You need a good waffle iron. I say “good” because we already tried buying the cheapo one from Target and it didn't work. It took 11 minutes to cook a waffle, even though the directions said it would take way less. That doesn't work when you're trying to get a double-batch done for freezing, with hungry kids starrrrrving for breakfast. I saved up my Swagbucks and bought this Black & Decker Waffle Maker from Amazon.
I've done a lot of experimenting with recipes, and what I have found works best for my family is a combo of half white/half wheat flour. That way, we still get some fluffiness and they're not too dense. This is a double-batch recipe, but it works for a large family or if your toddlers eat waffle after waffle and need to be stopped:
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 3/4 cups white flour
4 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp baking powder
1 3/4 cup milk
1 3/4 cup water (you could use all milk, but after trying Crystal's recipe this way I found it works out fine)
1 cup canola oil (I've also done a combo of oil with pureed pumpkin or sweet potato)
Mix the dry ingredients together while you heat up the waffle iron. Mix the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl before combining. Pour the wet into the dry, then stir until just moistened. You'll need to decide how “wet” you want your batter to be; sometimes adding wheat flour to a recipe thickens the batter more than you'd like, so you can add more milk/water if needed. Cook per the instructions on your waffle iron.
Since the new waffle maker cooks in just a few minutes, I can get tons of waffles done quickly. I let the extra waffles cool before breaking them apart and bagging them up. Some go into the fridge for the next few days; others get frozen in a freezer-safe bag. They're easy to pop into the toaster and toast just like the pre-made waffles from the store.
I don't have exact figures on what my ingredients cost, but I know I paid regular price (shame!) for wheat flour the last time I bought it, so I'd guess a double batch of waffles costs me $1-2 if everything was regular price (and it never is, even my milk was free this time around). Convenience is a big factor in deciding to do-it-yourself; obviously making waffles isn't a weekday morning task during the school year. But to take a little extra time on the weekend to make a week's worth of breakfasts? It's worth it to me. Not only am I saving money, but the waffles have no preservatives and taste better.