Cost of living - good buys, tips and (dis)loyalty schemes

Having regularly shopped at Waitrose for many years their loyalty scheme now with two 50p vouchers a week (compared to £2.50-£3.50 off until late last year) is pretty pathetic and no longer any kind of incentive to shop there, though I continue to do so. Their stupid app is also a right faff. Maybe they are trying to make it all so awkward everyone will abandon their ‘vouchers’.

Our nearest M&S is closing which is a shame - lease issue apparently with the landlord wanting a longer lease contract than M&S are willing to take, and it’s a dire retail park with major issues exiting and long traffic queues due to lights which only allow 2-3 cars through on a busy junction. I could equally easily go on about virtually every unfriendly traffic/junction change implemented by our Council in recent years.

Anyhow I digress.

How about some posts for current good offers?

Maybe just a pre-Easter deal but Tesco have silly 50% reductions on meat with a Clubcard.

Just got a shoulder of lamb for £10 (nearly 2kg), and a few beef joints (Top Rump and Topside) with 50% reductions too.

The annoyance with Tesco is that to get the keen prices on many things now you must use a Clubcard - specifically I wasn’t going to spend £5.25 on a pizza at Waitrose when I could get the same one at Tesco a mile away for £3.50 for the kids’ tea.

You are effectively being stung for not having a Clubcard to get cheaper prices not just points - seems unfair to those who don’t have one or are locked out of the app which has happened to me before.

This thread may or may not get some traction, but I thought 50% off the meat was a pretty good deal worth sharing even if it’s short-lived.

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If I sound like a skinflint, it’s just hit home in the last year or two that I’ll have to be considerably more frugal in a few years time.

I don’t envisage many if any new hi-fi purchases anytime soon, but savings here and there can potentially be diverted to ‘hobbies’.

We find we can get most of the essentials from lidl, previously aldi……before Sainsbury’s and M&S. Only tried Waitrose once……
For us the quality has converged…….we prefer our local Lidl to the local new M&S……expensive and not that good. So we take the time to do artisan farm shops trying to find that something special.

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Do UK supermarkets do BOGO (buy one, get one free) deals these days? Ours still do, and they’re a blessing. My wife also uses a shopping app, which gives you money back on selected items. I’d use it too, but I’m not clever enough to get it to work properly.

How about fliers? Again, our main supermarkets (Publix & Winn-Dixie in South Florida) print an eight-page flier every week with all sorts of deals.

The bulk-discount places can also save you a lot. Here, it’s Costco, Sam’s Club and BJ’s (calm down, you lot in the back). You have something similar, right?

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Not so many BOGOF offers these days - usually buy 2 for less than full price.

There are often quite stupid deals on offer (in my view) with for example it being more expensive to buy a ‘2 pack’ of something than 2 x 1 pack individually.

Pasta sauce always seemed to be a loss leader, but not that long ago I saw one on sale for £2.50 but 2 for £2.00 - crazy!

Discounted items baffle me too when they are on some kind of 2 for less offer with good dates - a single discounted item due to expiry imminently approaching is often only marginally reduced and still more expensive than if you went for the ‘2 for less’ per item.

Hmm. You need to come over here to do your shopping.

I find my local coop is best for prices and money off.

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I’ve certainly found some co-op stores to be great value when away from home. Our nearest ones are not particularly accessible unfortunately - not strictly true but there are closer more convenient stores.

Supermarket preferences are odd.

Over the years I suspect it’s been mostly Sainsbury’s or Tesco. Sainsbury’s was our closest full supermarket, I can’t explain why but it became more unpleasant to shop there over the years, especially as they rarely have anyone manning tills and constantly insist on self-checkout which I hate.

The large Tesco we used to use is utterly chaotic (large student population) so we tend to use the more downmarket one which is closer - I hate to sound a bit snobbish but the closer one will not infrequently have people in onesies or pyjamas shopping. Starngely though a few years ago the ‘downmarket’ Tesco seemed to mainly stock poor quality food. I was quite surprised that the variety of foodstuffs stocked when I went there recently probably rivalled or exceeded Waitrose or M&S and was a hell of a lot cheaper.

Shopped a lot at Morrison’s in recent years impressed by their meat counter and prices. Since the takeover things don’t seem as appealing, especially on basis of cost.

Used Aldi/Lidl/Asda a lot last year - Asda is the least convenient and I just lost interest, a hassle to get to. We’re lucky to have several Aldi/Lidl stores locally - excellent value just hate the long queues and being rushed through the checkouts but they both seem to have excellent generic products and good pricing. I really think many of the big brands are going to suffer as their wares in many cases are nothing special just ‘familiar’.

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We get nearly all our stuff from Waitrose, with top ups from the local Co-op. This excludes fruit and veg; we have a weekly organic veg box direct from the growers, and get the rest from the veg shop in Emsworth, where quality is really high and prices fair. We don’t eat meat, but we do eat a bit of fish, which comes direct from the fishers or from a local shop. I don’t mind paying a bit more to know it’s fishes sustainably, and the money goes to small businesses.

Mrs HH and I were discussing vouchers earlier. They are obviously designed to engender loyalty but in many ways I’d rather prices were keen all the time. I don’t like BOGOFs as they are fine for people with freezers or big families, but single shoppers miss out. Who wants two huge bags of satsumas when half will go green and hairy before they are eaten.

I won’t buy in M&S because so much is prepacked and you get more plastic than food in many cases. Prepacked carrot sticks? Are people too lazy to wash, peel and slice up carrots?

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Yes. Yes they are.

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We used to get organic veg/fruit boxes many years ago but it became very expensive, product quality dropped and we stopped. I suspect there are many more options now should we reinvestigate.

Entirely agree about the vouchers/offers etc - they’re simply profiling our shopping habits and encouraging purchasing 2 for less offers when chances are you might waste 1 of the 2 on offer if the dates don’t work.

I’ve always found M&S do a few things well (often fresh fruit though expensive) but so many other things are overpackaged and seem over processed.

M&S are far from unique with these stupid pre-sliced veg/fruit. It’s always annoyed me when you see these stores selling pre-sliced fruit selections for school lunch boxes - for heavens sake just give the kid a fresh apple, graps, orange, whatever which will be cheaper and has no plastic wrapping!

I believe Tesco have 25% off wine at the mo. Ours does. T&Cs apply.

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Yep though beware in Wales and Scotland where minimum pricing applies!

Yes the Waitrose vouchers now are such an insult, I actually shop elsewhere. Sainsbury’s and Morrisons are awful for food and service, so I never go there. Tesco pretty bad, but you can pick up discounts and they do send my other half good vouchers (but never me, even though it’s me who spends way more on the credit cards….useless Tesco customer services).

Aldi has some good value basics, but generally the quality of food is poor.

For wine, I wait for Asda 25% off and 2nd Tesco’s 25% off.

Buying foods that are on offer (offer or date dependent) and store in a good freezer is the way to go.

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Talking of freezers is Iceland still going, and are/were they any good?

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We get nearly all our wine from the Wine Society. I find supermarket wine very hit and miss, and I’m convinced they put the prices up just so they can knock them down.


I think you’re right. I need to try something different one day.

Yes, still going and very competitive pricing provided you have freezer space.

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Which comment?