Eating good food for less money is neither a science nor an art. While, maybe there is a little science involved. With our modern day conveniences we should be able to do this with far less efforts compare to our accessors.
With the increased food cost, the benefit of eating good home-cooked food is more obvious than ever. you don't need to be a gourmet cook to enjoy good cooking, learn a few recipes and take off with them. You don't have to follow a recipe to the "T", add your own creation (except when it comes to baking cakes or cookies, you need to develop some serious skills before you wing it!). Learn how to use a few combination of spices, and try it on different things. The following is a few example:
Italian: Basil, oregano, parsley, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice
Mexican: Cumin, coriander, Mexican oregano, cilantro, lime
Asian: ginger, green onion, lemon grass
Middle eaten: cumin, mint, parsley,lemon juice
French: basil, oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary
Then there is the universal: garlic, hot pepper flakes, onions, pepper.
You can also buy the pre-mixed herbs. One thing I like a lot is the Jamaican Jerk seasoning, makes great pork or chicken dishes. I use steak rub for different things as well. It makes really good Blackened Salmon! I also use Mrs. Dash a lot, I learn this trick from my friend Patty.
Experiment, you will find your favorite things to use.