A reader asked how I managed to average about $125/week for a family of five with four cats and three dogs.
Well, dear reader, I cook and bake mostly from scratch. I have found it to be more filling than store-bought foods. I make our own desserts - cakes, cookies (this recipe is good!), brownies. In the Winter, I make a big container of homemade hot cocoa mix. I make muffins, quick breads, pizza, lasagne, burritos, etc.
I take inexpensive cuts of meats and marinate them or cook them in the crockpot until they are so tender you can cut them with a fork. I prepare simple meals using very basic ingerdients like hamburger, rice, potatoes, pastas, and beans. I buy frozen/canned vegetables. I buy in bulk when I can - canned goods, flour, white/brown sugar, cooking oil, chocolate chips, cocoa
I shop the sales and use coupons on some products. We use generic brands if it's cheaper. I have a Reward Card that I use, also. Pet foods usually have coupons and sales. It's great to combine the two to get the most savings. Or try buying bags of pet food at a feed store/co-op. Here we can get a 40# bag of dog food for $18!
I also like to find substitutes that work well. When I make Po'Boys, instead of using those expensive sub rolls, I substitute with hot dogs buns. Bread is bread, after all! Hot dogs buns are nearly $2 cheaper than those rolls. I also like to use them to make garlic bread to go with pasta dishes. Just butter, sprikle with galic salt and bake until golden. Yum - yum!
It may take some time to reduce your grocery budget, but it can be done! The more you work in your kitchen and experiment, the more money you can save as your cooking/baking skills expand. Don't be afraid to try new things and be creative!