Trying to find the best bargains at the supermarket can be difficult at the best of times when you’re battling with BOGOFs and price per unit. Try to keep in mind some key points and you’ll be sure to bag the best deal on your food shop.
We all love a bargain. That’s why you read this blog, right? However, it’s not a bargain if you can’t use it.
When we buy reduced food items at the supermarket we still expect them to be edible. Here are some points to consider when hunting out that rock-bottom priced product:
Supermarket size matters
A larger store is more likely to have better offers than a smaller store. You will also find the reduced price may be more in the smaller store, as they tend to charge more for their products, even though they’re the same company. This is mainly due to location. They are often situated in city centres and areas with high rates, whereas the larger stores are usually on the outskirts of the city or town.
Make some new friends
Although it may be possible to meet people in the supermarket and develop a lifelong friendship, that’s not what I’m talking about here.
The friends you need to make are the butcher, the baker and the … no, not the candlestick maker … the store manager.
With the butcher and the baker, it is best to seek out the head of the department. They are the decision makers, in the main.
You need to know when they reduce items. This can vary from store to store and maybe even day to day. Tell them you’re on a budget and how much you adore their store and want to be a loyal customer (flattery gets you everywhere), but you need to be a savvy shopper and you would appreciate it if they could help make that easier.
After about 6pm is probably a good time to visit most stores for reductions but, if that’s not practical, you need to find a time that is.
However, some stores are cutting back offering yellow stickered food. Co-op are stopping food reductions and passing it onto charities instead.
Best thing since sliced bread
With regards to the bakery, sliced bread which has been baked on the premises may be older than the non-sliced bread, so you could try to negotiate a better price on a sliced loaf with the same Use By date as a non-sliced.
Use By, Best Before, Sell By, Display Until … Confused?
Be careful when buying meat at a reduced price. Make sure you follow all storage instructions on the packaging.
Most people get confused by the different dates that appear on the packaging. To summarise:
- Best Before – this is more about the quality of the product, than how safe it is to eat, unless it’s eggs. The Best Before date of eggs is usually less than or equal to 28 days after they were laid. Past this time and, if present, Salmonella bacteria may multiply.
- Use By – the product should be used by the end of this date. All storage instructions on the packaging should be followed.
- Display Until and Sell By – These are used more to help with stock control in the store and are mainly for the benefit of the staff.
Manners cost nothing
My mother loved this saying and she was right. It’s a freebie that everyone can benefit from.
If someone came up to me at work and started demanding I do what they want, without a please, thank you or smile, I would be reluctant to help.
Be nice. As I said before, flattery gets you everywhere. You don’t need to tell them how nice they look, or that you admire their ‘Happy to Help’ badge. Just be courteous.
Fed up over overspending at the supermarket? Me too! That’s why I’ve launched my very own Reduce Your Supermarket Spend community over on Facebook. Come and join us and start saving today.
Percentage reductions for Use By
Ask what percentage reduction there will be on products over different periods of time. For example:
- Use By is next day = 25%
- Use By is current day = 50%
- Use By is current day but after 6pm = 75%
Love your freezer
Remember, most items can be frozen until later. As mentioned earlier, be careful with items such as meat.
Bread can be made into breadcrumbs and frozen.
Some of the cheaper seasonal vegetables, such as carrots and parsnips can be boiled for a few minutes and then frozen.
Bananas can be sliced and put into freezer bags and frozen. These can later be used in smoothies or to make a healthy banana ice-cream, just by blending it for a few seconds.
It’s all about timing and being friendly with staff. Take a few minutes out of your shop to have some banter. You may find out information to help you get those quality reduced items and it could even make your shopping experience more enjoyable.
- Stop Being Seduced by Supermarket Tricks
- Muscle Food is Not Just For Fitness Fanatics
- How I Plan My Supermarket Shop
What’s the best bargain you’ve found in the supermarket?
Wendy is a writer and blogger for WR Editorial. She has been a lifelong saver, after growing up in a thrifty household. She is interested in leading a healthy lifestyle, without the huge price tag.