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Obviously my credit munched lifestyle leads me to the reduced section of a supermarket fairly regularly. But I take great caution in what I actually pick up and purchase. Sure, some of the deals may look fantastic, but do I really need a triple layer chocolate trifle? Probably not. And do I think I’m going to consume it before it goes off the next day? Try as I might, it would be quite the challenge. So (reluctantly) I put it back down and work out whether there’s anything worthwhile to buy.

Then there’s the 500g packet of beef mince reduced from £2.54 to £2.19. It kind of gets picked up instinctively. However, it goes off the next day. So unless I plan to cook it that night, or freeze immediately, the price tag suddenly doesn’t seem so appealing. Besides, it turns out it’s actually cheaper to buy the value mince at £1.56. Price gets my vote every time.

What I’m trying to say is taking the wrong approach to the reduced shelves can lead you to purchase things you don’t need or spend more money than you would have if you’d just bypassed that aisle altogether. It’s all about using your noggin to make the prices work for you. I have two basic rules of thumb when I browse.

1. I look for items that I usually buy that are now cheaper. These often include sausages, beef stewing steak and fish, for example.

2. I look for items that I can’t usually afford to buy, and work out whether the reduced price is worth it.

Which is how I came across the greatest bargain for some time – rib eye steak for £1.01.

Steak with mustard sauce

I rarely eat steak. It’s a luxury I sadly have to avoid thanks to my tight budget. But at a quarter of its original price, the steak went straight in basket. Add to that a pack of new potatoes for 99p, some green beans for £1.50 (only need to use a third of the pack) and a tub of cream for 46p (only half needed for the sauce), and we have the makings of a meal for under £1.50 per portion.

I boiled the new potatoes and resisted the urge to cover them in butter and blanched the green beans for a few minutes. I tenderised the steaks, seasoned them and then fried for a couple of minutes each side to ensure they were nice and rare. I then rested while I prepared this sauce.

All in all, a job well done.

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