Tue. Feb 20th, 2024
Selects vegetables at a supermarket stock photo

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When it comes to buying groceries, timing can affect your wallet. This is because shopping on the wrong day not only means you might end up with lower-quality produce, but you also might end up spending more.

It pays to learn the rhythms of your local grocery store. Rhianna Jones, registered nurse at CanXida, says shopping on certain days will give you the longest shelf life at home, reducing food waste and reducing your need to spend more on extra produce later in the week. How much you pay may change depending on the day you go, too — some stores raise their produce cost when there is heavier shopper traffic.

According to experts, these are the best and worst days to go grocery shopping for produce.

Don’t Buy on Weekends

Shopping on weekends is not ideal because of the crowds, higher prices and non-availability of fresh produce. Stores tend to offer fewer deals on the weekend because it’s already such a popular time to shop, so you’re unlikely to find any noteworthy discounts.

“The weekend is arguably the worst time to grocery shop,” said Troy Portillo, director of operations at Studypool. “Most grocery stores will restock at the beginning of the week, which means everything has been sitting in the store for a full week by the time you get to it on the weekend.”

Alex Reichmann, CEO of iTestCash, believes that buying on the weekend is a bad spending choice. “If you buy old produce or items nearing their sell-by date, you’ll consume them faster, leading to more frequent shopping trips and potential waste, both of which can strain your budget.”

There’s also the possibility that you may not be able to find what you want at all, according to avid shopper Priscilla King.

Best Days To Buy Groceries: Tuesdays and Wednesdays

The best days to buy groceries are Tuesdays and Wednesdays due to the lower volume of shoppers and the chance of getting the freshest produce.

“Opting for midweek days, like Tuesdays and Wednesdays, can often be more budget-friendly,” said Hassa Sanders, founder of Diabetic Life Solutions. “These days are right after the weekend rush, and you can catch the tail end of last week’s sales and discounts on fresh produce.”

David Bakke, grocery shopping expert at DollarSanity, agreed — but narrowed this ideal shopping window to just one day. “If you’re taking all aspects outside of saving money off the table, you should only be shopping for groceries on Wednesday. As several grocery stores run their coupons and sales from Wednesday to Wednesday, that means that you might be able to get a double-dip discount on a grocery item if you’re smart and pay attention.”

However, to avoid the crowds and potentially subpar produce, it’s wise to steer clear of the lunch rush and evening rush, which can happen midday and between 4 and 6 p.m.

What To Keep in Mind Before Shopping

Aside from timing, there are a few other things you should think about before shopping.

“Although [stores like] Costco frequently sell greater quantities at lower per-unit prices, if the produce spoils before you can consume it all, you aren’t actually saving money,” said Tracy Cauley, CFA at VEM Medical. “Before buying groceries on any day of the week, consider the following factors:

  • Quality versus savings: While specific days might offer lower prices, always prioritize quality. Buying produce that’s past its prime just to save a few dollars could lead to waste and negate any financial benefits.
  • Spoilage and longevity: Purchasing produce on specific days doesn’t necessarily mean it will spoil sooner. Proper storage and handling play a more significant role in extending the lifespan of your fruits and vegetables.
  • Budget-friendly planning: Consider planning your meals around the produce you purchase. By knowing what you’ll use during the week, you can avoid overbuying and reduce the risk of food wastage.”

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