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April's Grocery Shopping Plans

Lemons on Cutting Board The Prudent Homemaker 

This post contains affiliate links.

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

 

Winco:

Potatoes

Onions

Carrots

Limes

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

Kidney Beans

Salsa

Milk

Sour Cream (unless I find a lower sale elsewhere)

Spreadable margarine (3 lb container for $2.28)

 

Walmart:

Equate hand dishwashing soap

Dental floss

 

Smith's:

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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Comments

  • Lorna April 02, 2018

    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 :) .

  • Becky April 02, 2018

    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.

  • Belinda April 03, 2018

    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?

  • Rhonda April 03, 2018

    http://triblive.com/local/westmoreland/13482165-74/weather-taking-a-toll-on-2018-strawberry-crop-shortages-felt-nationwide
    In my town, all 3 Walmart’s and Sprouts have no strawberries and Aldi had only a few.
    For now, there is a strawberry shortage, you might want to adjust your strawberry jam plans.

  • Marilyn in MD April 03, 2018

    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.

  • 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.

  • Jem April 03, 2018

    That’s so funny. I live there too!

  • Andrea Q April 09, 2018

    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.

  • Elizabeth M. April 03, 2018

    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.

  • Jenny April 03, 2018

    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.

  • Jennifer April 03, 2018

    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.

  • Rhonda A. April 03, 2018

    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:

    Costco:
    -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)
    -yeast

    Regular Grocery Store (No Frills/Fresco):
    -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

  • Why not buy some silicone baking mats instead of using parchment paper? They can be reused and you won't need parchment paper anymore. I love using them.

  • Rhonda A. April 03, 2018

    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.

  • Marilyn in MD April 03, 2018

    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.

  • Rhonda A. April 04, 2018

    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.

  • Denise April 13, 2018

    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.

  • Juls Owings April 05, 2018

    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

  • Becky April 03, 2018

    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.

  • Kim April 04, 2018

    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!

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