Without knowing where you are and your exact situation, I don't know if these will work for you, but here is my 'plan'- we are working towards being more organic/tf- but with a family of 7- and all good eaters even though the kids are 8 and under- it really adds up! (and we are on a tight budget)
So for now, we are eating what we have/what we can afford- I am blessed to have put up my own salsa, pizza sauce, apple sauce, corn, green beans, frozen blueberries-- last year. So this year, I am looking to extend the harvest, multiply my gardening, and do even better at this. I am looking at putting a cold frame outside of our basement window (possibly even incorporating our dryer vent?)- with this I 'HOPE" to be having fresh greens for salads and such available at least this April through Dec or Nov, God willing. I am also planning, again God willing, to have tomatoes, cukes, and other veggies too, just not yet sure if I can extend those as much. If you can plant 1 tomato plant on the patio, a fire escape etc- it will at least provide some. You can also do strawberry plants in hanging baskets, lettuce and salad greens in a window box, potatoes in one of those big barrells- no granted you likely won't be growing enough to 'stock up' this way, but if you don't have time, energy, or space to do a big garden- you can at least lower your costs a bit- which means money to spend stocking up on other things.... You can also think about 'swapping' with a friend if you have anyone close by who would be willing- they grow a tomato, you grow a cuke.... OR do what my sister did and ask a friend if you can 'go in' on their garden- she bought plants, came by to help tend it weekly or bi-weekly- and came to help harveset.......
I also do a lot of 'pick your own". I am again blessed, THank God, to have a blueberry patch nearby that isn't "organic", but from talking to them I know they don't 'do much' to their trees- mow the rows is about it. 2 yrs ago we picked cherries (never asked about orgnic, probably not, but at least it is fresh, local, in season, and cheap), same with strawberries (I got strawberries for 95 cents a pound last year) I also have gotten apples for applesauce, from local folks who don't use theirs from their own trees- same with pears- now I know they don't use theirs, so I also know they don't spray them or treat the trees, since they aren't interested in the fruit.- ask around, you never know what you will find. I aslo have tons of woods to tramp through to get elderberries, blackberries, raspberries, ramps if I so desired, some nuts.......
I have also gone in with others on local free range meats-definately well worth the price- and definately a big savings! Hunting and fishing on your own is another great money saver- we want to try that, my family has always, we just haven't yet.
Now, that is great for looking ahead- for now- buy some good quality dry beans and grains- (if you have an amish store you might be able to get it in bulk cheaper)- sprout some to eat as sprouts, use some as they are- tabboule, black bean soup, red beans and rice, hummus..... Utilize a lot of soups- you can turn a turkey carcass into stock, chicken carcass, beef bones..... Thicken the turkey gravy and put in 'some' meat- serve over a good bread or waffles for a cheap meal- same with chicken- add lots of those cheap beans and sprouts to your soups- and serve beans at least once a week. Start each meal off with a soup if possible- good for digestion and also makes sure you don't 'gorge' on the meat and sides- you can make a carrot soup, squash soup, bean soup, minestrone soup, french onion soup minus the cheese..... Also, do follow the previous suggestion and look up which foods are the 'worst' offenders in each group- bananas for example aren't too heavily sprayed so go ahead and buy regular bananas, but always opt for organic grapes.. Same with veggies, if I remember correctly, carrots and red beets aren't AS bad as some other stuff- so go ahead and utilize cheap regular carrots, but get organic on some of the more treated stuff. Use alot of whatever you can get cheap- I was getting local free range eggs for $1 a dozen so we were using a lot of eggs, however, it is now cold, the chickens aren't laying as much so now I can't get them anymore.... There is also a place near me that this time of year will sell last years potatoes at a good price (they have been in cold storage, but they would have been in cold storage at my house if I had bought them earlier) Extend ground meat by adding in those beans (I cook and mash beans and add them in to meat- no one ever knows- I do about 1 lb of beans to 10 lbs of meat, but could probably go higher) I make 2 'mean' dips we really like- one does have cheese though, so you would have to modify if you don't use soy cheeses?- refried (or lately fermented bean paste) cream cheese (or lately kefir or yogurt cheese), salsa, and cheddar- heat till melted and bubbly. The other is salsa mixed with black beans and corn- either one of those utilizes beans so they cut the cost- and both can be use in tortillas with or without meat- to make enchiladas (and if you use ground meat mixed with beans you save on the meat too) You can also mix brown rice in with ground meat- so like for meatballs- you can mix in mashed beans and your spices, then mix in cooked brown rice (or organic oatmeal uncooked) - especially if the meatballs are to go in sauce, you definately won't taste the difference, but you will get maybe twice as much or more. I agree with whoever said, make everything instead of buying prepackaged- so buy tomatoes and make salsa (actually I would buy organic tomato, organic pepper, regular onion, regular garlic.. and make my own) Bread is a big expensive especially if you use a bit of it. The so called "good" bread is $3 a loaf. Now, I personally do not feel the good bread is any better since the flours are not soaked, and they aren't made from fresh ground flours, but that is where I am in my thinking- and since I am not going to grind and soak my own flour, I just by the cheapy wheepy bread, and try to use it less often. www.30daygourmet.com
and sights like it that focus on freezer cooking or once a month cooking OAMC- are good for helping you buy in bulk- and what to do with that bulk- and still keeping life easy.