Mmmmm....millet. I love millet! And quinoa! So good for breakfast.
You most surely do not have to have "whole foods go out the window" when you shop on a budget!
In my experience, cheese and meat are the single most expensive items in my grocery basket. Here's my money-saving tip, which maybe some of you will be able to put to use: there is a very high-end deli/grocery store near my house which, about once a month, cleans out their deli section and packages all the little leftover bits of deli meat and cheese and puts them in a clearance section. Dh and I check there once every few weeks and often come home with just a little bit of (cheap!) exotic cheese and meat...enough to make one meal with. If you have a deli near you, maybe you could look into whether they do this - or suggest it to them!
As for organic produce, we buy an organic box from an organization that brings together farmers and consumers through the "Good Food Box." We buy directly from the farmers (i.e., not through a grocery store), who get ALL the money from our purchase. All packing and distributing of the boxes is done by volunteers! Check it out online at www.foodshare.net
if you like. Again, you might be able to start something similar in your neighbourhood or town!
I participated in a pricing study for the organization that prepares the Good Food Boxes and we found that the price for organics is comparable to the price for non-organic produce charged at the grocery store. Plus I love having what arrives in the box be a surprise!!
In the summertime, we go to a local organic farmer's market. I know from my work with farmers that they really depend on regular customers to make their living. So shop locally from your local organic farmers! (Many of the local organic farmers who supply the market and the Good Food Box are old order Mennonites, FYI.)
My other main suggestion is crock pot and dried beans and legumes (as others have suggested) as much as possible. I try to eat legumes or beans plus a green vegetable every day. You can make large amounts of stews, chilis, soups, etc. and freeze them to give yourself greater variety. Or start a community kitchen with other moms and cook large amounts together! Sometimes you can use church or community centre kitchens that can handle a lot of people.
OK, and one more - grow your own produce in the summer! And sprouts all year 'round. Hope those help!!