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Cutting Waste, Food

Reduced stickers | The reasons why I don’t actively seek Whoopsies stickers and reduced labels out

A supermarket aisle.

I have nothing against reduced stickers, money-off labels and Whoopsie discount bargains. In fact, I have a few in my own freezer. I’ve also been known to buy the odd Too Good To Go magic bag

When I visit the supermarket, I always give the shelf a cursory glance for yellow reduced stickers as I walk past, because I might spot an item I can add to a dump bag, or something I can throw into the slow cooker. or some ingredients to make a tasty smoothie with. However, I don’t actively seek them out and I wouldn’t describe doing so as a money saving hack. Here I explain why.

Yellow reduced sticker hunting - not a hack icon - Claire St

Reduced sticker timings

All of the supermarkets discount their food at different times. Some at 4pm, some at 7pm, some early in the morning. You have to really get to know your local supermarket to catch the bargains. However, you may go and leave disappointed, because sometimes hardly anything is discounted. Imagine making the trip especially and not leaving with anything. 

Buying for buying’s sake

If something has a few pence knocked off, you may be inclined to buy it. But if you’re not that keen on it, then what’s the point? I ended up with a tub of cocktail sausages once, just because they were £1.50 instead of £3. Nobody in the house even likes cocktail sausages. There’s also a packet of 20% fat beef mince in my freezer, which was only £1.25, so I couldn’t leave it. But I usually cook with Quorn mince and if I was to cook with beef, I’d choose a lean cut. So I’ve been avoiding using my bargain and it’s been sat in the freezer for months. 

The scrum for food with money off stickers and labels

If you’ve ever been at your local supermarket five minutes before they typically reduce food then you’ll know what I’m talking about. It can be like feeding time at the zoo, with people pushing one another out of the way for some discounted ham. It’s not always a pleasant experience and I’ve even heard about fights breaking out over reductions

Are you making a clear and firm saving?

It’s one thing spotting a whole chicken for 19p and quite another buying one that has a 19p reduction. Something might have a yellow sticker on, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting a bargain. 

You will also need to think about where you’re storing the cut-price item you’ve managed to buy. If you don’t have room in the freezer, then you may have a matter of days to eat it. If you end up throwing your discounted bag of salad in the bin when you’re next cleaning out your fridge, then in reality you haven’t saved a thing. In fact, you’ve wasted money and generated some additional food waste to boot.

Do you really need to buy reduced?

The thing that really put me off seeking out discounted food and money-off labels, was an experience that I had in my local supermarket. I was hovering around at 7pm when I spotted a family that looked hungry. Of course, I don’t know that for sure, but this stopped me in my tracks and made me wonder if I should be actively seeking out discounted food and low priced products if I can afford to buy it at full price.

Stopping at one…

Sometimes you will glance into the reduced fridge and see loads of goodies on offer. But even if you see six packets of 10 chicken breasts for 50p, you should consider buying just one. You might think it’s an absolute find and you may calculate that you’ll save loads of cash over the next few months by buying and storing them. But what if the person that arrives after you really is hungry? And what if they’re struggling to feed their family? By all means get in on the reduced action, but think about that before you throw all of the chicken that has a money-off sticker on it, into your basket. 

The picture a supermarket aisle. The picture is taken from behind a trolley. There is food on the shelfs. Over the picture the text reads: ‘hacks (with a cross through it, to indicate that this isn’t actually a hack): the reasons why I don’t aim to save money by actively seeking out yellow reduced stickers’.

Is it worth buying items with low price stickers?

If you’re looking for ways to save money on a tight budget and you need to save the pennies where you can, then you should absolutely seek out reduced labels and Whoopsie bargains. I totally appreciate that any one of us could hit a stumbling block in life, where seeking out these discounts is something we have to do. I would not hesitate to do the same if we were struggling to balance the family books. I’d be scrumming with the best of them if I needed to put a meal on my son’s plate. But unless you’re in that situation, I think there are other ways to save money.

In the hunt for money off labels, you often have to go at certain times in order to catch the best discounts, which can be inconvenient. Sometimes you end up buying food you wouldn’t usually, because it’s a few pence cheaper and sometimes you don’t end up with anything at all. 

That said, I genuinely think the concept of reduced labels is great. Of course food shouldn’t be wasted and it’s nice to stumble across a bargain. However, I don’t believe that actively seeking out yellow reduced stickers is a money-saving hack. It’s a survival hack. 

I appreciate that we all have different thoughts on this and I’d love to hear yours below. This isn’t the only ‘hack’ that hasn’t worked for me, despite working for others. I’m not a fan of no risk matched betting either, because I don’t think it exists.