I think that buying good, clean food actually costs less money. Pre-packaged, convenience foods that are fattening, high in sodium; cost more. They cost more money-wise, but more importantly, they cost us our health!
My Dad grows his own veg. In the UK, you can rent a small piece of land (allotment) for a vegetable garden. Sometimes I go shopping for perishable items or other shortdated items in the afternoon or evening the day before a delivery. I used to work part time in an independent health food shop. Anything that was unsold at the end of it's expiry day the manager said was mine to take home- and usually fine for at least a couple of days. When I go shopping with Mum, we split any bulk buy or economy pack deals that we both like but wouldn't use all of. Another thing I do is rotate supermarkets to get the cheapest deals on whatever I am low on- eg I stock up on tinned beans at sainsburys, soya milk at tesco...
We shop the ad flyers at our grocery store and try to stick to just buying the things on our list that are on sale. Obviously sometimes we need things that aren't on sale, but we've gotten so that when we need something, it goes on sale! And I buy many fruits and veggies when they are in season, and therefore local and cheaper.
We recently started ordering food packages from Angel Food Ministries (http://www.angelfoodministries.com/). They have tons of distribution locations around the US, so there should be one close to you. Everything's of good quality and fresh. You can view that month's menu before you order so you know what you'll be getting, and there are a few options to choose from. You can get about $65 worth of groceries for $30, and you can get as many "boxes" as you need. Visit the website for further details and find the nearest location.
I read all the helpful hints, but did not see using your own cloth bags in there. Most stores give you 3 to 5 cents for each bag of your own that you bring. At least that is one good way to re-use plastic bags, which are far too plentiful. Re-using them is good, but having your own cloth bags handy in your car is better. You can even get insulated ones for cold foods.
SparkPeople, SparkCoach, SparkPages, SparkPoints, SparkTeams, SparkDiet, SparkAmerica, SparkRecipes, DailySpark, and other marks are trademarks of SparkPeople, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
SPARKPEOPLE is a registered trademark of SparkPeople, Inc. in the United States, European Union, Canada, and Australia. All rights reserved.