Grocery Hack: Should You Buy Grocery Mark Downs?

Not gonna lie, there is no rush like getting a haul of markdowns from the grocery store. There you are, shopping for the night’s dinner and bam, $2 steak. So, when does Woolworths mark down meat and deli products and should you jump on board the bargain bus? Look, with the cost of food these days, even the most weary buyer is eyeing off grocery mark downs – here’s how to know if it’s a good idea or not!

The Dos and DonT’S of Grocery Mark Downs

  • Know your freezer’s limits. We all imagine our freezer is a vast space, with boundless plains to share. Don’t buy bargains if you’ve got nowhere to put them.
  • Cook it well. If it’s best served with a light sear – consider whether you want to take the risk. I draw the line at seafood mark downs. I like my salmon fresh, firm, and pink and my gut salmonella-free.
  • Puffy Packaging is a BIG NO. If the package is puffy, there a bacterial party happening within. Back away.
  • If you can’t freeze, you have to cook. There’s no point in picking up a swag of markdowns you can’t freeze. Before ordering up three kilos of that discounted deli treat, check if it’s been pre-frozen or fresh. Refreezing meat, dairy and seafood is a fun way to get reallllly sick.
  • Think of the thaw. Don’t stock up on dairy that doesn’t thaw well.
  • Don’t be a piggy. If there are ten packs, leave some for the next person. They too are staring down an unreasonable grocery bill.
  • If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Caught up in the moment you may decide that at 75c, that pre-made butter chicken is too good to pass up – even if you don’t like butter chicken. Keep a level head. That thing is going to sit in the bottom of your freezer for the next year until you bin it. And someone else could have really needed it.
  • But, it’s always roo, sausages and burger patties. Yes. It is. Always. You can “unwrap a sausage” to make homemade sausage rolls. You can combine patties to pad out mince. Treat roo like lamb, slow cook with plenty of rosemary or curry spices. If nothing else, try a few “experimental recipes” with the mark down frequent fliers, you might just find a budget staple.
  • Don’t forget the pets. Offal. Chicken frames. Weird cuts (Whoever wanted chicken ribs? WHY?) They’re the staple of the markdown section. Could it bring your fur babies a lot of joy? I bet they’ll enjoy them more than those $ 9-a-bag chews.

Know Your Grocery Store

Is your local Coles a distribution hub? Perhaps it’s a showcase hub. Where there are multiple Coles or Woolies locations (like in capital cities), the stores have different classifications. In Brisbane, for example, Aspley is the north side Coles Distribution hub for online orders. Some days, you’re the only shopper amongst hundreds of staff picking and packing online orders. That means that Coles Aspley has EVERY SINGLE ITEM in stock on the online shopping website. Even the boutique items. The organic items. The “special occasion” items. So, you’ll find the highest quality and the most random cuts. Stuff that doesn’t sell well to the average consumer. So, you’ll get premium meats, on grocery mark down. Fancy-pants pre-made meals, lovely deli treats…all ready to be marked down when the “average consumer” doesn’t buy them. The old Toombul store was the northside “test store” where they “trialed” new products. So you’d find stuff there that was nowhere else – heavily discounted, so they could monitor interest in a new product. Sometimes it pays to “pop in” to other supermarkets just to check out what they have on special.

Grocery Stores Cannot SEll Out of Date Meat

Legally, your local Woolworths, Aldi or Coles cannot sell out-of-date meat. The meat, dairy, seafood and deli items all SHOULD have 24 good hours left in them, regardless of the used-by date. Should, being the keyword here. While food handling laws are clear on how meat and other fresh foods should be managed, that doesn’t account for, well, 16-year-olds. Woolworths, Coles or Aldi staff manage your meat mark downs – so your markdown is as good as your local staff members. If in doubt, chuck it out.

When do Grocery Stores Mark Down Meat?

The working day at a Coles may include a small morning markdown, an afternoon further reduction and an evening “clearance” price for products “used by today”. Each Coles is slightly different and it’s dictated by schedules around team meetings and staff breaks. A store that largely does online orders will have different staffing needs depending on the work load. Now, let’s talk Woolworths….

When Does Woolworths Mark Down Meats?

Here’s the fun bit…. they tell you. Exactly. To the minute. You just need to remember to bring your glasses to the shops with you (and the bags, the bloody bags, don’t forget the damn bags). Here’s how you know when your local Woolworths marks down its meat. Next time you’re at the shop, find a markdown – any markdown, in each fresh food department. Look for the time stamp next to “Quick Sale”. It’s tiny but it’s there. Once you know when staff do markdowns in each department, you know when to find your best bargains. Love a cooked chook? 7pm is the Woolworths Cooked Chook Hour. At 7pm, most Woolworths will mark down all their cooked chooks (and pork pieces, snack boxes etc) to BARGAIN prices. Who wants a dried-out chook you ask? Shred that puppy up and stick it in the freezer. Makes a perfect addition to fried rice, pizza toppings or is a handy sandwich or wrap filler.

Cost of Living Hikes are Rough for REtirees – Take a Bargain Where you Can

All that Retirement Planning, all the financial and legal decisions, all the downsizing – couldn’t prepare us for retirement into this “unprecedented time” of supply chain problems, natural disasters and cost of living madness – we need to take our savings where we can find them. If that means trying out a few grocery markdowns, then why not (self) check it out.

Older and Wiser