SAVVY savers have revealed to Fabulous how to create bargain meals for just pennies – by carefully timing your supermarket visits and befriending staff.
Rach Dove paid just £6 for a haul of food which should have cost £32 including bread, sausages and pies. Meanwhile Rachel Luke got £35.60 of Morrison's food for £7.16.
They are one of a number of people who race to supermarkets just as staff are slapping on 'yellow stickers' – meaning food is being marked down in price.
They were inspired by the creator of Facebook pageYellow Sticker Family Cooking, a mum-of-two who since launching her page has seen it go from strength-to-strength.
The mum, who asked not to be named, only buys cut price food -but amazingly creates impressive dishes out of them.
She has now shared her amazing tips with Fabulous…. including how she she made five portions of chicken for her family using 20p chicken and just a handful of rice.
She also created a sweet and sour dish with chicken which scanned at just 10p.
And chicken costing 40p made eight soup portions and dinner for four.
Giving her tips, the mum said it was easy to save cash, revealing – despite having two kids – she spent just £25 a week on food.
She said "We are all trying to save money. Groceries are one of the biggest outgoings, especially for families.
"The average spend in a UK household of four people per week is reported to be as much as £150.
"As a family we spend so much less than this (average £25 per week).
"Prior to covid, I found our local Morrison's did a final markdowns at 5pm for regular items, bakery and counters were later between 7pm and 8pm.
"They then put out the following days reductions at the initial markdown price. Asda and Tesco were consistently around 7pm for final markdowns with initial markdowns happening early morning or overnight in 24 hour stores.
"My local Lidl did a final markdown in the early afternoon with standard 20p, 70p or 90p prices across the range.
"There initial markdown was the day prior to the best before date.Aldi appear to work on a 10%, 30% and 50% off sticker format however I am not familiar enough to comment on how that operates.
"Similarly my experience with Sainsbury's is very limited. Our local Mark's & Spencer do final markdowns around 5pm and initial markdowns early morning.
"I've picked up many excellent offers like chicken breasts for 20p, a large pork joint for £1.50 and several bakery items for 10p."
She said you couldn't expect the same experience in every store, adding: "I recommend to look at the reductions area when you go shopping and see what sort of reduction has been done and gauge from that whether it's too early or too late.
"It doesn't hurt to ask a store colleague who may be able to offer some insight. Obviously yellow sticker shopping isn't practical for everyone. Also it cannot be guaranteed anything will be available at the time or day you go shopping.
"There are lots of other ways to keep your weekly shop costs down.
I love Lidl and Aldi. The prices are so much better than the big supermarkets.
"Other discounters like Home Bargains and B&M are fabulous for picking up snacks, store cupboard essentials and household products.
"Meanwhile, try downshifting.The idea is swap one of everything you buy to something just one brand level lower. So if you usually buy branded butter try the supermarket finest or own brand version
"And love your freezer. Often bigger packs are cheaper than smaller packs. I invested in a second freezer to allow me to buy the bigger packs and either freeze what I don't use or cook meals in batches and freeze the complete meals for eating later.
"Additionally discount codes, cashback sites and loyalty card offers may be available. I tried Sainsbury's online a while ago and got £60 shopping with £20 off via a coupon I got when using my Nectar card.
"Easy tweaks include reducing the meat content of a mince dish replacing it with red lentils, bulk up a curry or stew with vegetables and get more portions at better value. Choose different cuts of meat. Chicken thighs are cheaper than breasts or it might work out better value to buy a whole chicken and use the leftovers another day. "
Her group member Rachel Luke echoed her advice, saying: "If you see a bargain but don’t particularly need it, always worth getting and freeze it down/batch cook for the freezer.
"Ask members of staff what times reductions will be made. Usually each store has a rough time of when this will be.
"Our Morrison’s are usually around 7pm so we head there for then.
"Don’t push and overcrowd staff while they’re trying to do the yellow sticking… it can be a bit of a free for all otherwise!"
Vote for your Fabulous Mum of the Year and WIN
Do you know a mum who deserves some extra recognition? We want to pay homage to the best mums in Britain.
During the pandemic they’ve been busy juggling childcare, homeschooling and work, with the added stress of worrying about the health of elderly relatives and vulnerable friends.
It’s never been a harder time to be a mum, so this year it’s even more important to honour the amazing women in our lives.
Nominate her for our Fabulous Mum Of The Year Award and she could win an overnight stay for two at a Champneys spa of her choice complete with a Gold package, which includes four relaxing treatments for the ultimate pampering experience.
Two runners-up will Champneys goodie bag worth £50 plus a £100 M&S voucher and £200 Nutmeg at Morrisons voucher, and all three mums will enjoy a makeover with our glam squad before taking part in a photo shoot for the magazine.
And you could win a £100 Tu at Sainsbury’s voucher, £200 Florence & Fred at Tesco voucher or £250 to spend at Primark just for entering.
If you want to nominate a mum then fill in the form here.
To enter, upload a photograph of the mum you are nominating and explain why they deserve to win.
The deadline for entries is Sunday February 14 and one winner and two runners-up will be announced on Sunday March 14. Good luck – we can’t wait to hear from you!
We also shared how a single mum keeps the shopping bill down – and she gets so much free food she ends up giving it away.
Plus a mum shares tips for making food last longer including storing jars upside down and wrapping greens in kitchen roll.
Another mum revealed how she feeds her whole family for just £25 a week – and there’s enough for guests too.
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