Most of us pass through phases in life where money is tight. Fortunately for us, there are particular expenses that we can simply eliminate, for instance cable television, gym memberships, and dining out at restaurants. On the other hand, there are other expenses that we simply can’t avoid. Rent, debt repayments and school tuition are just some of the mandatory expenses that are set and there’s little we can do about it. Having said that, there is one necessary expense where we can all save a lot of money; and that expense is food.

Having carried out some research, I’ve found there are a number of ways in which we can all save on food expenses. Clearly, eating out at restaurants is much more expensive than eating at home, but I’m talking about saving money on your weekly grocery bills. You’ll be astounded at just how much money you can save by sticking to some general guidelines, so here are some simple tips that can save you thousands of dollars annually on your food bills.

Plan your meals and create a shopping list

Have you ever needed to toss out food because it’s past its expiration date? I know I have! By planning every meal of the week, you can ensure that you only spend money on food that is needed. Look in your kitchen to see what ingredients you presently have, which ingredients you need to buy, and prepare a list of all the ingredients you’ll need for the coming week.

Many of us are guilty of impulse buying at the supermarket, so planning your meals and sticking to the ingredients on your list will greatly lessen any impulse buying. Don’t forget to always keep stationary in the kitchen, so when you run out of a particular ingredient, you can write it down immediately and possibly avoid a second trip to the grocery store. And always shop for groceries on a full stomach!

Don’t bring your kids to the supermarket

Sometimes it can be tricky to organise, but if you go grocery shopping when your kids go to school or at night when there’s someone to watch them, you’ll save heaps of money. Not only can you shop a lot quicker, but you don’t have to exhaust your energy by saying ‘NO’ to your children every aisle. Often this can be overwhelming, so a lot of people will give in occasionally, and these unneeded products will build up over the year far more than you’d envision.

Go shopping at night

Speaking of shopping in the evening, you’re more than likely to come across the best prices at this time of day. Large grocery stores will usually discount products when they’re overstocked, and perishable goods like bread, fruit and vegetables will also likely to be discounted. Although it may seem a little bit cruel 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 purchase too much and throw away food, but always keep in mind that you can cook meals and freeze them for a later time. Cheese, butter, and bread will last up to three months in the freezer, and meat products will usually last up to six months. Just make sure you have enough room in your freezer first!

Try discounted supermarkets

Discounted grocery stores such as Aldi will always have products that are more affordable than the supermarket giants like Coles and Woolworths. However, some goods will be more costly, so try finding bargains at discounted supermarkets before visiting your usual grocery store. Even though you may not recognise some of the brands, the quality of the food is basically the same. The structure is also different, so it may take a bit of getting used to, but if you wish to save money on food then this is a superb idea.

If you’re dealing with financial problems, always bear in mind that there are practical ways to save a substantial amount of money on one of your largest expenditures. By making some minor adjustments in conjunction with a dash of discipline, you can potentially save thousands of dollars annually on your grocery bills.

If you find that your financial position is still worsening, it’s always better to seek financial advice sooner rather than later. Speak with the professionals at Bankruptcy Experts Newcastle on 1300 795 575, or visit our website for additional financial advice: www.bankruptcyexpertsnewcastle.com.au