Most of us suffer through stages in life where money is tight. Thankfully for us, there are various expenses that we can quite easily do away with, such as cable television, gym memberships, and dining out at restaurants. On the other hand, there are other expenditures that we simply can’t avoid. Debt repayments, rent and school fees are just a couple of the mandatory expenses that are set and there’s very little we can do about it. Having said that, there is one mandatory expense where we can all save a great deal of money; and that expense is food.

Having undertaken some research, I’ve found there are a range of ways in which we can all save on food expenses. Of course, eating out at restaurants is far more costly than eating at home, but I’m talking about saving money on your weekly food bills. You’ll be surprised at just how much money you can save by adopting some helpful guidelines, so here are some quick tips that can save you thousands of dollars each year on your grocery bills.

Plan your meals and write a shopping list
Have you ever had to throw out food simply because it’s past its expiry date? I know I have! By planning every meal of the week, you can ensure that you just spend money on food that is needed. Take a look in your pantry to see what ingredients you already have, which ingredients you need to buy, and create a list of all the ingredients you’ll need for the upcoming week.

Many of us are guilty of impulse buying at the supermarket, so planning your meals and buying only the ingredients on your list will drastically decrease any impulse buying. Don’t forget to always keep a paper and pen in the kitchen, so when you run out of a certain ingredient, you can write it down straight away and perhaps prevent a second trip to the grocery store. And always shop for food on a full stomach!

Don’t bring your kids to the grocery store
Occasionally it can be hard to organise, but if you go grocery shopping when your kids are at school or at night when there’s someone to babysit them, you’ll save a significant amount of money. Not only can you shop more quickly, but you don’t need to waste your energy by saying ‘NO’ to your kids every aisle. Commonly this can become frustrating, so lots of people will give in here and there, and these nonessential items will accumulate over the year a lot more than you’d envision.

Go shopping at night
Speaking of shopping at night, you’re likely to come across the best prices at this time of day. Big grocery stores will frequently discount products when they’re overstocked, and perishable goods such as bread, fruit and vegetables will also likely to be marked down. Though it may appear to be a tad harsh after a long day, you can bag a lot of bargains by shopping at night.

Buy in bulk
It should come as no surprise that buying in bulk will save you money, particularly on discounted items. Be careful though, you don’t want to buy excessively and waste food, but always keep in mind that you can prepare meals and freeze them for later in the week (or month). Bread, butter, and cheese will last about three months in the freezer, and meat will usually last up to six months. Just be sure you have enough room in your freezer first!

Try discounted supermarkets
Discounted grocery stores like Aldi will always have products that are much cheaper than the supermarket giants like Woolworths and Coles. Nevertheless, some items will be more expensive, so try finding bargains at discounted supermarkets before visiting your usual supermarket. Though you may not recognise some of the brands, the quality of the food is basically the same. The design is also different, so it may take a bit of getting used to, but if you need to save money on food then this is a terrific idea.

If you’re dealing with financial problems, always keep in mind that there are basic ways to save a significant amount of money on one of your largest expenditures. By making some modest changes as well as a dash of self-discipline, you can potentially save thousands of dollars annually on your grocery bills.

If you find that your financial circumstance is still worsening, it’s always better to seek financial advice sooner rather than later. Get in touch with the specialists at Bankruptcy Experts Hervey Bay on 1300 795 575, or visit our website for additional financial advice: www.bankruptcyexpertsherveybay.com.au