How to make the most of reduced items

Louis Hugheson 14 June 2023
Miniature supermarket trolley in front of a plain yellow background

Sometimes it can feel like luck finding wildly reduced food, but there are ways to look for them.

Your shopping bill can be unpredictable, and with the rising cost of, well everything discounted items are an absolute lifesaver. Knowing where to start can be tricky, but we’ve created the perfect beginner guide on how you can make the most of reduced items.

Why do items get reduced in the first place?

Things get reduced for various reasons, including a short expiry date, flaw to the product like a dent, or being discontinued. There’s a big difference between “best before” and “use by ''. “Best before" usually relates to the quality of the product, and that it’s best before that date, while “use by” indicates the product shouldn’t be eaten after that date. 

Pro tip: if you buy something reduced because of its “use by” date, freezing it as soon as you get home will mean you don’t have to use it straight away.

When do supermarkets put out reduced items?

Timing is everything when it comes to making the most of reduced items. Each shop’s reduction times vary, but most either begin in the early morning (when the shop opens) or later in the evening (before closing). Here are the reduction times for the biggest supermarket chains in the UK.

ASDA - 7pm
M&S - Between 6:30pm - 7pm
Morrisons - 6pm
Sainsburys - 7pm
Tesco - 6pm
Lidl - 8am 
Aldi - 8 am

Supermarkets aim to make you spend more than you intended to when you first came in. They do this subtly, by placing snacks and magazines by the tills so you ultimately give into the boredom of waiting and buy something you don’t need. Supermarkets also tend to place their most profitable products at eye level so you feel more inclined to buy them, get lower and watch the prices immediately start to drop. So look on lower shelves.

How can you incorporate reduced items into your meal plans?

Meal prep

Prepare your meals in advance. Meal prepping both saves time and money.


If the reduced section offers something you just can’t say no to, adjust your meal prep to accommodate the new ingredient. Be open to changing your meal prep each week.

Use reduced products immediately

It’s better to use your reduced items as soon as you can, as they are often reduced due to flaws or nearing expiration dates. So think before you buy; will you be able to use it in time ?

Stick to your shopping list

Sticking to your shopping list can be the hardest thing, but will be the most beneficial in reducing your overall price in the end. Don’t let supermarkets trick you into buying more than you need.

Use your freezer

Use your freezer as much as you can to prolong the life of food. Most food can be frozen, but always check beforehand. 

Use apps

There are countless apps available to help you compare the offers and prices of different supermarkets, helping you save money.

Have you ever found a ridiculously good reduced item? Join the Student Hut Community today for more tips, tricks and even paid surveys.

Louis Hugheson 14 June 2023