How much does your weekly shop cost? Whatever it is, there’s every chance that you could cut that bill down.
We buy too much and it goes to waste; we buy too little then spend out on ’emergency’ purchases at the super-expensive local convenience store.Well, for one savvy bargain hunter, it was time to see where improvements could be made to trimming his shopping bill. And it’s all down to yellow stickers.
Tom Church, a 26-year-old Londoner, is very much a bargain enthusiastic. Now, we all love a great bargain, but for Tom it’s a real passion. Part of that passion was a love of the yellow stickers supermarkets slap on products that can’t be sold at full price because they might be running out of date or the packaging has been damaged. Often, customers can pick up a real bargain with these apparently ‘flash deals’. Unlike Tom, however, few of us exclusively purchase these discounted items.
Last year, Tom decided that when shopping in supermarkets, those yellow stickered products were all he would buy. Speaking of the self-imposed challenge, he said:
At first my friends laughed. They said I was obsessed. But one day I invited them for dinner and cooked lobster with champagne. I showed them the receipt at the end – less than four pounds. They were gobsmacked.
And the result netted him an impressive saving of £3,400. Now he’s giving away the secrets to his success, with five quick tips to save on your shopping, saying, ‘Families could save even more than I did – thousands of pounds. And it’s really simple to get started. Just look for yellow stickers.’
Here’s how he did it, and how you can too…
1. Know when yellow sticker items go out
Every supermarket will offer yellow sticker discounts at different times of the day – so Tom recommends visiting during those ‘golden hours’. To keep on track of when these were, Tom drew up a general list: At 8am, Tesco sells 25% reductions, lowering them to 50% at 4pm, and at 8pm, items are reduced by 75%. Sainsbury’s, meanwhile, discounts items by 25% at 1pm, 50% at 5pm and 75% at 8pm.
2. Get friendly with the staff
If you’re unsure of what time discounts are offered there are really two options: You sit and watch and wait like a spy. Or you talk to the staff. Tom says, ‘I recommend asking a member of staff where and when the best offers come out. Don’t be shy – they bag the best bargains for themselves! While there are some trends, every supermarket is different. So, ask a staff member and get in there a little bit early.’
3. Bulk-buy those discounts
Tom says he found it infuriating when he wanted to cook a particular recipe. Sure, some of the ingredients might be on sale, but others would still be at full price. To get around this problem, he ‘eventually learned to buy in bulk when things were available and stash them in the freezer.’
4. Visit supermarkets every day
Ok, it may not sound particularly glamorous – and you’re no doubt pretty busy anyway-but Tom suggests that visiting the supermarket every day is a good idea. You may not buy something every time you’re in there, but you also increase the chance of finding something you do want, at the price you want it.
5. Check out Waitrose
Waitrose has a bit of a reputation for being expensive – at least, relative to rivals like Asda or Tesco. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t offer similar discounts. Indeed, since the prices are much higher to begin with, the savings you’ll make will be even bigger when they do drop. Tom does offer a word to the wise here, though, explaining that you won’t find any yellow stickers in Waitorse; they’re red.
Although Tom’s yellow sticker-only challenge has come to an end, it’s certainly changed the way he shops. ‘The majority of what I buy is still reduced-to-clear,’ he claims. ‘I’m like a bee to honey with yellow stickers.’ And thanks to the bargain hunter’s knowledge and cunning, we could all be soon.