If I keep the ingredients to make sauces in the house, I can whip together a quick meal. I have lots of boxes of pasta that I bought on sale and I used coupons. Thanks to my taking some classes on sauce making, I feel more confident about different types of cooking.
I don't mean to gloat, but I've been able to save $$$ by not hitting the carry-out places like Ruby To Go plus I've saved by not having to add a tip.
Sure, some of the stuff I fix quickly did come from the freezer sections of Trader Joe's and Harris Teeter, but it is a lot less expensive than eating at a restaurant or getting it to go.
I have to admit that of the different grilled chicken Asian salads I prefer the one at Applebee's, but I don't think it is worth the price. Trouble is that I can't copy the dressings.
The cheapest frozen potatoes I've found are Walmart's Great Value Hash Brown Patties for $1.88 for 10 patties.
I look at the big picture whenever I look at the grocery ads. I plan ahead for future meals by shopping wisely and frugally. I look for loss leaders.