Reducing the food bill

This page will be for tracking my Yellow Sticker bargains, that is, the food I buy which is about to go out of date, and has been marked down. I am interested in working out how much money I save over a three month period. Some supermarkets generally start marking down mid afternoon, then again at around 5 or 6 pm, and a third markdown usually happens at about 7.30pm. They all have their own system, you need to get to know your own supermarket by visiting at different times. Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons all mark down. My own Aldi does not, I don't know about Lidl, I don't shop there.

It's always worth looking for reduced stock at other shops as well, though the choice will be limited. I know Poundstretcher mark down and so do Wilko's. Look for bins near the tills, or reduced stickers close to the checkouts.

This challenge is to get my food bill down really low. I shall still be buying my normal food, but that won't be recorded here. So, let's start now with today's shopping. I'll put the reduced price in bold first then the full price.

Starting this up again. Will track my yellow sticker shopping for another month. Trying to simplify this, to save time I am not totaling it up, you can see how much I have saved per item.


26th June 2014
Big Tesco. 8.38pm
2 bags spinach 10p each was £1 each
1 bag baby leaf salad 13p was £1.30
2 bags spring salad leaves 15p each was £1.50 each
1 bag organic broccoli 25p was £2.50
1 bag donuts 30p was 60p
1 swede 8p was 80p
2 bags butternut squash and sweet potato 13p each was £1.30 each
1 pack sliced mushrooms 10p was £1.00
2 tubs houmous 10p each was £1 each
1 pack stupped mushrooms 25p was £2.50
2 boxes frozen onion bhajis 25p each was £1 each
1 pack organic mushrooms 10p was £1.00
2 bags brussel sprouts 15p each was £1.75 each
1 bag potatoes 14p was £1.35
1 cauliflower 10p was £1.00
2 melons 18p each was £1.75 each
half cucumber 3p was 35p
Total paid less vouchers £3.10 was £31.00
A good haul.

21st June 2014
Small Tesco. 7pm
Tortilla wraps 40p  :  was £1.40
Benecol yogurt 36p  :  was £1.35

12th June 2014
Big Tesco 8.40 pm
Iceberg lettuce 5p  :  was 49p
Salad bowl 22p  :  was £2.20
3 packs of prepared vegetables. 10p each 30p  ;  was £1 each. £3.00
Mixed veg 13p  :  was £1.30
Bag veg 13p  :  was £1.30
Pasta salad 22p  :  was £2.15
3 pots Pepper salad 22p each 66p  :  was £2.15 each  £6.45
2 pots houmous 10p each. 20p  :  was £1 each,  £2.00
Pasta salad 14p  :  was £1.35
Noodles 12p  was  £1.20
Shredded icerberg 13p  :  was £1.25
Rocket salad 10p  :  was £1.00
Mixed salad 15p  :  was £1.50
Houmous 15p  :  was £1.50
2 bags watercress 13p each, 26p  :  was £1.25 each, £2.50
Seeded bread 21p  :  was 85p
2 packs pancakes 20p each, 40p  was 80p each, £1.60
Jam doughnuts 30p  :  was 60p

10th June 2014 4.33pm.
Small Tesco
Bag bananas 73p  :  was £1.35
Bag root veg 41p  :  was £1.00
Total spent £1.14  was £2.35

5th June 2014
Small Tesco. 5.10pm
Iceberg lettuce. 37p  :  was 49p
4 nectarines. 54p  :  was £1.00
Mushrooms 41p  : was £1.00
Total spent £1.31  was £2.49

Co op. 5.21pm
Seeded loaf 23p  :  was 90p
Grapes 55p  :  was £2
Total spent 78p  was £2.90

29th May 2014
Small Tesco. 3.54pm
3 Wholemeal loaves at 28p each. 84p  : was £4.35
2 packs cherry tomatoes at 30p each. 60p  : was £1.80
1 Camembert 250 grm  17p  : was £1.73
3 packs of 200grm cheddar cheese at 16p each. 48p  :  was £4.74
Butternut squash 42p  :was £1.00
Total spent £2.51. was £13.62
Spar 4.15pm
2 packs of tomatoes 40p each. 80p  : £1.70
Cucumber 30p. was 59p
Total spent £1.10  was £2.29

22nd May 2014
I had a break from this while I went on holiday. I'll start it up again. Last night I went to Tesco and found a few yellow stickers. As most of the goods were loose, then bagged up, weighed and priced I'm not sure what the original price was. At 9pm they were reduced to pennies. So, I got lots of bananas, carrots, and parsnips for a fraction of the original price. Also a swede, apples, mushrooms, prepared fruit. This shop cost £29 and will last two weeks. There were some cat items in there, so not all my food.

24th April 2014
Small Tesco 4.55pm
2 packs mixed vegetables 62p  :  £2.60
Beansprouts 22p  :  60p
Sliced green beans 18p  :  £1.50
Angel slices 53p  :  £1.65
Beans were free as part of buy 2 get 1 free.
10p off voucher used.
Total spent £1.27  :  was £6.75

17th April 2014
Big Tesco 6.25pm on the way back from a day out.
Savoy cabbage. 24p  :  40p
Allinson wholemeal loaf. 60p  :  £1.20
Total spent 84p  :  was £1.60

Didn't find any yellow stickers when I went to the three shops on Tuesday so I didn't buy anything at all. Managing on what I have. Eating the curried veggie stew I have in the freezer.

10th April 2014
Big Tesco. 6.25pm  Called in on the way back from a day out.
2 packs of potato cakes.  40p  :  £1.00
Pancakes. 30p  :  75p
Crumpets. 30p  :  75p
Mushrooms. 39p  :  £1.00
Grapes. £1.18  :  £2.00
Seeded bread loaf. 60p  :  £1.50
Total spent £3.17 : was  £7.00

7th April 2014
Small Tesco. 5.17pm
Large tub Greek yogurt  62p  :  £1.89
Coleslaw  30p  :  67p
Bag spinach  41p  :  £1.00
Total spent £1.33  :  was £3.56

Small Spar shop. 5.29pm
Cauliflower 60p  :  £1.16
2 packs of Welshcakes.  40p  :  £3.50
Total spent £1.00  :  was £4.66

4th April 2014
Small Tesco. 4.37pm
Bag curly kale  30p  :  £1
Muller yogurt (4 pack) 59p  :  £2.82
2 small yogurts  32p : £1.26
Total spent £1.21  :  was £5.08

Small Co op shop. 4.48pm
Fromage frais (6 pack) 29p  :  53p
2 egg custards  29p  :  76p
6 wholemeal bread rolls  25p  :  79p
Bag spinach  29p  :  £1.00
Total spent £1.12  :  was £3.08

Small Spar shop. 5pm
6 free range eggs  25p  :  £2.30
Total spent 25p   :   was £2.30

2nd April 2014
Small Asda. 4.50pm
Soya and linseed loaf.  46p  was £1.20
Total spent 46p  :  was £1.20

1st April 2014
Small Tesco. 5pm
4 bags of mixed vegetables. 48p  :  £3.90 There was a special offer on these items. Buy 2 get 1 free. The offer still stood even though they were reduced to 16p each.
Total spent 48p  :  was £3.90

29th March 2014
Big Tesco.  8.37pm, closes at 10pm on a Saturday night. Called in on the way back from a day out. Need some bread, none found on yellow stickers, I didn't buy any on full price, I can manage without. It was a quick dash in and dash out.
Watercress  13p  :  £1.30
Baby carrots  16p  :  £1.60
Pkt 5 cake bars  30p  :  £1.50
Mangetout peas  16p  :  £1.60
Prepared fruit pineapple and grapes  20p  : £2.00
Celery hearts  10p  :  £1.00
Bag salad  13p  :  £1.25
Total spent £1.18  :  was £10.25
Now I have to stop buying yellow stickers for a few days, I have enough. I am running out of other items though, and will need to get bran flakes, soya milk, porridge oats, bananas. I will make a pan of stew with the veg I have and freeze it in portions.

28th March 2014
Small Tesco.  5pm   I was in the area, couldn't resist taking a look before I went home.
Greek yogurt   38p  :  £1.16
Mushrooms  21p  :  £1.00
Whole cucumber  25p  :  49p
Total spent 84p  :  was  £2.65

27th March 2014
Small Tesco.   4.45pm  Called in when passing. Too early for the final reductions.
Large seeded loaf   82p  :  £1.50
Pkt potato cakes  32p  :  50p
6 FR eggs  88p  :  £1.80
Half a cucumber  27p  : 45p
Value scones  20p  :  49p
Mushrooms  45p  : £1.00
Total spent £2.94  :   was £5.74

23rd March 2014
Small Tesco.  4.45pm
2 bags of spinach.     42p   :   £2.00
Bag potatoes      95p    :     £2.63
5 packs of mixed vegetables      £1  :   £10
Grapes       56p   :  £2.25
Total spent £2.93      :    was £16.88


  1. Hi there - Thanks for the new lists - very helpful - wondered if it would be too much trouble for you to add the approx. time to the date when you bought your bargins ? I know I want Gold Elephants ! It would help though. jac.xx

    1. Hi. Yes, I thought about that, will do it. Times will vary from store to store. You need to go in anytime between say 3pm and 9pm, when passing. Take note of what if anything is reduced. Look for a staff member with a ticket machine, or ask what time the reductions take place. Chat to the staff, be friendly, then they will get used to you looking around.

  2. Please still give us some photos now and again of your yellow sticker finds, I love to see your assortment of bargains.
    Ruth - Australia.

    1. Hi, I am still posting photo's on the main blog, please look out for them there.

  3. Hi I spent a year touring Australia and I found the best bargains were avaliable early Minday morning

  4. LIDL mark down by 30% when the date gets near. I'm exclusively shopping there at the moment in protest at TESCO's prices. Love the blog, I'm storing your tips for when I retire, but it makes sense to start now with the food saving. Thanks, Ian.

    1. A good idea to get started with the money saving before you retire, then it's not so much of a shock when your pension kicks in and you have to manage on less money.

  5. What I like is it's all so healthy! xx

    1. Thank you. Yes I try to eat healthily, lots of salad and veggies. Sometimes a sweet treat will find it's way into my trolley, but only if it's reduced to a very low price.

    2. Hello from Bangkok Thailand. I really love your blog. Your tip about wearing male underwear is an eye opener. What funny in Thailand is food stores here don't reduce price for vegetables and diaries that approach their shelf life. It's really hard for us to live frugally. Shame on them

  6. Hi, Ilona. I have spent a few days here over the last week or so, cleaning out and sorting through the pantry, cupboards and over flow food storage areas in my home. It is a head start on Spring cleaning. We live in a very northern rural part of Canada and the winters are long and cold with glorious summers with short growing seasons. We are also fairly isolated, and shopping is best done in a town 127 km. one way from our home. So I grow two gardens and preserve the excess. We also stock up on bargains and everyday staples. I do all of our own baking, including bread, and we freeze bargains on milk, cheese and butter. Back to the cleaning of the cup boards. When ever I do this(regardless of how much is actually on hand), I always feel "rich", because I get a genuine inventory and can then buy only what I really need. Often I see how much we have, and I feel blessed. Always I am prompted to get creative with what ever is on hand. Your post for Feb. 13th. 2017, made me think of that. Thanks again for sharing your wisdom and your life. Mary Jane in Canada.

  7. Hi, Ilona. Thank you for your friendly and encouraging blog. I got so used to living on next to nothing, I actually felt rich when my state pension started! Before that, my income was down to about £10 a week as all the people I used to clean and iron for gradually died or moved away. My husband pays most of the bills and puts £70 per week in the shopping purse. If I buy anything a bit 'non-larder', like bulk supplies of dried almond milk for flavouring home-made yogurt, or cat food and wild bird food, I pay for it. One of the great things about retirement is having a free bus pass and time to shop around and find all the cheapest and best bits from all the shops. The pound shops and other very cheap shops are good hunting ground for food items, but only if I know I can use them, and the Approved Food website is worth a visit from time to time. I applaud your hunting round supermarkets at Mark Down time, and wish I could do the same, but I'm a bit restricted at the appropriate times by (a) needing a siesta to get me through the rest of the day and (b) having to cook dinner to suit hubby's snooker times and our son's long working hours. When the weather improves, I hope to get on my bike and pootle down to Tesco's late one afternoon to see what I can bag. Just doing it now and again will be a bonus. Thrifty food shopping really can make you feel rich, and we've usually got enough bits and pieces in the freezer or larder to accommodate last-minute dinner guests. Thank you for your inspiration. I was getting a bit jaded till I read your blog!


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