your plans work out for the month.

  29. I live a bit northwest of Windsor, Ontario, in Michigan in a localized cold spot and we have several bird-planted mulberry trees with the dark red/purple berries. For several years, I left the fruit for the birds who enjoyed it immensely while I wondered whether or not mulberries were edible by humans. They most certainly are. I was looking forward to a harvest last summer, but the extreme cold of the winter of 2013/2014 killed most of the largest mulberry tree. It produced abundantly the summer before and then died over the winter. I think the ice storm at Christmastime 2013 destroyed all the potential flowers on our other fruit trees because we had no fruit whatsoever last year despite no late frosts last spring. I’m hoping this year will be better in the fruit department. I still have some of the dead mulberry branches to saw. Sigh.

  30. It’s also a great time to add some summer toys or activities, like bubble juice/bubble wands (can be homemade in a nice bottle), sidewalk chalk or a new skipping rope. I found cheap Easter themed items were wasteful as the novelty wore off quickly. This year, I bought a music cd and a cat magazine (my daughter LOVES cats) as she is no longer interested in simple toys at her age. I like adding non-edibles as it lessons the amount of unhealthy sugary treats.

  31. Your photography is amazing (love the bunnies)..you should really do a book on frugal living in style, happy easter

  32. I know! We have some blackberries like that too. Beautiful berries, but pretty much tasteless. With a lot of fruits they have to be very ripe to the point of almost being over ripe to get any flavor out of them, I’ve found. I like Marivene’s idea to use them as an extender. Might have to do this with our raspberries.

  33. I really love mulberries, but they apparently don’t grow where I live now. I remember reading in The Kite Runner about the kids snacking on dried mulberries, and wondering what that would be like. You may find they make good (seedy) raisins, if you have enough of them for snacking.

    One of our stores has Cook’s shank hams for .99 a pound, and there are coupons for .75 off any Cook’s ham (that will double up to $1 off too). I think I’m only getting one, because I got a couple at Christmas and we are fairly well stocked for our family size.

    I just finished a similar post – a summary of March’s stocking up and the plan for April. We are quite well stocked right now, and I’m grateful for that. Your example (my mama’s too!) have made it possible for me to do well with the grocery budget that we have. Thank you so much!

    http://quietcountrylife.blogspot.com/2015/04/march-stock-ups.html

    Finally, and off-topic, I was recently given an urn-like pot, similar to the one you have pictured with the roses in it. Does yours hold water on its own? I’m hoping to clean this one up (it has silk ivy and oasis in it) and possibly tuck a jar into it so I can use it for a vase. The one I have is not metal (I think it’s resin) but I think it would make a nice vase. 🙂

  34. Mulberries are my favorite berries. So good! I hope the birds will be better sharers this year than the past couple of years. There are a couple of seedlings that the birds planted for us, so maybe we’ll get some berries from them if the birds keep to the big tree. Best wishes that you’ll find all you are looking for at the garage sale.

  35. Thank you, everyone, for your responses. I am really enjoying the opportunity to learn about mulberries through your experiences. If anyone else has something to add, I’d love to hear more.

  36. Thank you, Emily and Holly, for responding. I was wondering if they could grow in our area or if it was a warm weather plant. If anyone else can add to this, I would be grateful. I’m curious if their lack of popularity in this area has to do with our rough winters causing damage to the trees and making them unreliable, as suggested by Holly’s comment. There could be other reasons, of course. They may be more popular than I’m aware, but I’ve never seen them being sold at our local farmer’s market. Usually the farmers market features crops that are very successfully grown in the area.

  37. I think the berries might be too fragile for markets. The tree COULD have died of old age too. But it was the one facing the north winds. They are tedious to pick unless you use the sheet-under-the-tree method. I pick them by hand.

  38. I just served Good Friday dinner and made porcupine meatballs and buttered carrots. We did not need a starch since there is rice in the meatballs. Then we had leftover brownies and apple pie from my weeks baking and a tiny chocolate cake. I did the whole thing for 25 dollars. I could probably have done it for less but i had some room in my budget and some big brown eyes looking at me and asking for cake. hahaha.

  39. This month will bring planting of lettuce, kale, spinach, onions and peas in upstate ny.

    I this month I was able to pick up the pantene special at target this week along with eggs, m&ms, and pasta sauce.

    I plan on buying the rest of our $80 budget on ground beef at $2.99 a pound (if you buy 6 pounds). I have not bought beef since October. I was able to get it on sale for $1.67 a pound; I bought as much as I could (10pounds). I have not seen that price since and I think I may be able to finally fit this expense. It will take about a quarter of our budget. I hope to buy a pound of salmon at $3.49. I will probably need to stock up on mozzarella for $1.69 a pound. I will spend on the rest on whatever good sales april brings.

  40. Wal Mart has a generic (their “Equate” brand) of the Oil of Olay moisturizer with sunscreen. Not sure if it’s available in the sensitive skin variety, but I’ve been using this generic forever and it’s great. Can’t remember the price (I don’t have to buy it too often), but cheaper than the Olay anyway.

  41. I agree with Rhonda! I’m so glad to learn more. We have a mulberry tree that was producing berries when we first moved here over 20 years ago. The wildlife love them, but I’ve never considered picking them for us to eat. Unfortunately, the tree suffered some in the ice storm this winter so I’m not sure it will bear fruit this year. Anyway, thanks everyone for the information on mulberries! I’m always learning something new here. 🙂

  42. You can can mulberries just like any other fruit. Instead of syrup I use just water. You can use the canned fruit in muffins,cakes, syrups, etc. I also make cobbler or pie sometimes just mulberries and sometimes adding apples,pears,or another berry. The longer they stay on the tree the sweeter they get.

  43. For us, with our weather, Easter was always a time for new dresses and shirts for the boys and men. It should be the warmer weather, though we have had many snowy Easters with coats and boots over the new outfits. Then the Easter dress became our dress-up and church dress for the rest of the summer until Fall and the warmer clothes. New shoes too, as our dress shoes may be worn out or ready to pass down to younger. Most of our clothes were hand sewn or passed down from older sibling or older cousin. I did the same with my children.

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