I have recently decided to begin a (home) career in cooking, in order to save some money. I have been making things that I would normally buy pre-made, from scratch. This past week, I bought 2 loaves of french bread, a can of pizza sauce, and a bag of mozzarella cheese. I normally buy Red Baron's French Bread Pizzas, which at their cheapest, cost $3 for 2 french bread pizzas (Wal-Mart). I buy these for the reason that they are a one serving, easy to make meal. So either for lunch, or a night when one of us is in class, there is an easy "dinner for one".
Anyways, I purchased these things at my local grocery store:
French Bread Pizza (2 Smaller loaves) - $2.19
Can of Pizza Sauce - $1.66
Bag of Mozzarella cheese (4 cups) - $2.68 (on sale)
As you can probably already, tell, its going to be a much cheaper route to buy these items individually and then to buy the pre-made ones. With the bread I purchased, I managed to make up 8 servings of french bread pizza. That's 82 cents per serving. In addition, I had enough pizza sauce and cheese left to make more after I purchase more french bread, so really its less than that, my guess would be around 50 cents per serving in the long run, since the bread doesn't require a lot of sauce or cheese to be covered. I also cover the bread with some olive oil before putting the sauce on.
I made these this past Monday while making my soup (lunches for the week) and some seasonal pumpkin bread. They don't take long to make once the bread is sliced, simply wrap in saran wrap and put in the freezer, eat as needed! Bake at 375 degrees for 18 minutes.
This is just one example of how you can save money by making things at home, and possibly from your local area. The pizza sauce I purchased was made by a local distributor. Also, you can make pizza sauce even cheaper by simply making it from tomato sauce. The Simple Dollar has instructions on how to do this, but all it really is is adding some spices to the tomato sauce (basil, cilantro, etc.).
Think about some things that you may buy pre-made, and could possibly freeze as well!