Living on a budget means not only dressing within ones means but also eating within it as well. Now this does not always equate to boring meals of beans and rice or *shudder* boxed mac&cheese. It means buying locally and in season. Using coupons. Making more dishes from scratch and being more thoughtful in your food choices. This may take a bit more time, but will pay off in a lower food bill and more healthy choices for your family. One easy way to do this is to have the whole family pitch in and help. My granddaughters often come over and help me cut and sort coupons. To them, this onerous chore is a game.
Poached Egg over Polenta a recipe that I sort of went by for this dish. I mainly used it to make the polenta, then I used way more cheese and changed it to cheddar. I seasoned with smoked salt and added a goodly pat of butter. Topped it off with an over easy egg, chopped fresh basil from my garden, sliced avocado and sauteed red bell pepper. A very budget friendly meal when made with in season ingredients. Cost per serving was about $1.00.
Growing your own vegetables is a great idea if you have a yard or porch (for container gardening). This can cut down on your produce bill immensely. Fresh from the garden also tastes better and you have control over pesticides, if you wish to use them or not.
Buying in bulk and then canning and/or freezing is another way to get more out of your grocery budget. When seasonal items go on super sale, buy them up! I have been making my own jellies and pickles and it is much more cost effective than buying ready made. Three pounds of cherries at 99 cents a pound made me 4 half pint jars of jam. I bought my sugar in bulk and I already had the jars so I figure it cost me less than $1.50 a jar to make. Cherry jam usually runs around 4 to 5 dollars a jar at the store. Savings like these can really add up!
One thing to remember, food is supposed to be fun. So let it make you happy, even when you need to cut corners :)