As for making the kids feel rich without spending a dime - we have library night where we go pick out new books for the week - and movies for our Friday night movie night, we have a game night, ... Friday night movie night - we make a giant batch of popcorn and homemade pizza then sit down to watch our library movie. My kids are too small to enjoy making their own games, but I could see a 9 year old thinking this was cool. We go on lots of picnics and hike and camp frequently.
With Christmas coming, Martha Stewart's website has great ideas for nice gifts you can make for family members - we made necklaces by stringing pretty glass beads on gauzy ribbon for less than $10 for 4 grandmas and two cousins. We've also made candles by pouring old wax into various tin (cookie cutters, cans, etc) and purchased wicks. Food gifts like seasoned nuts or cookies or cocoa kits are great for neighbors or nearby grandparents. Basically, if you can get the kids involved, they won't notice that you aren't out shopping for presents, and your presents will be more meaningful to everyone. Your older son might enjoy making birdhouses... You need minimal supplies and could probably find all of the supplies (paint, etc) on the sale racks. We let our son choose whatever paint he liked on the sale rack at home depot - basically, the mis-mixed paint.
Actually - Martha even has great homemade Halloween costumes that you can assemble from stuff you own or can acquire at a dollar store.
Definitely make a menu and live by it. You can make a pot of beans on the weekend for ~$1, and then use this pot of beans to make burritos, as a side dish with meat, add rice and rotel tomatoes and cheese and you've got a third meal... Eggs + cheese and whatever veggies you have on hand is a cheap and quick meal. (Eggs + cheese + beans in tortillas is another variation of the same meal). I admit we buy cases of beans because we are vegetarian and they are quick, cheap and healthy. At least once a week we eat our cheater version of tortilla soup - 1 can black beans, 1 can pinto beans, 1 can rotel tomatoes (or other "mexican" tomatoes with chilis), 1 can water, 1 bouillon cube (veggie in our house), 2 cloves garlic. When that has heated, we serve it over a handful of crushed chips, with cheese and avocado on top. I make a salad by pouring 1 can of drained black beans in with 1 can drained corn, tomatoes, avocado, 1 crushed clove of garlic and tossing in 1/4c red wine vinegar + 3 tbs oil. Serve this with grilled tofu or some grilled meat.
You might ask your older son for help planning meals. I started planning dinner and cooking for our family at 8. We suffered through a few crazy dinners (like fruit salon! just fruit salad!), but it helped my busy parents.
Shop the dollar store. There are an amazing number of things you can get at those places. But, don't go in there without your normal grocery list, as it is also easy to walk out with junk that you don't need. I'd suggest making your list of things you need - cleaning products, toothbrushes, groceries, etc. and first stopping at the dollar store THEN your grocery store.
Hope this helps.