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I tested out the best times to get reduced items at supermarkets – one trip saved me £25 and you can freeze loads too

WE all love snapping up a cheeky bargain in the reduced sections of our favourite supermarkets.

But when is the best time to go – and how much can you actually save on your weekly shop?

Hayley Minn woke up at the crack of dawn to bag a bargain at Morrisons
Morrisons’ reduced shelves were absolutely packed as the store opened at 7am

With the cost-of-living crisis leaving shoppers scrambling to keep grocery bills down, Tesco recently beefed up their yellow stick section, with huge signs making it clear where to snap up a bargain.

So I decided to put each supermarket to the test, going down at the times we revealed were best.

With £10 to spend in each store, I was determined to save as much money as possible – and get as much food as I could to freeze too.

While there was one store where I got absolutely nothing, I saved almost £25 in another.

Morrisons – £7.48 saved

Having been told Morrisons reduces its food overnight, I was up bright and early – in pouring rain – to be at the Peckham, London branch, as it opened at 7am.

And it didn’t disappoint.

There was so much to choose from in the reduced section – the shelves were absolutely packed and there was no one else around clambering to get in my way.

I saved £7.48, and my £10 got me a lot of great stuff – which was all freezable, except the cottage cheese.

This included an entire chicken and a turkey breast joint from the butcher’s – which had been reduced by £3.41.

If you’re prepared to wake up at the crack of dawn to get your shopping out of the way early, Morrisons is for you.

Lidl – Saved £4.20

Hayley saved £4.20 on her food shop at Lidl

Straight after Morrisons, I ventured to Lidl on London’s Old Kent Road for its opening time of 8am – as Lidl staff reduce food overnight too.

Due to the supermarket’s already-cheap prices, I managed to get quite a lot of good food for a tenner, including 800g of pork mince and some salmon fillets in red Thai sauce.

However, Lidl seemed to reduce everything by a flat rate of 30 per cent, and I only actually saved £4.20 on my bill.

While everything I bought was reaching its use by date, and had an orange sticker on, a spokesperson for Lidl informed us that once products reach their use by date, they’re given a green sticker, with chilled products reduced to either 70p or 20p, and fresh meat and poultry to either £2 or 90p. 

M&S – Saved £9.63

Hayley saved almost £10 on her shop at M&S when she went at 5pm

Scott Dixon, a complaints expert who blogs at the Grumpy Git, previously told The Sun that the best time to go to M&S for reduced items is between 5 and 7pm.

I decided to get to the Lewisham branch for 5pm on the dot, to see if I could get some bargains – and I did.

I saved £9.63 in total, and found that if you’re a vegan, it’s the perfect time to go and get your food shop.

I managed to pick up some vegan steak burgers, and two lots of No Chicken Southern Fried Tenders for £5.30, which would have cost £11.65 at full price.

Sainsbury’s – Saved £2.32

Hayley didn’t have too much luck in Sainsbury’s

From looking at forums, it seemed that 6pm was the best time to go to Sainsbury’s to pick up some deals, but the Lewisham branch didn’t deliver unfortunately.

I managed to get five items for my money, but only saved £2.32 in total.

On the flip side, however, everything I got from Sainsbury’s was freezable – so it’ll last.

My best saving was on 12 Richmond thick sausages, which were originally £3.20, but I got them for £2.59.

Aldi – Saved £24.13

Hayley saved almost £25 in Aldi – and even got a Cuthbert the Caterpillar cake

All I can say is Aldi is the place to be at 7pm.

I went to the Charlton branch, and got a hell of a lot of stuff, including two pies, crumpets, turkey steaks, a couple of ready meals – and even a Cuthbert the Caterpillar cake.

Aldi didn’t have the prices on anything that was reduced – and, instead, just had a big red sticker saying “75 per cent off,” so I had no idea how much I’d saved until I got to the till.

As it was scanning through, I genuinely couldn’t believe how cheap everything was – I saved £24.13 in total, but I could’ve actually got even more and saved even more, as I still had £2 left to spend once my basket had gone through.

Tesco – Saved £11.20

Hayley saved £11.20 in Tesco – but nothing could really be frozen

Tesco apparently works by slowly reducing their products as the day goes on, so I decided to go at 7pm to the Lewisham branch.

However, I discovered there are pros and cons to going at this time.

Although I did manage to save £11.20, the only thing I bought that was able to be frozen was the Quorn ready meal.

My partner and I shared the rest of my haul that night for dinner and the next day, so nothing was wasted.

But it’s possible that if you go earlier, you may get some reduced meat or fish too.

Waitrose – Saved £6.24

If you like bread, you’re in luck if you go to Waitrose

Waitrose is often seen as the highest end supermarket, but if you go at the right time, you can save some dough.

Plate-Deals previously told The Sun that Waitrose reduces its prices around 6pm, so I headed to the Greenwich branch for then.

And it turns out if you like bread, and have enough space in your freezer to store it, you’re in luck!

I managed to save £6.24 in Waitrose, with £4.42 of that alone being on croissants, sourdough bread and English muffins.

I even picked up a box of 15 mini sausage rolls for £1.75 instead of £2.35!

Co-op – Saved £2.21

It was slim pickings at Co-Op

I was told to head to Co-Op between 7 and 8pm if I wanted the best deals, but my trip to the Deptford Bridge branch wasn’t very successful.

When I got there at 7pm, there wasn’t much left on the reduced shelves, so I couldn’t spend enough to reach the £10 mark.

I did, however, pick up a few bits, including some chicken goujons, and managed to save £2.21.

ASDA – nothing

ASDA was absolutely ransacked at 7pm

I got to ASDA in Deptford, London, a few minutes before 7pm, just in time for the moment the staff were apparently going to be marking all the food down – or so I’d been told by savvy shoppers on the MoneySavingExpert forum.

When I got there, the reduced shelves were completely empty, and there was no sign of them being filled. 

I waited about 15 minutes, and nothing happened, which led me to assume all the yellow sticker items had already been snapped up!

It might be a better idea to go earlier in the day if you want to save some money at ASDA.

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