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. 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.
- Look for orange stickers, most often with a percentage discount – we found 30% off already reduced bread
- Check chilled section for reductions, we found sausages, bacon and yoghurts.
- Keep your eyes peeled for reduced items among non-reduced items as well as in a special reduced section.
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.
- Check reduction sections – we found a sunflower oil cooking spray reduced from £1.99 to 99p.
- Non-food items such as books, plates and skin care are also often 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. If your local is a high-street store and you’re on a late lunch, it’s worth a look.
- Look for a red and white sticker which states the price – we’ve seen sandwiches and sides for 50p.
- Check high-street stores after 2pm – usually starting on a Wednesday.
- Other stores, eg, inside train stations might not have discounts until later in the day, but worth a quick check.
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.
- Look for a red sticker in the chilled fridge – we’ve seen discounts of 50% or more including £3 seasoned tofu for 50p a pack, £1.99 yogurt for 99p or £1.40 vegan sandwich fillers for 70p.
- Look for red stickers in a shopping basket or a whole shelf ‘reduced section’ for other food items, such as crisps or dried pulses, which will get a red sticker when they’re short-dated.
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.
- Look for multiple overlaid stickers for the biggest discounts – if red stickers (which could only be a 50p discount) are overlaid by a yellow sticker it’s at its max discount which could be up to 90% off, we found a tea strainer marked down to £1, when it was £4.99 originally (pictured above).
- We found items like biscuits, crisps, oils and pasta reduced with red stickers along with other home ware products, such as tea strainers or bowls all found on one shelf in the homeware section of TK Maxx, or Homesense.
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.
- Look for a white sticker which normally has a handwritten price with no barcode. If available, reduced items can usually be found alongside non-discounted products rather than in a separate section.
- We found you’re more likely to get reductions on damaged tins of beans or open multi-packs of crisps than short-dated goods.