Grocery Shopping

February’s Grocery Shopping Plans

Lettuce and Parsley The Prudent Homemaker

Lettuce: Four Seasons, aka Merveille de Quatre Seasons, with Italian Parsley

 

This month I plan to continue to restock items in the pantry that are low.

After discussing our food needs, we have decided to buy more beans. As meat prices have continued to climb, we are eating beans more often, and I will go through a 25 pound bag of beans much more quickly.

I looked at the new order form at the LDS Cannery, and it looks like they haven’t discontinued the bulk black and white beans in bulk like I had heard they would! This is wonderful news, since a 25 pound bag is $15. I want to get more of both of these.

I won’t be buying any Valentine’s candy. I will make candy for the children using supplies I have in my pantry. I have a silicone heart-shaped mold that I bought at the Dollar Tree a few years ago. I’ll make some chocolates in it. I also will make heart-shaped cookies. I’ll put their treats in these free printable bags that I’ve had pinned on my Valentine’s Day Pinterest Board for a while. (I used a couple of ideas from my board last year; you can see photos here). For Valentine’s Day, my husband and I will either have a special meal from something in the freezer, and/or I’ll make us a special dessert for just the two of us after thc children are in bed. We’ll have an at-home date that evening.

 

On my list this month:

 

Winco:

Oats

Gold n Soft spreadable margarine 

10 pound bag of carrots

 

LDS Cannery:

Black beans

White beans

 

Sam’s Club:

Flour

Brown sugar

White vinegar

Mozarella cheese

Granulated garlic 

Milk

 

Albertson’s or Smiths:

Asparagus (This is on sale for $1.28 a pound right now. I have a few spears just starting to poke out of the ground, but I still don’t grow enough for our family, who loves asparagus. Even though this is the lowest in-season price, it’s much higher than years past, where I could get it for .99 a pound. This means changing my price point on this item.  My mom picked up two pounds for me yesterday while she was at the store getting some for herself.)

Sour cream (I’ll look for a sale price of $1 a pound if I can find it, or $1.25 if that is the lowest sales price. If there isn’t a sale that low I won’t get any; I generally find it on sale at this price every few months).

 

Walmart:

Oil

Washing soda

Blue Scotch Brite Pads

Great Value dishsoap

Powdered milk ( I don’t remember if this is lower at Winco or Walmart, so I’ll check. Walmart is $15.98 for the 64 ounce box, which makes 5 gallons. Powdered milk is about the same price as I pay for fresh milk right now, and sometimes a bit higher. However, I like having powdered milk in my storage for times when I need milk in baking and I’m not able to get to the store; I can just just a little bit in a recipe at a time. You can read more about powdered milk here.)

 

Target:

Oil of Olay bar soap (I’ll look for a sale on these; I printed two $1 off coupons for these)

Up and Up trash bags (There is a Target coupon for these, plus a 5% off Target cartwheel offer. Hopefully there will be a sale sometime this month as well. This is the store brand. I buy the kitchen trash bags  in the largest box, and they sometimes go on sale for $1 off a box. )

I have a $5 gift card from Target that I got last month as part of a promotion to use as well.

 

Though that will take up most of my month’s budget, I’ll also keep an eye out for great deals and sales for both food and toiletries that are within what is left.

 urn crop

I will be making a trip to the nursery this month.  The nursery is my favorite place to shop–it’s quiet, peaceful, and full of flowers! I’m limiting my trips there this spring (and it is very much spring here, with temperatures in the 60ºs and 70ºs!)  to reduce the tempation to buy things that I know aren’t in my budget this year. My garden budget is not part of my grocery budget. I’ll be buying some tomato plants and possibly a chocolate mint plant. I still haven’t decided between the large or small tomato plants, and the comments I received last month gave me lots to ponder.

I’ll also purchase some manure for both the garden and the lawn. I have a $10 off $50 coupon to use at the nursery. I’ll keep it close to that amount. Most of it will go for manure on the grass (our nursery has a 2 cubic foot bag of manure for $1.99, which is much lower than elsewhere).  So far this year I have spent $79.90 on seeds. I bought extra large packets this year on seeds that have a 3 year shelf-life, to (hopefully) eliminate the need to buy more seeds next year (I also plan to collect seeds frm my open-pollinated plants this year). I am also still planting seeds that I purchased last year and the year before, as well as seeds that I gathered from my own garden last year

Swiss Chard in the Garden The Prudent Homemaker

Swiss chard

I’m harvesting in the garden every day. The variety that I can pick will increase as the month continues and my plants get bigger.

This post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure policy here.

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48 Comments

  1. These posts are so inspiring! We’re trying to limit our grocery shopping to $500 a month for our family of 5, but without a garden, it’s difficult. Question–I’m growing collards indoors, but they got very leggy. (I planted them 11 days ago.) Is that normal? What can I do so they don’t bend over because they’re so tall and thin?

    I’m hoping with growing things indoors first and using the right soil combination to enrich this desert soil, we’ll have a good garden this spring.

    Thank you, too, for the seeds. I just got them and can’t wait to go through them this weekend!

  2. At my target in the seasonal permotional area they have 10 count boxes of 13 gal garbage sacks for 1.99. So with the 1.00 coupon .99 it hit my price point 0f .10 a bag not sure if it meets yours.

  3. Hi Brandy, I was at Target today and saw some Olay bar soaps on clearance, they were on the end of the shelf cap near the soap aisle. There is also a great 5 off 20 meat coupon at Target this week. I’m planning on buying some turkeys with is, the small ones are 1.19 a lb, much cheaper than the price of chicken. I’ve decided moving forward that unless chicken is on a wonderful sale, I’ll be buying turkey instead. Chicken in florida where I am ranges from 2.99 to 5 dollars a lb. I just cant find the prices for chicken reasonable anymore. Turkey is similar enough and to cook one we have meat for an entire week. So turkey it is for us in the future.

  4. Hi. I’m fairly new at gardening. I’m really enjoying it so far. I have saved seeds from store bought produce and also have some leftover seeds I bought. How do you store seeds for the next gardening season?

  5. You’ll need to make sure the seeds from your store-bought produce are open-pollinated or heirloom types. Organic produce is still usually a hybrid seed, so it won’t grow true to form and may even be sterile. I have stored seeds in seed packets as well as in canning jars.

  6. Oh, I love you dear Brandy! This is our lean time of year and it never fails that I will see a link on FB to your blog and it just brings me a sense of calm when I click through and read. Thank you!

  7. You may want to try starting your collards in a milk jug outside. I don’t know what zone you live in, but here in Kansas, which is fairly cold, I started Swiss Chard and Kale outside in February by cutting a gallon milk jug in half and poking holes in the bottom. The lid can be removed to vent it, but basically, it acts like a mini green house and gets much more sunlight. My Swiss Chard and Kale grew really well here, and transplanted just fine into my garden.

  8. Brandy, do you mind sharing how much you budget for gardening? I’m just curious as to what it takes over a year to support a garden as I set my own budget.

  9. Brandy, I agree with you wholeheartedly on the comment you made about powdered milk. I don’t believe that the price I buy mine for is any cheaper than buying the regular milk either. However, my mother suggested buying it as a backup plan for emergency situations. If the hydro was out, we could still make up just enough milk as needed with bottled water to cook with and not have to worry about spoilage.

    We use ours all the time in baked goods or when making things like scalloped potatoes, so that we do not have to run to the store to get more milk. Although we still have to do a milk run once or twice between my every other week grocery shopping routine, it feels like it would be far more frequent without the powdered milk in our pantry.

  10. Is there an LDS cannery close to you? Just wondering how you get the beans. Also do you not buy the powdered milk from LDS? Not sure about you’re Walgreens but here in California their eggs are 1.29 dz, normally 3.40 a dz. I ended up buying 10 dz cage free no hormone, antibiotic and stimulant.free eggs 2.75 dz…. I can’t believe I got those cheaper than traditional eggs, I hated buying them at that price but needed eggs and didn’t see Walgreens until yesterday, juat.thought I would share for you to check you’re area. I’m going to be getting into the garden this week/end cause it’s a l weeds and I haven’t used it for a year, I am also going to be doing a little garden in the back too. I’m going to plant swiss chard, tomatoes, bellpeppers, zucchini, and still deciding what else will work will be invading your pages since we are similar in zone and heat. ;)Thank you for all you do!

  11. Dear Brandy,
    Like Cindy O, I needed this support today from my frugal friends. Thanks to everyone for their support.

  12. I love reading these posts! You are so organized it’s something for me to aspire to. I was hoping with the lower oil and gas prices that food costs could drop a bit but that just hasn’t happened where I live. I wish I could garden year round as I really enjoy it.

    There is a good cookbook called Spilling The Beans: Cooking & Baking With Beans Everyday that has some great ways to incorporate beans into a wide variety of recipes to make meals stretch.

  13. Brandy, how did your shopping trips go last month with you being sick? Do you generally stick to the plans pretty much as you post?

  14. I have had this trouble with growing plants indoors. They crave sunlight and this just happens when they don’t have overhead lights. They make lights to help with this but i’ve never invest in one. Generally the plants get a bit better once they are outside.

  15. If they are leggy it means they need more sun. If it’s warm enough where you are you can put them outside part of the day, or put them under fluoresce nor grow lights.

  16. Brandy,

    Have you tried asking at a farm or stable for manure? When I was growing up our neighbors had a hobby farm with horses and were delighted to have people come and haul away their old, partly decomposed manure. It was free and we were able to feed out garden very well for many years without spending a penny. We didn’t have a truck of any kind but my dad would line the trunk of our car with a huge tarp and completely wrap the manure in the tarp so it could just be lifted out onto the driveway. From there we’d use the wheelbarrow and shovel.

    Is your toiletry budget part of your “grocery” budget? I’m just curious!

    Thanks for all you share and inspire,
    Lea

  17. Lea,

    We did that with this garden at the beginning (hoping to save money), and the manure was supposed to be aged enough, but it was too hot, and killed half my bushes and trees, and introduced weeds that I [i]never[/i] had at my last house–and am still dealing with, 8 years later. I will stick with sterile manure from now on. It set me back years in getting fruit and filling in hedges. I wish I could do it that way, but I won’t burn the garden again, We mixed it with what we had, and in the end, it would have saved me money from the losses to have bought sterile manure that wasn’t so hot.

    I think if I had a place for it to sit for a few years, it would be different.

    Yes, my toiletry budget is part of my grocery budget.

  18. I read in Carla Emery’s book that bamboo shoots can be eaten. I have lots of bamboo, and new bamboo shoots all over my backyard, and they have spread like wildfire. I am going to try it and see how it tastes. It should be similar to the bamboo shoots in the stores, I hope. Carla said to cook it like asparagus…..

  19. Smith’s (Our Kroger affiliate) has chicken for .88 a pound this week (whole or pieces). But I know sales vary by region. It’s a good deal and I’m tempted to buy some, but we still have chickens and turkeys in the freezers, so I am not getting any this month. I think your plan is a great one!

    I will look for some clearance soap; thanks!

  20. There is a cannery close by.

    The short answer on the milk: I don’t like the cannery’s non-instant powdered milk. The longer, more detailed reason about the milk is on my powdered milk page, where I talk about the different types of powdered milk.

    That is a good price on eggs; thanks for sharing! Eggs are good for 4 to 6 weeks past their sell-by date, according to the American Egg board, so you could always buy more and use them next month.

    You can see what I grow on my gardening pages, if you need some more ideas for what will work in your area.

  21. I am so glad that you post your monthly shopping plans. I am trying to get my monthly budget down but I still have a hard time buying more than I will need for a week or so (except for beans, oats, and rice, sugar, etc).

    I am going to Sam’s tomorrow morning so I will stock up on some bulk items.

  22. Shani, that post was referring to Australia, New Zealand, and China. When you said “east”, I thought you meant the eastern United States and we aren’t having shortages in Maryland (I’ve seen powdered milk in both Aldi and Wegman’s, the two stores where I do the majority of my shopping). It was an interesting, thought-provoking article and it’s always good to stock up because it could happen in the U.S., but right now in my corner of the world, it is not.

  23. This months plan includes shopping for some pantry items. I made a list of things I would like to purchase through the year. Hopefully I can match up sales/coupons and work the sales cycles. I already have spent a significant amount of my grocery budget for this month. It will be lots of meals from what we have on hand towards the end but I am bound and determined to not go over budget!

  24. Our garden in CT is covered with “poor man’s fertilizer” i.e., 30″+ of snow!

    Love reading about spring in other parts of the country in February 😀

  25. Oh dear! So sorry you had that happen! I wouldn’t do it again either if I’d had that experience. I was just thinking that we saved so much money that way when I was growing up – but our neighbor also used their manure on their own garden so they were mindful of the aging process.

    Thanks for your answer and have a great weekend,
    Lea

  26. When I read (here, on your blog) that the cannery might discontinue the beans in large bags, I picked up a 25lb. bag of the instant refried beans. My husband really likes them. They are definitely not priced as well as the beans are, but he will eat them, and the cannery price is far better than the price for small packages at the store. I wish they still sold the oats in 25lb. bags…they do not where I live, at least.

    We had talked about having little to no garden this coming year because of some things that were planned, including some travel. I’ve decided to garden anyway, because I’ve gotten to know my neighbor across the street pretty well, and I think that if we were gone, she would water for me and pick the ripe things….so it would be good for both of us. It’s time to plan now, and soon I could start some things indoors.

    I did a posting similar to yours, where I shared my January stock-ups and plans for February. It’s here: http://quietcountrylife.blogspot.com/2015/02/januarys-grocery-budget-in-review.html

  27. I live in Australia and powdered milk has never (to my memory) been good value for money. We will buy powdered milk every now and then – but only if we’re going to Asia, because milk from the shops there is ridiculously expensive so it actually is cost-effective to buy powdered milk and put up with the hassle of mixing it up. Most Australians, if they’re going to stock up on milk, will just get long-life (UHT). It keeps in the pantry for about a year and it’s not chalky or lumpy like powdered milk can be. It doesn’t taste as good as fresh milk but it tastes much better than powdered milk.

    Mangoes are cheap here at the moment. I’ve seen them as low as 49 cents each. Actually cheaper – my local fruit and veg was offering a free mango with a $5 spend. I’m not crazy about mangoes but free is good!

  28. I ‘m just continuing to buy staples as loss leaders and stock up otherwise using coupons or Grocery Outlet. I have become a huge fan out The Grocery Outlet and stop by weekly to snag the good deals. My husband likes deli quality lunch meat for his work lunches, (so [i]not[/i] Oscar Meyer!) and I’ve been able to keep him satisfied spending $5/pound or less instead of $10-$12/pound. I’m also able to buy treats for the kids like individual containers of yogurt for 20¢ apiece. Their avocados are always 2/$1 and I’ve also found great deals on other fruit.

    I thought of you yesterday when I made a special trip to Fred Meyer (Kroger) to stock up on $1.25/dozen eggs, and also picked up a single free Yoplait Greek yogurt. Every Friday Kroger stores have a single item that’s free to add onto your loyalty card. You have to add it that day, but you have a couple of weeks to redeem it. The week before had been a box of FIVE energy bars.

    The key to keeping my grocery bill under control is to never let my husband feel he needs to pick up a few things. We live two blocks from a New Seasons Market, which is like Whole Foods but MORE EXPENSIVE. My husband should not be allowed in there without an inheritance. Seriously.

  29. UHT milk has not fared well in the States. It’s quite expensive here and the date is always set at 6 months out; interesting that it is a year there.

    I first had UHT milk in France; pasteurized refrigerated milk was not available to purchase there. The taste is vastly different and I can see why it hasn’t caught on in the U.S. But, it still has to be refrigerated once opened; that is something nice about just using a bit of instant powdered milk in a recipe–nothing has to be refrigerated! The instant granulated milk never has lumps; it dissolves. The powdered non-instant lumps, hence, my preference for the instant.

  30. Katy, my mom would normally do the grocery shopping. Every couple of years, my dad would make some comment about the size of the grocery budget. So dad would have the privilege of tagging along on the next trip to the supermarket. It’d always turn into a 2-cart expedition with my dad stocking up on his favorites (pickled pigs feet, anyone?). Even back in the sixties, my parents would have a hundreds dollars PLUS bill. He saw what inflation was doing to the prices, and would tell mom that he couldn’t afford to do the shopping. However, he was good at just buying milk or bread, if that was what was needed.

  31. In February I’ll need to buy milk, eggs, bananas (each of these weekly), baking soda for cleaning, lettuce, celery and other fresh fruit. For household, I’ve saved up so far 5 laundry detergent coupons of $1each of a couple different ones I use. I’ll use them on double coupon day when they go on sale. I’m not particular about the brand as long as it is the unscented version. That’s all on my list.

    I haven’t shopped anywhere for 3 weeks now since I haven’t been driving. I don’t mind at all. Not a big fan of shopping. I just look at the ad and make a list. Husband has stopped when he’s out.

  32. Ooh My Goodness Holly, you just described my parents to a tee! My mother hated when my father tagged along to the grocery store because every time her back was turned, he would add things to the cart. When they would get to cash, my mother was like “where did that come from” as she put her purchased up on the belt. The bill always came to way more money than her normal shopping. Needless to say, he wasn’t taken very often. LOL

  33. Athanasia, I hope you are feeling better! Sprains, twists and pulled anythings are NOT fun! Take care of yourself and let the young ladies of the house help. Blessings,

  34. Ah, just found this on another forum: “Proper UHT milk doesn’t go bad until it’s opened. It’s sterile, and in a pretty sturdy container. Once opened, bacteria will get back into the container, and the milk will go bad as normal. When the local company started production of UHT milk, they were putting 2 year code dates on packages, and that was just the longest date the government would allow; I’ve had boxes 3-4 years old, which were fine.” “ultra-high temperature (UHT) method . . . involves heating milk at 265-300°F/130-150°C either instantaneously or for 1 to 3 seconds, and produces milk that, if packaged under strictly sterile conditions, can be stored for months without refrigeration. […] Sterilized milk has been heated at 230-250°F/110-121°C for 8 to 30 minutes; it […] keeps indefinitely at room temperature.” (from http://cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/22602/what-is-the-maximal-shelf-life-of-uht-milk) So I guess it pretty much lasts forever. Time to start ignoring the labels!

  35. This month I’m hoping to find good deals on meat so I can start stocking the freezer that was gifted to us from my parents the other week. I refuse to pay more than $2.50/lb for meat so when I can’t find it for that price, we go without. Ground beef is ridiculously expensive, even at places like the Grocery Outlet, so I stock up on ground turkey when they have it. I can find it for $1.89/20 oz which is the same price as the 1 pound rolls at Aldi but I get 4 extra ounces at GO. I haven’t seen turkey there in a couple of weeks but I will look tomorrow. I mostly buy chicken pieces and ground turkey because beef is just out of our price range. I do buy some pork when it’s on sale but it’s not always affordable either. Last week I found country style pork ribs, boneless skinless chicken thighs, and leg quarters all on sale so I am cooking those for meals this week.

    Once spring arrives, I’ll start going to the farmers market and stocking up on veggies and fruits that I can freeze. I am hoping by fall to have a fully stocked freezer. The pantry is coming along nicely too. Just today I realized I was going to run out of the bottle of spicy brown mustard I use every morning to make my fiance’s sandwiches he takes for lunch and to be able to go to the pantry and pull out a new bottle was awesome. I know it makes me sound like a hermit, but I really hate having to leave my house more than once a week or so. I definitely do not want to have to leave just to go buy some mustard (or whatever!!) so having a good stockpile of things like that makes my life so much more peaceful!

    Oh, that reminds me — the Grocery Outlet has a ton of condiments in stock now. I should check the pantry and see what we will need for the upcoming spring and summer months. Same with the leftover holiday baking supplies that I saw this past Wednesday. I think some of the tax refund check is going to be used for stockpiling food.

  36. Lori-Not sure if you have a Trader Joe’s nearby, but their spicy brown mustard is the best everyday deal in my area. 99c for 12 oz.

  37. Brandy you can sign up for the Emergency Essentials email alerts and once or twice a week they have 40% off sales. There’s always something different, if you don’t have one close by their shipping is very inexpensive. Also during conference weeks Auguson farms has a huge sale on their dry goods. I know they ship too, but I’m not sure the cost.

    My local Walmart is changing out a lot of their dehydrated/dried canned goods to a more ready to eat type of product like Wise foods. I used to buy my Oatmeal in a bucket there, but I haven’t been able to find it lately.

    Also will your grocery store give you a discount on the asparagus if you buy a case? I know here I can talk to the produce managers of some stores and I can purchase a case of something a little cheaper than individually. Just my two cents. I’m trying not to shop very much this month, mostly veggies, eggs and milk is all. I am sorting and cleaning my pantry and making a list of essentials to have in there.

  38. Yes, Mari, you are correct, the article was written in Australia and was discussing the shortage happening in the East. The shortage started out just in China, but with the amount of people needing powdered milk and baby formula they have begun to import it. Due to that, it has spread to Australia and New Zealand, and it just keeps getting worse. There are predictive factors that suggest that it could spread through Europe and then the United States. By bringing it to people’s attention now, we here in the U.S. can stock up and secure a good supply for our families.

  39. Oh Katy – your comments made me laugh, actually howl. My father was the world’s worst – my mother would have a budget (5 children) and then my dad would go with her, or even worse, alone. Dried apricots, expensive cheese, breads, olives, goose liver pate, you name it – he found it. Then he’d have shock at the checkout lane. My SO is almost a bad – even a trip to the local gas station/quick stop with it’s candy bars, chips, jerky… I’ve learned to keep ‘treats’ in a pretty bowl in the kitchen to forestale temptation to ‘just run down to the store’.

  40. Dollar Tree has it for $1 quart pretty much all the time. I get fresh milk for about $1.89 gallon most of the time (goes up and down with supply and demand) so it is expensive, but handy to have a carton or two on hand in case we run out of fresh. Often saves us a trip to the store.

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