I second Baking Beauty's sentiments about meal planning. It is not easy, but if you are disciplined enough and willing to put in the work, it can turn cooking into something fun and affordable! On average, I save $30 a week on groceries with meal planning compared to before; just getting up and going to the store.
To increase your savings, you might have to muster up the energy to go to a couple different stores. My grocery shopping trip starts at Aldi, then to a local fresh produce shop, and ends at Target. I'm lucky that they are all within two mile of each other, but I would still say that it would be worth even an extra mile or two on top of that.
I started meal planning for the same reasons mentioned above; eating out too much and not planning accordingly for the week. It's so easy to run out to the local pizza joint, or order Jimmy John's. But what you spend there could easily equal 3 to 4 meals you can cook throughout the week! This summer our budget got to the point where we had to make sure we had a meal planned for every day! (Hubby was transitioning between jobs). Now that we've gotten into the habit, I still plan 7 meals every week, and we almost always stick to the plan. We've probably only eaten out 4 times in 2 months.
So, here is a link to my own blog: Meal Planning Mayhem. This week is all about casseroles!
Meal Planning Mayhem: Week 8
I can't wait to get ideas from everyone else for new meals to create!
~Meal Planning Mayhem Maker (Chef Val, Zello)