I know how hard it is to get the food budget under control. I have made changes over time, some have worked well, some are so-so.
I shop less at the big name local grocery chain stores (I only go there for really great SALE items, and then I stock up), and more at the cash-and-carry stores (the no-frills stores that do provisions for restaurants, which are at the food terminals for our city. Check your phone book for provisioners or cash-and-carry outlets). I also bought a membership to BJs Warehouse this year. However, a lot of what I can buy there, I can get at the cash-and-carry stores for even cheaper (but, they are farther away than BJ's is, so I only shop there when I am in that area). I also shop at Aldi's whenever possible, they are a strictly no-frills grocery store with a limited stock of items, but much, much cheaper for basic items than the big grocery chains.
I do have a big freezer, and I freeze whatever I get in quantity, or on sale. I freeze beef roasts, ground beef, chicken, milk, veggies, bread, etc. almost anything you can think of.
I cook double batches often and then also freeze the extra of my own stews, soups, chilis, lasagnas, etc. to use as a future meal (or even as a lunch for me at work).
I also shop the farmers' markets here and buy whatever fruit and veggies are in season. I stock up on whatever is "a deal" quite often and freeze that, too. Very often the farmers markets have produce that are cheaper than the grocery chains.
It has taken me a while to figure out cheaper ways to do things, and what works for me may not work for you, but hang in there, and hopefully we all can contribute some good ideas for saving money on our food bills.
By Ness from Lakeview, NY
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