I should tell you, we are an "eat meat sparingly" kind of family. And when I say sparingly, I mean it. I think this is the most cost effective way to eat. I buy some bulk frozen hamburger and some frozen chicken tenderloins from Costco about once every six months. I buy frozen shrimp every so often.
Also, I am a "creative" cook. If I don't have everything for a recipe, sometimes I omit or substitute. Sometimes I end up liking the results better than the original.
Here is a sample of what I bought one week:
5 dozen eggs ... $4.19
100 corn tortillas ... $2.79
50 8" flour tortillas ... $3.69
2 pound block of cheddar .. $4.49
2 pound block of monty jack ... 4.49
(from grocery store)
bag of potatoes ... $ .98
2 bell peppers ... $ .98
bag of oranges ... $ .98
bag of onions ... $ .98
gallon of milk .. $1.68
spaghetti noodles ... $1.59
head of lettuce ... $ .40
a few cans of tomato sauce ... $ 2.00
a few cans of pinto beans ... $1.00
Ok, so that ends up to be about $30. I have to just say "no" to junk food, ice-cream, and novelty items, which I suppose makes me healthier in the long run anyway. And I add up prices as I go, always rounding up. I think to myself, "do I really need this item this week?" and if the answer is "I guess not" I don't get it. Also, when I go to the grocery store to purchase food I always get whatever veggies and fruits are cheapest, whatever they may be.
Here are the meals you can make with all this food:
Cheese enchiladas (And make a second pan for the freezer for next week) and beans
spaghetti with garlic bread and salad
potato soup with salad and muffins (from pantry)
stir fry with rice and oranges
Etoufee with rice
roasted pepper quiche with baked potatoes
quesadillas, oranges and beans
Of course, you will have loads of eggs and tortillas (and probably cheese) left over for next week, so you can free up the majority of your $30 budget to buy other staples you may be running low on like flour, rice, frozen veggies, pancake mix or meat.
Well, that is the gist. With that said, I did do this the whole first year we were married, but it is a lot harder now with two kids. I have decided that $60 is much more comfy.