I have a theory based on the cooks I know that the less reliant you are on following recipes, the better you are at making good use of your pantry ingredients.
I'm a recipe-follower to a fault. This may be why when I started making weekly menu plans, my grocery expenses went down noticeably. I have less stocked in my cupboards at any given time than I used to. In fact, by the end of the week sometimes they echo. It also means if unexpected company arrives, it might be great (there's a plan), or an excuse to order a pizza (i.e. "Old Mother Hubbard").
Tracking our grocery expenses for nearly 10 years now, there's been an unscientific drop of at least 20% in our grocery bill for the average month since I started shopping from a menu-oriented list. Sometimes more. It's contrary to what I've read about stocking up on bulk items or sale items to save money.
That brings me around to my conclusion that if you can look at the cupboard and invent, no doubt you'll save money shopping in bulk. It doesn't work that way for me. Now where's my list?