Savvy shopper saves by purchasing yellow sticker discounted food01/03/2022
Savvy shopper reveals she keeps her entire household spending down to just £130 a month by ONLY shopping discounted yellow sticker items – and ‘resents’ when she has to pay full-price at the supermarket
- Ellen, 35, from East Midlands, became the breadwinner in her household in 2011
- Reduced spending to make ends meet by raiding supermarket reduced sections
- Thrifty shopper freezes bargain buys and experiments with cost-effective meals
A woman who cooks every meal with reduced yellow sticker items has revealed how she spends just £130 on groceries each month thanks to her thrifty buys.
Ellen, 35, from the East Midlands, raids the reduced section of the supermarket for bargain ingredients to cook all of her dishes during every shop.
The savvy shopper, who did not share her surname, began shopping frugally a decade ago, when she found herself as the main breadwinner while caring for her husband, who struggled to find employment due to disability.
She now spends a total of £130 a month on everything from cleaning products and pet supplies to household items and food, all by shopping for discounted items at the end of the day.
Ellen said: ‘I feel a bit resentful when we have to go buy a loaf of bread during the daytime and pay full price for it, when I could pay a fraction in the evening.’
Ellen, 35, from East Midlands, saves on average £350 annually by raiding the reduced section of the supermarket for bargain ingredients to cook all of her dishes
She began frugal shopping over a decade ago in 2011, when she found herself as the main breadwinner while caring for her husband, who struggled to find employment due to disability (pictured, just a few of her finds)
With mortgage payments piling up, Ellen was working six to seven days a week to make ends meet as the main breadwinner in her family.
She became determined to find ways to reduce the couple’s spending.
Some of her biggest bargains to date include a whole chicken for 89p and a container of milk for 15p.
Ellen explained their £130 a month or £32.50 a week budget includes toiletries, cat food and litter as well as cleaning products, food and drink.
She said they’ve maintained the same budget for years but purchasing yellow sticker items allows it to go further.
She said: ‘It gives me a thrill to find a good deal or bargain for us, [but] it is very much done out of necessity.
Ellen looks for bargains wherever she can when shopping in the supermarket, finding savings on everything from milk to bread and baked goods (left and right)
Ellen revealed frugal shopping has also encouraged her to experiment with making new recipes (Pictured: Reduced sticker items from Asda – including grapes for 30p)
Last weekend, Ellen was able to buy bread, chicken and vegetables from Tesco for just £3.68 (pictured left) as well as groceries from Coop for £2.37 (pictured right)
‘I got into saving and saving tips because we only have one income and my husband has been under- or unemployed for years.
Examples of some of Ellen’s savviest finds in the supermarket
Three packs of butter – £1.47
Two packs of chicken skewers – £2
Pork joint – £1.50
Packet of spinach – 24p
Whole chicken – 89p
Carton of milk – 15p
Loaf of bread – 34p
Grapes – 30p
‘We have student debt, a mortgage plus a 15-month fight for my husband to be awarded Personal Independence Payment.
‘This has meant that every penny and pound counts for us and I want to spend our money as wisely as possible.’
Last year, she saved over £320 on her food shopping and plans to save even more this year.
And in previous years, including during the pandemic, she saved even more, at £372.45, and hopes for a bigger discount haul in 2022.
The frugal shopper explained: ‘The most cost-effective are meals that fill you up, and that you can get something out of over several days.’
The thrifty shopper has also tried new recipes – including cooking up a vegetarian lasagna last year from knock-down mushrooms, spinach and aubergines.
Ellen said: ‘I’d say the most cost effective meal for us is to roast a chicken.
‘We then have dinner one night, leftover chicken we can eat in sandwiches, a salad or use in a pie with gravy, or make coronation chicken filler with.
‘I then pick, clean and freeze the bones and when I have enough, I make chicken stock and then soup.
Ellen (pictured) advised others hoping to keep costs low to buy items which can be used in multiple meals
Ellen explained that it is cost effective to make roast dinner because leftover meat can be used for sandwiches, salad or even a pie (Pictured: Reduced sticker foods)
‘Potatoes is also a great filler as they’re cheap, versatile and nutritious.’
Ellen explained the key to keeping costs low is to buy items that can be used in multiple meals – and not buying goods on a whim just because they are reduced.
Her top tips include shopping in supermarkets at particular times and freezing bargain buys.
She explained: ‘When I see bread and other baked goods reduced, I buy two or more so I can freeze it.
‘Some of my biggest savings have been three packs of butter, full price £5.85, instead I paid £1.47.
Ellen explained the key to keeping costs low is to buy items that can be used in multiple meals – and not buying goods on a whim just because they are reduced (pictured)
The savvy shopper advised making the full use of the freezer to store products for longer, including bread, meats and vegetables (left and right)
‘I bought two packs of £8 chicken skewers for £2. I’ve managed to get a pork joint for £1.50 and a packet of spinach for 24p.’
Ellen’s top tips for saving money at the supermarket
1. Look at what there is to buy reduced price, think about what you would make with the food you are buying
2. Find out at what times the stores in your areas reduce their goods and at what time their reduction is the greatest
3. Find out what part of the store the reductions are kept in
4. Buys seasonal goods – such as for Halloween, Christmas etc – once the holiday is over, because the items are often much cheaper
‘I won’t buy something I am unsure of or I am not confident we will be able to use up.’
Ellen is also a member of Co-op, which allows her to utilise coupons for better deals.
And to save even more money, she sometimes buys seasonal goods – such as for Halloween or Christmas – once the holiday is over, because the items are often much cheaper.
She said: ‘I saved money this way by finding a beautiful themed birthday cake greatly reduced for my husband two months before his birthday.
‘There is no way we could have afforded the birthday cake if it was full price.’
The yellow label trick has made a huge difference to her and her husband’s day-to-day life.
She said: ‘Saving means that we can live well for not much money and buy things we normally would be outside our price range.
‘It means we can spend money on other things we need and pay down more on our debt.’
Meanwhile she said friends and family have been blown away by her bargain buys.
She said: ‘Reactions from family and friends is positive.
Ellen revealed how her family and friends are ‘often ‘chuffed’ when she finds a bargain in the supermarket, and she will often share snaps with them to showcase her shop
‘They are chuffed I find a bargain – and I often send a picture to the family chat or to my friends to show them my latest finds.
‘It also benefits them, because if I find something reduced in abundance that I know they use or that will keep, I will buy them one as well.
‘My husband likes my finds and is amazed by how much money I can save doing it – though he says (and I agree) that I am more than a little bit obsessed with yellow stickers and getting a bargain.’
She advises those keen to reduce their food bill to visit at particular times and freeze their shops where possible.
She added: ‘It’s well worth it but you have to be organised.
Ellen said buying yellow sticker items has given her the opportunity to purchase things that would normally be outside the couple’s price range
‘Look at what there is to buy reduced price, think about what you would make with the food you are buying.
‘Lots of food will freeze well and you can save money by finding reduced food and then freezing it.
‘Find out at what times the stores in your areas reduce their goods and at what time their reduction is the greatest.
‘Also find out what part of the store the reductions are kept in.’
Ellen said they spend their savings on other things and have been able to pay down more on their debt. Pictured: Reduced foods from Coop
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