As for me, I make a weekly menu. If you are really smart you already have a list of recipes you have used over time. Here are a few secrets from a frugal shopper.
1. ALWAYS make a weekly menu for dinner.
2. I also make a list of what we will have for lunch since both of us take our lunch to work.
3. Breakfast is easy as long as you have milk, eggs, butter (yes butter not lard), bread, and some sort of meat product. I buy Canadian bacon.
4. I look at the weekly ads for my local store and design my menu. If tomato sauce is on sale or hamburger design 3 meals that week around those ingredients.
5. Buy items on sale in bulk. If hamburger is on sale buy extra for the freezer. You don’t have to go to Sam's or Costco just get it there in smaller amounts. Wrap in foil and freezer bags.
6. Make your meals. It’s cheaper to make spaghetti sauce rather than grab a jar of it. Plus look at the ingredients. See my posts for various recipes WITH OUT PREP PACKED INGREDIENTS.
7. If you make spaghetti for dinner make enough for two meals and freeze the rest.
8. I have been making whole food meals for years so I do stock up on some items: flour, cane sugar, butter, baking soda, baking powder, spices, vanilla, and such.
9. Desserts for us are usually apples or some fruit. Occasionally I will make tapioca, jello, or apple crisp.
10. And the most important is KEEP TO YOUR L IST. You can find some things cheaper at the Dollar Store or Dollar General. Watch out not all items at the Dollar General are a good price. Make sure you read the ounces. ALWAYS compare items by weight or number of. Keep your cell phone or a calculator with you. (Divide the price by the ounces to find out $ per ounce) Some stores tell you the price per ounce.