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Best Times to Buy Food & Groceries

Emily Johansson

Authored by Emily Johansson

⊂ Updated: 05/03/2019 ⊃

When we try to plan a frugal living, the food and grocery is what comes first. We eat food and food cost money – infact most of our routine budget (On average, $642 to $1280 in a month per family). And secondly, it takes about 70% of our whole shopping visits and time (On average, 1.6 visits and 43 hours in a year). We cannot cut the food budget but we can manage it. Maintain a grocery list and set a weekly schedule, buy in bulk, best time to buy food & grocery is Wednesdays and Thursdays, avoid weekends and Shop nonperishable items online.

Best Time to Buy Food & Groceries

(words:4150  Pages:11  It can take 13 minutes reading)

Food and grocery shopping includes “food at home” items – fresh fruits & vegetables, dairy products, bakery items, meat and poultry, frozen food, eggs, grains, cereals and other eatables. There is more to do on grocery shopping than just setting a schedule – and blowing your budget on it.

Here you will find the best stuff about: firstly, the grocery shopping spending stats from major US cities that reveal the food habits of their people, the best time to buy – time in a day, weekly and monthly at large. Further you are going to have a list of amazing grocery hacks, know the Psychological tricks retailor apply on you and finally the popular grocery stores in your region and online.

To manage this necessary evil (some people feel the way), this guide will help you to make your grocery shopping less expensive and less stressful with easy time schedule and simple tips.

People spend more on food than on grocery. Here is the list – how much people do spend on food & grocery in several Cities of US (infographic)

Food & Grocery Top US Cities - Promolily

Content Qs

♦  What is the cheapest day and time to go grocery shopping? Is is good to visit stores on weekends?  (Sandra R. Manning

♦  How can I save money on my groceries? Is weekly grocery cycle best to manage on budget? (Dianne Kennedy)

♦  Where to buy cheapest grocery? Which groceries are best to buy online and what supermarkets offer good online bargains? (Brenda S. Carter)

SO, WHEN IS THE BEST   TIME TO BUY GROCERIES?

Unlike other categories on our budget lists such as Dishware or new Smart TV, we cannot skip or push on groceries. Food makes us alive; we need good food multiple times a day so shop food regularly and food bills cover a wider portion of our monthly budgets.

The only way to make it stress-free and less expensive is to manage it wisely – there is not an option of cutting in it because of our nutritional needs. The schedule, items, buying channels and purchasing volume and deals can be managed perfectly to save time, energy and money.

MAINTAIN A GROCERY LIST, SET A WEEKLY SCHEDULE AND BUY IN BULK. THE BEST TIME TO BUY FOOD & GROCERY IS WEDNESDAYS AND THURSDAYS, AVOID WEEKENDS AND SHOP NONPERISHABLE ITEMS ONLINE

(Tweet the best times to buy Groceries)

The best time to buy your food is when you find the richest deals and the thinnest crowds in grocery stores.

1. BEST TIME EVERY DAY

Our first best time is mid-to-late in the morning any day of the week. Generally, on weekends, you can have crowds but most of people start shopping after midday. So you are at best to visit the store in the morning – it will get you fresh mood and less crowded aisles. You will feel more comfortable to stick to your list and spend less.

 Moneywise suggests that if you want to grab the best deals on grocery then set your alarm and grocery shopping should be the first task you accomplish in the morning.

  • Generally, stores open at 7 am – 9 am to 10 am is the best time to visit any grocery store.
  • If you set the weekend schedule then go even more in the morning – right after they open.
  • You can visit the store in your lunch break at your job.
  • Sunday morning can be a perfect belt for some people because of no crowds.
  • Some stores offer good deals of fresh food or meat in early hours of morning.
  • Shopping in odd hours – from midnight to morning is what makes ideal timing for someone living near a 24/7 grocery store. You will have fresh stock and almost-empty aisles.
  • In the starting hour of the store, probably you may be the first one to shop for the latest clearance and deals.

2. BEST DAYS OF WEEK

Our second best time to shop for groceries is Wednesday and Thursday as per a grocery research. The stores are less crowded and weekly delivery of stores is exposed so it is the best time to go for food and grocery shopping.

The other best time in a week besides Wednesday and Thursday is when the weekly discounted prices flyer comes out from your grocery store. Stores generally manage to offer weekly sales so when you get the discounted flyer, it is time to rush to your store and pick what is in your list as soon as possible.

If you want to avoid deal hunters’ crowd and don’t want to miss the best bargain, then make it happen in first hour. The crowd will hit with every passing minute so be quick to complete your purchase.

3. BEST DAYS OF MONTH

If for some food and grocery items you adopt the monthly cycle then the best time to set your monthly schedule is the second week of the month. Never plan your visit in the first week especially the first 3 days of the month.

You must have a certain plan about which grocery you want to buy on monthly basis and how much it will take to store and use. Monthly stock is much better if manageable then weekly or other shorter shopping cycle. Our second best time to buy groceries is the closing week of the month – you can find some good bargain on month-end because of the business period end, they may offer deals to push some items and to meet their targets.

4. ANY TIME A WEEK BEFORE ANY SPECIAL EVENT

Shopping at least one week in advance for any special event you are going to have at home or in the family is the best time. For such special and bulk shopping, pre-plan your lists and hit the store in the morning time one week before the event can save you time, energy and money and avoids last day frustration.

You can ask the store manager or any representative about when your required items will be fresh and savvy.

WHEN IS THE WORST  TIME TO BUY GROCERIES?

Now, here are the worst times to buy groceries. These are just guidelines that can be customized as per your local and personal experience. If you have some worst times, never miss to share with Promolily Savvy Community.

1. WORST TIME EVERY DAY

Never try to visit a grocery store after midday. That is the time when crowed starts hitting in the store.   4 pm to 6 pm is the worst time to visit any grocery store because they are more crowded and full of negative energy around.

  • The heavy crowd is on its peak and long lines in front of checkout points.
  • Lazy staff & over-burdened systems.
  • You might be exhausted, feeling tired, and in a hurry to get home.
  • Stock is not fresh or taken.
  • On weekend, the time between 4-7 pm is the busiest hours at grocery stores so must avoid it.
  • Most of 9 to 5 people check in the 4 to 7 pm shift on weekdays and midday at weekends.
  • Stores are slow in midafternoon during the week making it time-consuming to checkout.
  • The deals and clearance stocks are almost over.
  • In the late-night shift, you may end up with empty or closed sections especially seafood, meat, and bakery products.

2. WORST DAYS OF WEEK

Generally, the weekends are the most crowded and busiest days of the whole week because of the holidays. It is a social ritual that people visit to shop for food & grocery on weekends.

If you cannot manage crowds, insufficient stocks on shelves (sometimes) and long lines then you need to avoid these days. Saturday is the busiest at the weekend so it is the worst day of the week to go shopping.

3. WORST TIME BEFORE BIG EVENTS

You got the point? It will be more crowded and sometimes stores are reluctant to offer price drops during any big event because it is the time when customer needs stores, they even set their prices high on these days.

If any big event such as Thanks Giving or Super Bowl is coming, you have to manage to shop for the event weeks in advance to avoid the crowd, short temper shoppers, as well as a price hike. If you missed the shopping then manage somehow to push it after the event.

4. WHEN YOU ARE STARVING

An empty stomach empties your wallet more easily. If you are hungry, you are in the non-savvy zone – you can buy impulse and unnecessary items filled in your cart. And yes this theory works equally for online shopping too. So if you are hungry then it is the worst time to visit the grocery store.

Taking care of your time and calendar will determine how efficient and savvy shopping you can do. So by following the above best and worst times, you will succeed in clamping on your grocery budget as well.

HOW TO BUY CHEAP?   GROCERY SAVING HACKS

According to USDA’s report, Grocery costs $642 to $1280 per month and per family on average in the US – making it one of most budget consuming categories. Every American visits 1.6 times a week and spend 43 minutes in a grocery store – altogether making it 60 hours on average per year. Isn’t that enough time and money to be serious and savvy the way we do manage our food and groceries?

I was used to shop impulse grocery on an irregular schedule, multiple trips, experienced empty energy and wallet and still missing some items when I got home. It is bad practice and inappropriate way to manage this everyday essential and routine shopping category, as most people do.

Here are some amazing grocery savvy shopping tips that can save you energy, time, money and gets your grocery shopping in line with your budget and lifestyle

1. MAINTAIN A GROCERY LIST & SET A PLAN

The most important task before going to the store is making a list of items. The best practice is to add items in your list being on the actual place where you are going to use them; meat to kitchen. It will give you a better idea about the importance of that item and shopping volume.  When you visit the store or shop online, stick to the list you made at home, it will remove unnecessary items in your cart.

Best grocery lists are constructed over the whole week or any grocery cycle.

2. SHOP WITH FULL ENERGY

If you are tired, avoid shopping. It will get you impulse and unsatisfactory shopping. Set a schedule as per your routine and mood, so that you can visit the grocery store fresh and full of energy. It doesn’t matter whether in the morning, midday or late-night whenever you find it better and relax; it’s time to enjoy your grocery shopping.  It means it is not a savvy practice to visit your grocery store right after working hours.

3. SHOP WITH FULL STOMACH

Go to the grocery store with a full stomach. It is studied that there are chances of unnecessary shopping when you are feeling hunger. If you are starving, your brain will guide you through instant food items and chances are higher that you will overlook your shopping list.

4. TAKE YOUR TIME AT STORE

Don’t squeeze in a quick trip to the store, rush to put your items in cart and checkout. Take your time at store selecting, checking and confirming the items, prices, and expiry, etc.

Plan to visit a store when you have enough time to complete your shopping easier and there would be no emergency signal or call from home or elsewhere. Go slow and confident if you want to shop the right thing at the right price.

5. STOCKPILE THE IMPERISHABLE ITEMS

If there are some imperishable items in your shopping list, then never mind to buy in bulks. It will get you the benefit of economies of scale and you can get the extra perks. If you live far away from a grocery store and it doesn’t make sense to visit the store multiple times then it is even necessary to buy in bulk and stock for a maximum period.

Stores offer many such buy-in-bulk deals – buy one get one free offers and buy in large package with some special price will benefit you. It is only when you can stockpile those items and going to use shortly.

6. STORE SALE FLYERS

Grocery stores generally offer discounted grocery items through a weekly sales flyer. You can win the best bargain if you follow the timing of that flyer. The hack is to set your schedule according to the sales offers from your grocery store and visit the store within hours, this strategy can get you even double bargains.

7. LEAVE YOUR CONTACT AT LOCAL DEPARTMENT STORE

By subscribing to a store you will be informed about updated deals and offers from that store in your inbox. This practice also works for your local physical stores. If you regularly do shop at a department store, then you should provide your contact to the store as per their customer service strategy.

When there is any special offer, coupon or sales they will inform you through text or otherwise and you will be one of some early visiting customers to get benefits from such deals.

Some Local grocery store managers even go one step further and offer special discounts to their loyal customers and guide you about the fresh deliveries. So be loyal and openly interact with your grocery store

8. SHOP ONLINE TO AVOID UNNECESSARY STORE TRIPS

If you want to shop from the comfort of your home or office and even for the best price in the market then online is the option to go. Online prices are updated in real-time according to demand and supply. There are many top online stores such as Whole Food or Wal-Mart that offer good deals on food and grocery items and easy delivery.

Online option provides you more control – you can compare prices and get the best deals of items on your list. As a savvy shopper, it is the first option I try for every shopping category. If I don’t end up with a purchase, it gives me the updated knowledge of market prices, quality, and options for my purchase.

9. SIGNUP FOR GROCERY PANTRY OFFERS

Grocery is a routine shopping category and some popular grocery stores designed a special grocery package for their customers on repeating order bases such as AmazonFresh, Prime Pantry or Walmart Grocery.

They offer the lowest prices on thousands of grocery items with free delivery on a customized schedule to your home or office. Services like this are ideal to get groceries on the best prices and at doorstep without any personal efforts.

10. USE COUPONS AND DEALS

Use coupons. Coupons are an excellent tool to save dollar especially on your routine shopping such as groceries.

All brands offer special coupons from time to time on their sites, storefront banners, in emails, direct calls, in local magazines and through sales flyers every week or for special occasions. The grocery stores sometimes drop coupons as surprise gift in your grocery bags. It is the easiest way to spend less on almost all items easily at checkout.

Organize Coupons - Promolily

11. DO YOUR GIRLY MATH

Savvy shoppers are very good at instant math. When heading a grocery store and checking items, you should be good at calculating the ultimate cost, an item will take to shop especially in case of some special offers like buy one getting one free or bulk buy deals. If you find a real deal in such offers then it’s fine to buy.

12. SET A MEAL PLAN AND MAINTAIN A NUTRITION CHART

At home, it is very helpful to get everything disciplined when you have developed a meal plan for a week. It helps you not only in daily food cooking but also makes it easy to set a weekly shopping schedule.

Secondly, a healthy and organic nutrition chart is the need to maintain for all families, especially with kids. We eat food to meet our daily nutrition requirements. So you have to study food items, compare not only their price but their nutrition values, and work out the best nutrition chart. That chart will serve your family a healthy food on the best possible budget.

13. USE DISCOUNTED GROCERY APPS

The best way to use coupons and rebates for your grocery is discounted grocery apps such as Ibotta and Shopkick. These are cell phone apps and serve the way better for savvy shoppers because they offer the best bargain on food and grocery items.

Just check out your list items on an app before heading to store, find out if there is a deal you can grab, categorized by stores and food items. These apps can have some special rebates for you on almost any food item especially non-branded products to save you a lot of time and money. Here are the top ten discounted shopping apps:

  1. IBotta | available on iOS and Android
  2. Shopkick | available on iOS and Android
  3. Fetch Rewards | available on iOS and Android
  4. Coin Out | available on iOS and Android
  5. Makeena | available on iOS and Android
  6. Checkout 51 | available on iOS and Android
  7. SavingStar | available on iOS and Android
  8. Coupons.com | available on iOS and Android
  9. Kroger | available on iOS and Android
  10. MySupermarket | available on iOS and Android

TOP 8 SNEAKY PSYCHOLOGICAL TRICKS GROCERY STORES APPLY ON YOU

There is a complete science and arsenal of tricks behind any store, its layout, exposure, and system. They use many sneaky psychological tactics to make you spend more being on the floor. 

You need to be aware when shopping grocery or anything so that you can spend savvy, exactly as per your needs.

  1. Stores play slow music to make you slow at your shopping process. The more time you spend wandering between aisles the more you will put items into your cart.
  2. They place big colorful signs & stickers in different prominent locations to divert your attention to their purposed products or categories. You can see special offers and discount banners on the floor but you have to behave prudently and do your girly math before buying such deals.
  3. Stores set items on shelf to your eyes level in try to be not overlooked – you buy what you see. Your shopping list is a powerful handle to save you there.
  4. They make you feel starved by different food items’ front placements. If you feel hungry the overspending chances increased and meanwhile you can add more food items into the cart.
  5. They generally offer large size shopping carts to shoppers. The size of the cart matters more when you are moving slowly in aisles to fill that jumbo jet cart. Use baskets instead.
  6. The other related sneaky trick they practice is the actual placements of shopping carts. Stores leave intentionally big size shopping carts between aisles, making it easy for a shopper to carry one and start filling it.
  7. The smart store layout is what affects most of shoppers spending attitude. The fresh and colorful fruits and vegetables at the start and the food items, kid’s attractions and everyday essentials near to the checkout counters push shoppers to spend more.
  8. In sneaky tricks, our last point is the change in the items placements. Stores keep changing the shelves’ arrangements to make shoppers slow, look around and wander on floor – more time more chances of overspend.

The one common purpose of all these sneaky psychological tricks is to make you spend more time on the floor with a fresh mood and spend more. And the best solution for all these and other store tactics is to stick to your shopping list. When you don’t need an item at home then how can you need it at the store? So, complete the shopping in your time & budget.

WHERE TO BUY  THE BEST GROCERY DEALS?

The following are the top order of 10 most popular grocery stores.

TOP TEN ONLINE GROCERY STORES

The combination of physical stores and online shopping for your grocery list can save your time and money from the comfort of home. Here is the list of top ten online grocery stores:

TOP TEN GROCERY SHOPPING APPS

Grocery shopping apps make it more convenient for mobile users to shop online food and grocery items from their favorite stores more prudently – saving time and money. Here is the list of top ten grocery shopping apps.

  1. Walmart | Platform: iOS and Android
  2. Walmart Grocery | Platform: iOS and Android
  3. Target | Platform: iOS and Android
  4. Sam’s club | Platform: iOS and Android
  5. Kroger | Platform: iOS and Android
  6. Safeway | Platform: iOS and Android
  7. Whole Foods | Platform: iOS and Android
  8. Costco | Platform: iOS and Android
  9. Sam’s Club Scan & Go | Platform: iOS and Android
  10. BJs Wholesale Club | Platform: iOS and Android

THE TAKEAWAYS

  1. The best time to buy groceries is daily store hours from 7 am to 10 am and from midnight to morning.
  2. Shop on the Wednesday and Thursday, the weekly offers flyers and the second week of a month.
  3. Always purchase in-advance for any special event or occasion.
  4. Set a meal plan as per your nutrition chart, maintain a grocery list, set a budget and visit store in non-crowded times.
  5. Buy in bulk – stockpile the imperishable items and shop online to avoid unnecessary store trips.
  6. The grocery and food is the best category to use coupons & deals – use discounted grocery apps such as Ibotta or Shopkick to find best grocery deals.
  7. Negotiate favorable deals and act prudently at the store flood if you want to survive the listed sneaky psychological tricks by merchants.

If you have any questions, comments, feedback, or tips I missed, we’d love to hear it below!
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The author is co-founder and content curator at Promolily. She is frugal living expert and enjoy experience of e-commerce, online marketing and retailing.

*Disclosure: It may contain affiliate links that may earn an advertising fee for advertising & linking to the merchant / business. The logos are property of respected brands & stores.

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