Seasoned MoneySavers will know all about yellow sticker reductions – where supermarkets reduce short-dated food at the end of the day – and the times their local supermarket starts slashing prices… but did you know you can grab clearance foods outside the ‘big-four’ supermarkets?
We’ve looked at this before, and it’s clear there are big bargains to be had, like Lisa’s £60 shopping haul for £2.55. If you’re a novice, our Cheap Supermarket Shopping guide can help – but keep reading if you’re already sticker-savvy for some top tips on how to further your bargain-hunting beyond the ‘big-four’ supermarkets and nab deals at discounters such as Lidl, Aldi and Home Bargains as well as unexpected high-street stores such as Boots and TK Maxx.
Lidl itself hasn’t given us official confirmation, but our research in store suggests that the most often short-dated stickered products are in the bread aisle. Look for an orange sticker – it may not always say the price it’s reduced to, but it will have a percentage discount (we’ve seen 30% off).
The bread we found was already reduced on offer, so we checked and the 30% off did come off the already reduced price making it even more of a bargain.
Bread is great to grab reduced, as you can pop it in the freezer and put it straight into the toaster with no expensive waste you might have if you kept it on the side in a bread bin.
We’ve also seen bits in the chilled section reduced – including sausages, bacon and yogurts. On different occasions, even within the same store, we’ve spotted them both in their normal place among non-reduced items as well as in a special reduced section of one particular fridge (so keep your eyes peeled as you shop).
In Aldi stores we found that food is less often reduced than non-food items, but you can find discounts. Look for a large red and white sticker which states the previous price as well as the reduced price. We found a sunflower oil cooking spray reduced from £1.99 to 99p as well as other non-food items such as books, plates and skin care also reduced in the same section.
At MSE Towers, we’re still mourning the loss of the £1 Boots lunch deal via O2 priority (and now, all the £1 lunch deals) but there’s another way to save on food at Boots. We checked several local stores, and we found after 2pm – usually starting on a Wednesday – Boots discount their sandwiches and sides to 50p, look for a red and white sticker.
We haven’t seen another discount, and we haven’t seen discounted food in train station Boots stores but if your local is a high-street store and you’re on a late lunch, it’s worth a look.
Holland & Barrett
If you’re vegetarian, vegan or wheat-free you’ll know that sometimes products aimed at you can be more expensive. Whilst this isn’t always true (lentils are all three and very cheap!), if you’re looking for fresh dairy-free or free-from alternatives like sausages, yogurts or pasties and you pay full price, it can add up.
If your local Holland & Barrett (find your nearest*) has a chilled fridge (not all of them do) then you could be in for a treat. If you spot a red sticker, depending on the store you could see discounts of 50% or more on the original price for short-dated goods. The best I’ve seen is £3 seasoned tofu for 50p a pack, but you’ll usually find £1.99 yogurt for 99p or £1.40 vegan sandwich fillers for 70p.
There will also usually be a ‘reduced section’ for other food items in the store, such as crisps or dried pulses, which will get a red sticker when they’re short-dated. This could be no grander than a shopping basket full, or it could be a whole shelf depending on the size of your store.
You might not think of TK Maxx when you think of food, but it – along with its mostly homeware-selling sister store Homesense – does sell food products and they are reduced occasionally. We checked our local store, and we found items like biscuits, crisps, oils and pasta reduced with red stickers along with other home ware products, such as tea strainers (pictured above).
The reduced items are normally all found on one shelf in the homeware section of TK Maxx, or Homesense. The first sticker will be red, and might only be a reduction of 50p, but the trick is to look for items which have multiple overlaid stickers – if the last sticker is yellow, you’ll get a bigger discount on the original price. The tea strainer we found was marked down to £1, when it was £4.99 originally.
We asked TK Maxx for more details regarding its red/yellow sticker policy and it told us: “If our items aren’t snapped up after 4-6 weeks, we’ll mark them down and put them into our Clearance area. A couple of times a year we also have a Final Clearance event”. It’s worth bearing in mind this may mostly apply to clothes rather than food items – although we’ve seen both in its final clearance sale.
If your local Home Bargains has a chilled section for fresh food (not all stores do), as it’s cheap already you could be in for some reduced super-bargains. Look for a white receipt with black writing taped to the top of the product that normally states the ‘was’ and the reduced ‘now’ price with a barcode.
We saw couscous salads reduced from £1 to 50p and potato rostis reduced by the same amount. Fruit and vegetables are also sometimes reduced and placed in the same area.
We’ve checked and checked for reductions in B&M and found that you’re most likely to see them once a year on seasonal items like Christmas gift sets that contain food, such as a curry pan set that was reduced from £4.99 to £2.99, so you might not be able to save as often as elsewhere.
You’re more likely to get slightly more regular reductions on damaged tins of beans or open multi-packs of crisps than short-dated goods. If available, reduced items can usually be found alongside non-discounted products rather than in a separate section – look for a white sticker which normally has a handwritten price with no barcode.