For most people Aldi and Lidl are handy places to bag some grocery bargains - and browse the discount wetsuits, hot tubs and scented candles while they're there. For others, however, those weekly special offers - or Special Buys - are more than just a novelty during their weekly shop - they're an opportunity to make money.
Sometimes known as Aldipreneurs, these shoppers snap up as many of the weekly specials as possible from the discounters - as early as possible on the say they are released (usually a Thursday). They then list them at a higher price on online auction sites - timing their sale to make as much money as possible.
Does it work?
The biggest profits are to be made from the items that capture people's imaginations and fly off the shelves.
One big success was the hot tub that went on sale just as the warm weather hit earlier this month. Aldi was selling the tubs in small numbers for £299, and they sold out across the UK. The Aldipreneurs who got hold of the deal then put their purchases on eBay, marked up by as much as £300.
Similarly the £3.99 Aldi scented candles that were said to smell like Jo Malone fragrances sold out, and were found on eBay for up to £30.
Is it fair?
Whenever this happens, shoppers will take to social media to complain, especially if they were convinced they had got to their local store early enough to take advantage - and are upset that normal buyers are missing out because of people buying in bulk.
Of course, the Aldipreneurs would argue that there's nothing stopping them from going along even earlier and indulging in a spot of bulk buying themselves.
Those who make money from reselling Aldi and Lidl products would also point out that for every item that sells out quickly, there are a huge number of others that trickle out of the door, so there's no easy money to be made from a massive mark-up on eBay.
They can, however, still make cash from these items too - as long as the deal is good enough in the first place. They can simply snap up the bargains and then hang onto them. After a few weeks the stores will have sold out, and they can offer them for a smaller profit online.
Could you do it?
Deciding whether you can make money as an Aldipreneur depends on your answers to five questions.
1) Are you prepared to get up very early for the most popular items?
2) Do you have the cash you can tie up in Aldi products while you wait for them to sell out in store?
3) Can you spot a winner?
4) Do you have enough disposable cash to write items off if you buy a few lemons?
5) Are you prepared for a backlash from other shoppers when you're selling a must-have item?
So what do you think? Does this appeal? Let us know in the comments.
Shopping: when spending more isn't always better
Shopping: when spending more isn't always better
The wine world is notoriously snobby, and the experts will tell you that there’s no way to buy a good bottle without spending at least £25. However, a study in 2011 at the Edinburgh International Science Fair demonstrated that people could only tell the difference between a cheap and expensive wine 53% of the time - which is roughly the result you'd get from flipping a coin.
Instead of focusing on price, it’s worth looking for wine awards. In December last year, for example, the International Wine Challenge awarded silver medals to Tesco Finest Fiano (selling for £5.49) and the Tesco Finest Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (priced at £5.99).
The price you’ll pay for your hotel room depends partly on type of room you choose, but also on a host of things that have nothing at all to do with the room itself. If you shop carefully, therefore, you can get more for less.
One of the most effective approaches is to use a ‘secret hotels’ service, which gives you details of the location and facilities, but doesn't tell you the name of the hotel you are booking until you have paid.
This enables hotels to slash their prices by as much as 50% without damaging their brand. If you book this way you can easily get a junior suite for less than the advertised double room rate at the same hotel.
Logically, the longer the interest-free period on your credit card, the more you’ll save. However, it doesn't always work out that way.
If you need to borrow for exactly the length of the interest-free period, then it’s a great option, but if you need to borrow for a longer or shorter time, it's a waste of money.
You have roughly a 40% chance of being tempted by the longer interest-free period into failing to pay off the debt in time - and being hit with high interest charges. In this instance, you may be better off with a long-term low rate.
Meanwhile, if you are one of the third of people who tend to pay off their card early, then you'd be better off paying a smaller balance transfer fee for a card with a shorter interest-free period.
If you need to buy new clothes, then choosing a product that has done minimal damage to the environment is clearly a kinder option than buying from a manufacturer that doesn't care about its impact on the world.
However, you will usually pay more for an environmentally-friendly brand, and there’s a far cheaper option that’s even kinder to the environment: buying second-hand clothes.
Your local charity shops will have items in perfect condition that would otherwise be going to landfill, so by buying them you meet three great criteria: you're saving the planet, saving money and helping a good cause.
You can pay anything up to 1,000 times more for water in a bottle than from the tap, so it stands to reason that it must be better.
However, instead of necessarily paying for superior water, we're paying for bottles, transportation and marketing, which might not be the kind of thing you value
On average we drink 33 litres of bottled water every year, and at an average cost of 48p per bottle, that's almost £16. You have to ask yourself if it's worth it.
Your expensive fashion headphones may look cool, but if you look around among the professionals, they won’t be wearing them.
The very best of the professional headphones cost the earth, so they're not a money-saving option. However, if you set a budget and check out the gadget magazines for their recommendations in your price range, not one of them recommends the fashion brands.
Instead of paying for branding, it's worth doing your research and paying for better sound.
We're loyal to brands for two reasons when it comes to medicines. The first is that they advertise, and they don’t mention the name of the active ingredient, so if we have a specific problem, all we know to ask for is the brand.
The second is a matter of trust, because we know the brand, and we can see it costs many times more than the generic versions of the same thing, so we trust that it is better.
In reality, the active ingredients are exactly the same, and if you don't know the generic drug that you can substitute for your expensive brand, you can simply ask your pharmacist - and look forward to spending a fraction of the amount your usual brand name medicines will set you back.
Pedigree pets are incredibly expensive. Even common breeds like springer spaniels will cost you several hundred pounds, while rarer breeds can set you back thousands.
It’s easy to assume you are paying for a well-bred pet, which will be free from medical problems. However, the breeding process means that pedigree pets tend to be prone to far more medical issues - which end up costing a fortune.
A mongrel dog or a moggy will often rack up far fewer vets bills, and there are usually an enormous number looking for new homes at the local rescue centre.
There’s an enormous advertising industry, pouring huge resources into convincing us that the more expensive beauty products are the best. In some cases this may be true, but it’s also worth keeping your eyes open for the cut-price beauty products recommended by the experts and winning awards.
A couple of examples stand out from recent coverage, including Boots Protect & Perfect for £23.95, which was so hotly tipped that it had a waiting list before its release in May last year. An even more affordable option is the £1.69 Bottle O’Butter moisturiser, which flew off the shelves thanks to an endorsement from the beauty press a while back.
Often in the mobile market, the more you pay, the more you get. So if you want a flash phone, all you can eat data, oodles of airtime and endless texts, you'll pay through the nose. The question you really need to ask yourself is whether you need all of this.
It’s worth checking your statements each month, and going back to look at them for the duration of your contract. Check your average use, then look at any extra you would have paid for the months when you went over this. In most cases, those who are paying for the very biggest mobile packages could save substantially by downshifting.