I grew up before there was such a thing as boxed mixes and "convenience" foods. Okay, maybe there were a few... but not many. I don't remember Mom every buying any. Everything we ate was made from scratch and that's how I learned to cook, so I do that most of the time today. I will admit to getting lazy now and then and getting a package of those noodles with dry sauce that all you do is dump into boiling water, but not often.
When I cook like Mom, I use chicken bouillon cubes if I don't have frozen chicken broth. I cook rice in that and season with whatever flavors I'm in the mood for.
Noodles... well, Mom made hers from scratch and I do, sometimes. I'm more likely to buy cheap egg noodles already made, then make a sauce or add spices or vegetables to suit myself.
Not only is cooking like this more frugal than buying packets of this and that, it allows for more variety. I can use what's on hand and I can make the flavors Italian style, Tex-Mex, French or plain old American - whatever sounds good.
I think sometimes we get brainwashed into thinking that things have to be this way or that way. My rice pilaf may not taste or look the same as what I can buy in a store or restaurant, but so what? It doesn't have to.
Alternatives to processed food is a start, but don't stop there. Make your food your own.