It seems to me that the very people who can not afford it are the ones who spend most on take outs and TV dinners. Maybe because they do not know that it's pretty easy to cook cheaply using simple widely available ingredients.
An example might be soup. A basic chicken stock can be made using chicken bones bought very cheaply from a butcher. When simmered for a couple of hours in water, the stock can either be frozen in portions and used to make curries, stews, casseroles, Chinese style dishes or paellas, or used to make tomato, celery or mushroom soups (and hundreds more types) . Enough can be made from six chicken carcasses to last for weeks (except in our house where it all gets consumed before it's left the heat)
Another flexible ingredient is rice. We like curries and rice and there's always enough rice left for the next day to make a good bowl of egg fried rice to accompany the chinese meal. It can also be used for desserts with honey and dried or fresh fruit.
Potatoes are very cheap and are brilliant fried, mashed or baked in lots of different ways.
For a change, Cous-Cous is a good standby – keeps well and can be prepared very quickly for North African style dishes.
Home made Pizza is another rewarding meal and can double as a family 'bonding' experience, what with all thatough kneading. No need to suffer small portions of toppings either – it's so cheap, you can make a bigger and better one than your local pizzeria for less money.
As a second best quick option, pizza ingredients can be used with slices of bread to make tasty snacks or meals.
As a bonus, it's fun and rewarding cooking food for your family if you like eating, and most people do!
Over a fairly short time, you can develop a family recipe collection book that is unique to your family.