If you are buying store-bought bread, tortillas or pasta, you are probably not getting your money's worth. I know there are reduced priced racks that fill with baked goods when the goods near expiration. I haven't seen prices as low as my homemade versions, and all of my homemade versions are made of 100% whole wheat flour.
I use King Arthur 100% whole white wheat. King Arthur is the lowest price I have found for whole wheat flour in my area. Walmart sells a 5 lb bag for $3.16, or just over $0.63 per pound. Whole white wheat keeps the germ and the bran in the flour, just as "traditional" whole red wheat does. It is just a different species of grain. It tastes more like white flour, and does not add that wheaty flavor to your food if your family is not used to it. Also, King Arthur has pledged not to use genetically modified wheat.
Homemade versions of flour based foods do take some skills. However, once these skills are mastered, no one can take them away from you and you will only get better and faster at them.
Pasta - $0.24/lb
Pasta was the food that took me the longest to try. I don't have a pasta maker, but I do have a rolling pin and surface to roll on. All of my recipes usually have a pound of pasta. This will cost about $0.80 at the store. To make the same pound at home, combine
1 1/2 cups flour -$0.24
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon water -$0
The basic recipe is a 3:1 ratio, but I always need a little more water to make it roll easier. Roll it as thin as you possible can. I usually divide the batch in two and roll half at a time. Once rolled, cut it into thin strips with a pizza cutter. I then cut the strips short to make noodles. I don't dry it. You can, but it only adds an extra step. I boil it right away. I boil it until the pasta floats, then for five minutes after that.
Bread - $0.65/28 oz. loaf
I've already posted my basic bread recipe, but here it is again.
1 1/4 cups warm water -$0
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast -$0.06
3 1/2 cups flour - $0.55
1 1/2 teaspoon salt - $0.04
I don't use oil and sugar, as many recipes do. They are not necessary. The bread makers in France have traditionally omitted them. Sugar does help the yeast to rise, but once you've got a good kneading technique, you won't need it.
Tortillas - $0.60
2 cups whole white wheat flour ($0.32)
3/4 teaspoons salt ($0.03, if that)
1/4 cup shortening ($0.25, softened butter, but you can use whatever)
1/2 cups water ($0)
I get about six tortillas big enough to make quesa dillas, and ten taco size tortilla. Combine all ingredients and divide by how many tortillas you want. Roll out each one and fry on medium high, without greasing the pan, for about thirty seconds on each side.
You're not just paying extra for convenience with pasta, bread and tortillas. If you are buying flour based mixes (cake, muffin, pancake), frozen pizza, or cereal, you are paying other people to do the cooking for you, and it isn't as good as if you do it yourself. Compare the cost per pound of the pre-made flour based food to the cost per pound to the basic ingredients of that food, and you will see you can be doing better.
These are not things made commonly in the American household. Our ancestors always made these items themselves, and it was considered a luxury to buy them made. To buy them made, you are paying someone else to do the work for you. There seems to be this ominous myth that these are extremely difficult skills to master. However, our great great grandmothers, who may not have even graduated high school, made these all the time. Women around the world, who may have never stepped a day in a classroom, have these skills, so we can too!