One of my life's mottos has always been to not re-invent the wheel. Someone has faced this problem/issue before and has likely found a solution. Many someones will provide you with various different solutions and one of them is sure to fit. If the internet only existed for this purpose, it would be worthwhile.
I would sincerely like to encourage you to take up cooking as a hobby. If I suggested that you take it up to save money, it probably wouldn't have the same appeal. Some might think it was a punishment. But more than a few people have come to love the creative aspects of preparing food as opposed to . . . mopping the floor? Just don't get carried away seeking out expensive spices or obscure ingredients. (saffron!) Learn to substitute (or omit). Everyone loves the cook!
Here's a couple of links to get you started:
Living well, Spending less
5 dollar dinners
There is enough reading and sufficient recipes to keep you engaged for a long time. You'll think differently about food after a while.