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Thursday, 10 July 2014

Why i love sticker shopping.


If anyone has read any of my previous posts they will know my love of reduced food. At one point we relied heavily on reduced food to give us enough food for the week. The problem with reduced food shopping is it is rather hit or miss. Some weeks we found we had much less food than we needed and me and hubby skipped alot of meals so that the kids had enough. Since he has found work, we have a more manageable grocery allowance. It is still low and reduced food still plays a big part in topping our shopping up or providing my family with treats, but i can now budget on a more realistic level. I am very loyal Tesco shopper. I know where i stand with their food and in 12 years of shopping there, i have only ever had issues twice - once recently with opened packaging (presumably where no care had been taken with packing) and once  10 years ago with meat which was off when it arrived (it was an online shop). When we were really skint though, i shopped in different stores and i maximised the sticker foods i brought.

This week i had a very low £30 shopping budget. I had food in the freezer and i never planned to buy anything reduced. I only planned a top up shop ready for my big shop next week. However we were out late on Tuesday and i wanted to pop into Tesco to pick something quick up for dinner, as we did not get home till gone 9pm.
This is what we ended up picking up.


The items in this picture come to around £4. 

This lot including some full priced items which were eaten that night, cost us a total of £20.45p. The reduced items that are missing are:
  • A pack of cooked chicken - £2.50 - was £5
  • A 500g tub of Tesco finest coleslaw - 40p - was £2
  • A pack of Tesco finest peeled potatoes - 30p - £2
  • A pack of Tesco finest crispy potato slice - 30p - was £1.70
  • 2 packs of grapes - 19p each - was £2 each pack. 
  • A pack of 5 doughnuts - 50p - was £1
  • A pack of turkey breast - £1.10 - was £3.60
  • A pack of stir fry mix - 30p - was £1.70
  • A 16 pack of richmond sausages - £1.20 - was £4 
I also brought full price £9.45 worth of items. 

Here is some close ups of what i have brought - it has been in the freezer overnight which is why some is frozen - it was all fresh though. 




Excuse the open peaches - Hubby felt the need to scoff one :D 

I didn't show you all this haul to brag, this is a typical weeks saving for us. We brought home well over £60 worth of food for a quarter of the price. This is pretty standard for us and we tend to have a mix of food throughout the month, meat one week, bread another, fruit and veg etc. I am also aware that it is not always possible for some to shop like this, or perhaps when you do shop, sticker foods are not around. What i did want to do though was to give people, based solely on my experience, a time frame that shops are reducing their food. 

*I must stress that it is area dependant and dependant on the size of the store and how much of a particular item they need to mark down* 

I must also stress that there will ALWAYS be a group of people who shop solely for sticker foods. There will ALWAYS be pushy ones who grab everything they can then sit and sift through their haul to decide what they want. These people will usually wander around the store from 4pm -11pm waiting for the final final reductions - when items go down to 1p-5p. They will put their trolley in front of you to block you getting to the items, they will push your children or you out of the way. Sticker shopping is not for the over sensitive. If you really want to have a good go at it, then be prepared for abit of pushing and shoving, maybe some swearing and some dirty looks and do NOT go near it with a buggy when they bring the stuff out, if they hit your child in the face with their basket it gets you out the way.... honestly it does get that petty, me and hubby have walked away many times because it is just too much effort. I can promise you though, the feeling of walking away with food you know your family will love is far better than getting wound up over arrogant people like that. 

Tesco:

Our local is a superstore. It is around mid size with a very small clothing department and is a 24 hour store. Due to some issues with some very rude sticker shoppers, our store changes the times that they bring reduced food out on a weekly basis. Food in our store is generally reduced down to final reductions between 7pm -9pm.

Tesco local:

Our local store reduce food by a quarter really early in the day. It is not till around 7-8pm that they do final reductions. At around 10pm- 10.30pm anything left over is knocked down to 95% off retail price. 

Asda:

Our local asda is tiny. It concentrates mainly on its clothing - which sometimes has great bargains. Our nearest Asda superstore is 2 buses away but, it is mahoosive! We went down their at 3pm over the june holidays and they just had tonnes of stuff marked down to nearly final reductions. We brought home and entire 2-2/12 weeks of shopping for just £45 after discounts and there was still plenty left over. I have noticed from other stores. The reduced time varies but is generally between 5pm -10pm.

Morrisons:

We have a little local near us who reduce very little if i am honest. When they do however it is around 7pm -8pm. I very rarely use this store though so times may change. The larger morrisons we have found reduce hardly anything. We have been an hour before closing on a sunday and walked out with 1 loaf of bread alongside our shopping. We went once at 7pm though and pretty much done a whole shop with reduced items. As i do not shop in morrisons, i suspect they vary their times. As they do push their fresh items though i suspect if you can find out what time your local store does, you may well be ok. 

Sainsburys:

The smaller local stores reduce their items the same time as Tesco local - between 7pm -10pm. The larger stores vary. The sainsburys i worked at reduced them throughout the day in a similar way to Asda. Final reductions are mostly between 8pm-10pm in our local large store. 

Iceland:

Very occasionally, Iceland reduce some foods to half price at 9am-9.30am. This is typically fresh meat but some stores have a separate freeze for reduced frozen food. It is very hit and miss but just a bargain if you find any while in there. 

Co- Op:

This is my favourite store for reduced bread. Our local store shuts at 8pm. At 6pm-7.30pm, fresh foods are on their final reductions. As it is a small store there is rarely any trouble as there is plenty to go round. 

Grocers/butchers/bakers:

All of our local ones reduce their products to dirt cheap an hour before closing. It is very hit and miss and they only tend to bring out what they expect to need for the day but like Iceland, it is just a bargain if you do buy it. 

Farmfoods/Aldi/Lidl:

These are not stores i am very familiar with. I personally can not stand Aldi or Lidl so will not shop in there. Farmfoods i suspect is like Iceland and either have anything or they don't.  

Like i said before, this is based on local stores to me. I would advise if you can, to pop down at various times throughout the week. All stores have to shift that days food by midnight. As soon as that clock hits 00.00am that food from the minute before can not be sold to customers. (excluding if its already in your basket/trolley when you are walking around the store) Rather than throw in the bin, they will reduce and keep reducing, sometimes to 1p. They want it sold and you want a bargain. Some stores give alot of their non sold items to charities but ideally they want people to buy it. If you can get to a store between 6pm-10pm, have a look around, get a feel for where the reduced sections are. Maybe experience how other customers act when the marked down foods are brought out. Then decide if it for you. 

Why do i love sticker shopping? 

I can finally answer that now :) I mentioned we had a very small budget this week. I would not have been able to buy alot, my shopping would have been mainly frozen veg, and mainly casseroles, stews or soups this week had i not brought the amount of sticker food i did. My kids would have only had satsumas or apples like they do each week and barring the meat being fresh, i think me and Gareth would be skipping meals or eating the leftovers i had pre frozen. My kids now have fresh raspberries, grapes, salad, nice healthy foods. They are also not my usual everyday value brand meaning they get much nicer foods. Some say i should be embarrassed, ashamed of what i do, but i have to save money. There is not any room for me to go 1p over what i have planned as it simply is not there. Am i ashamed or embarrassed? No i am not. I have 2 growing kids to feed and they come first. Sticker shopping means i can feed them good quality food and give them a healthy varied diet on my budget. With the money i save, i can buy extra for the freezer, or treat them to some ice cream or the biscuits they very rarely have. It also means they can try foods they have never tried before. Thanks to Tuesday's shop, my girls tried a gooseberry for the first time ever. 3 weeks ago they tried a pomegranate. Last week they tried apricots. Definitely worth it just for that :D 

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