Here's our money saving guide to grabbing a supermarket bargain with reduced items.
Those yellow reduced stickers can potentially mean scoring FREE food, even if you may have to battle your way against other shoppers in what feels like a High Street version of Game of Thrones at times.
When to get the best reductions
Precisely when to get the best supermarket reductions can vary but the table below provides a rough guide. Remember the times will change depending on the day, for example Sunday's shorter trading hours will see earlier reductions.
Supermarket reduction times
|Up to 25% off
|Up to 50% off
|Up to 75% and up
Sources: StudentProfit / moneysavingexpert.com
Our tip: Waitrose is pretty good
Waitrose is generally the most expensive of the chain supermarkets but its price reductions are actually very good, in our experience actually better than those offered by Tesco, Asda and Sainsburys. A seemingly higher criteria for 'freshness' for their full priced products means that reductions come quicker and often prices are cut right down.
Aldi and Lidl also do price reductions
Budget supermarkets Aldi and Lidl also do price reductions, usually just as a flat percentage of 30%, although they seem to be much rarer to find.
When they do cut prices, both Aldi and Lidl tend to reduce their items at the start of the day as opposed to their rivals.
If you can, shop daily
If you've got a local shop then be sure to pop in regularly (e.g. on your way home from University or in the evening) to go deal hunting. Go with a focused mind for cheap and reduced food rather than getting distracted by things you don't need: Going home empty handed is fine!
Watch out for extra offers!
Waitrose and Tescos both honour most offers in conjunction with reduced items and this can sometimes end up leaving stuff completely FREE. Yes. FREE frickin' food.
If you're buying reduced goods you don't usually get much choice in what you get so buy whatever and try something new. Look up some good easy student recipes and get cooking!
NEVER buy if you definitely won't eat it
Remember, if you're not going to eat it (or have somewhere to keep it - see below) it's still a waste of money no matter how cheap it is. Don't be drawn in to buying things just because they're on offer...
But you can freeze it!
... but remember your freezer! You can freeze a lot of things (Here are 8 surprising foods you can freeze) from the obvious such as meat to stuff like cakes, bread and milk. By freezing food you can keep it for months beyond its use by date.
Check you actually get the reduced price
It's one thing having an item with a reduced label on it but whether or not you actually get that price at the checkout is another, so make sure. If using the self-checkout, scan the correct barcoded sticker to get the lower price.
Check your receipts and be quick to flag up any issues or discrepancies with Customer Service.