One of the first things I focused on when trying to tighten the budget was FOOD. When I think about food and saving money it's all about KEEPING it SIMPLE and MAKING A PLAN!
I've tried a number of different things...
I did the whole crazy couponing thing for a while... it was fun to get a box of Cheez-It's for 25 cents and seeing my receipt show that I saved double what I spent, BUT it was a LOT of work, and I ended up with a LOT of food my family really SHOULDN'T be eating anyway.
I tried the freezer meals for a month thing... again, a lot of work, a lot of buying and I don't think it saved me any money.
The thing that I find works the BEST for me is MEAL PLANNING! I did an old post (HERE) on our Illiteration Menu (i.e. Macaroni Monday) that I've used for the past couple of years to spur my meal ideas, but really, we do a lot of repeats. It's easier keeping the pantry stocked that way and we've been able to fine tune it to where I get less complaints about "What disgusting dinner are we having tonight?" Yes, that's actually what my 7-year old says to me before dinner :S (How did I get such picky eaters?!?)
I plan my Meals ONE WEEK at a TIME. I "shop" from my pantry first for meal ideas, then buy whatever else I need. I do NOT plan lunches, only dinner, and we do rotate through different breakfasts, but they all take the same ingredients, so I just keep us stocked on eggs, milk, flour and syrup ingredients.
Here's a page that I got some good ideas from and she also did this handy Monthly Meal Plan. You don't need to fill it out for the whole month, just ONE WEEK at a time, that way you can make sure you're not repeating too frequently. I usually keep my plan after the month is over to spur ideas for
the next month.
Having a plan brings peace of mind and just remember to K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid ;)