My favorite boss in the food industry was a quirky older gentleman who owned a string of family oriented restaurants. My job was to help him control food and operating costs. Once a quarter we met to review Profit and Loss statements. Sometimes he would sigh deeply and say "Yolonda, I guess it's true, you just can't save your way to prosperity". Funny enough, he always said this after realizing that a new policy he'd insisted I put in place to save a little money in the short term, had resulted in losing money or wasting time in the long term.
Here's the lesson he finally learned - effective budgeting isn't always going for the cheapest choice or fastest method, it's about making decisions that will consistently save money over the long run. The foundation to controlling food costs in your own kitchen are:
1) Setting a budget
2) Creating a weekly meal or menu plan
3) Effective shopping
When the foundation is in place, it's easy to build on with creative and fun ideas to stretch those food dollars even further. Every week I'll add new food budgeting tips - and I hope you'll share your own.