Here is what I do. You don't have to follow it exactly, or at all. I'm just sharing in hopes to help.
- Go through the circular for specials. Sometimes its available online.
- Plan out your meals and buy according to those meals. I use this to help me plan groceries related to a weekly menu.
- Incorporate veggies as 1/2 the plate, grain as 1/4 and meat 1/4.
- Do not buy things that historically goes to waste in the cupboard or freezer. Double-so for the produce.
- Once a week, everyone eats leftovers to clear out the fridge. I love to take leftover chicken and rice, and make a fried rice like this one. Frozen peas are a good substitute.
- Tuna casserole, goulash, tacos, enchiladas, etc. go over really well because you are adding a starch with meat, stretching the servings.
- Salads don't have to be just lettuce. My hubs loves a salad with mushrooms, cheese, leftover meat, and a homemade dressing of olive oil and vinegar with seasoning.
- Add some vegetarian meals to your rotation. I know you said the family mostly wants chicken-based meals, but there are lots of vegetarian meals that are not noticeably vegetarian that the family would probably love.
- For your remaining meat-centered meals, cut back on the meat used. Bulk up the meal with vegetables or whole grains.
- Cut back on processed foods. Other folks suggested cutting out junk food, which is critical, but I'm suggesting a step beyond that. For example, if you are buying things like boxed cereals, pre-made sauces, pre-cut meat, etc. you should buy the whole food equivalent. Make your own sauces, cut your own veggies and meat, but whole grains and cook them from scratch. For example, make your enchilada sauce, buy block cheese and grate it yourself, etc. This is one of the very best ways to save money and eat healthier in the process.
- Ever since someone posted in on Reddit, I've been trying 1-2 recipes per week. Its dropped my groceries down about $40 a week. No kidding.
- You don't need to buy soda anymore. Water, homemade tea, coffee at home, and milk are your friend. Seriously. I love grean tea and its replaced my soda habit.
- Buy store brand when its comparable to the brand name. Such as, bagged cereal compared to boxed. It lasts longer and its cheaper. Who cares that its not exactly the honey flavor?!
- Don't let people shame you into spending money on things you don't need. Like chips. Or magazines. or girl scout cookies. Consumerism is a group experience.
- Know your portions and who will eat what while buying. Sometimes I buy a huge pack of chicken, and freeze half to use on another meal because there is no way we can eat all that.
- Add homemade dinner rolls or Jif cornbread to a meal to fill up big eaters.
- Follow frugal bloggers for meal ideas, like this one.
To expand on point number two just a little I will not always make something different. I will often blance the meals so that one can role into the next. Like my go to recipes are cream cheese chicken in the crock pot, paramasean chicken, hand breaded tenders, enchiladas with whatever ground meat is on sale, pasta with meat sauce, kielbasa with onion peppers pasta and a tomato sauce, and sometimes ham and cheese gnocchi. Most of us don't eat breakfast but when we do it's generally just eggs and toast.
And then lunch is generally just a sandwich or maybe leftovers.
Check the policies of your local stores and see if they will price match competitors' advertised deals and coupons. A little bit of homework and planning can save a lot of money!