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My rules to making sure I get the best value from reduced food – and don’t get carried away by the yellow stickers.

If you regularly read my blog, you’ll know that even though I love getting a bargain, I’m a realist too and will pay what I need to pay for the life I enjoy (yes, even if it is full price).

But I’m pretty disciplined and rarely buy things I don’t need. I’m a lean, mean saving machine. I’ll always find the best deal, and I’ll always make sure I’m getting the best value for my money.

Well, nearly always. I have a slight money saving problem. I’m addicted to the yellow reduced stickers in the supermarket.

My yellow sticker addiction

What’s the harm in that you might say? Well, I’ve become aware (isn’t acknowledgement the first step to sorting a problem?) that I can’t walk past a supermarket without wanting to check for reduced items.

I do sometimes just think about it and carry on walking, but if I’m honest it’s only because a) I’m going somewhere, or b) the freezer is already full.

But pretty much every other time I’ll pop in to see what’s there. Most nights after work I’ll go to the Sainsburys under my office (often chock-full of yellow stickered items), then past the tube station a few meters to the M&S Simply Food, just in case there are big reductions.

Going the extra mile

Sometimes I’ll take a longer walk to a different station. I say it’s a fitness thing, simply getting a little exercise in, but a big part of it for me is seeing if I can pick up some bargains at the Sainsburys, Co-op, Tesco, M&S and another Tesco I’ll go past on the way.

Bizarrely this is only with supermarkets, not other shops. I can easily walk past places selling clothes, tech and trinkets and not even notice massive sale signs.

Far too excited

Once in the supermarket, big or small, I’ll generally make a bee line for the reduced-to-clear aisles. The limit to what I buy is really down to the space in the freezer or if I’ll be at home enough to eat the food before it goes off.

If some mince costs £4 and is reduced to £3.60 I’ll probably ignore it. If it’s £3 I’ll consider it. When it’s down to £2 I’ll snap it up. If it gets towards £1 I’ll be far more excited than a grown man should be by the price of mince.

Some self control

I do have some dignity. I won’t hang around while the shop staff are reducing, ready to pounce, but I do loop around the aisles and come back, which is only slightly less stalkerish.

I’m also not someone who times my supermarket trips for the biggest reductions, though I expect I would if I knew when that was!

My four rules for buying reduced food

Of course, getting reduced food is a good way to save cash. The haul in the main photo should have cost £30 but I only paid £7.50 – and I could have got more if I had space in the freezer!

I’m not sure how to stop my addiction to yellow reduced stickers other than just willpower, but to make sure I don’t spend for the sake of it, I’ve come up with these four rules.

I only buy what I need

Food waste is a huge problem in this country, both ethically and financially. So I’m sure to only buy reduced food I’m confident I can eat or freeze before it goes off.

I only buy food I’d want at full price

In the past I’ve been guilty of buying reduced food just because it’s cheap. But now, even if that pasty is only 20p, I won’t buy it. It’s better I pay full price and enjoy what I’m eating!

I only buy if it’s a ‘good’ reduction

Simply because it’s got a yellow sticker doesn’t make it a good price. Mysupermarket is a great app to test whether it’s actually cheaper on offer elsewhere.

I’ll check my receipt

It’s easy to miss something going through at full price – just last week I was paid £2 too much.

>> Read my tips for non’t getting caught out by special offers at the supermarket




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