The Best Days and Times To Go Grocery Shopping

Picking the right time to shop can help you avoid crowds and get the freshest items.
Updated May 8, 2024
Fact checked
Family grocery shopping

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Grocery shopping can be frustrating if you go on the wrong day or time.

But there are ways to make the most of your shopping by planning trips for the best times, the best days, and at the right places.

Check out these options that can help you save on groceries — both in terms of time and money.

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Avoid crowds by shopping on Mondays through Thursdays

phpetrunina14/Adobe happy woman carrying shopping trolley full of grocery walking between shelves inside store

Many people shop on the weekends, which can cause frustration as you wait in line at the meat counter or the register.

Instead, try to get to the grocery store during the week, when lines and crowds are less likely.

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But really, any day but Saturday

Karanov images/Adobe man standing in supermarket buying chocolates from shelf with shopping basket in hand

Yes, midweek is your best bet for a quiet stroll through the grocery aisles and a short time in the checkout line. But if you can’t make it during the middle of the week, try any other time that isn’t Saturday. 

Many shoppers spend their Saturdays in the grocery aisles, especially in the afternoon. Try to get your shopping done at other times.

Research the best days for new deals

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Many grocery stores throughout the country start a new sales week on Wednesday, making it a great day to shop if you’re trying to save cash.

But check with your local stores and see when their best deals start. Some may begin on Sunday or start on Friday. Knowing which days sales begin can be a boon for your wallet.

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Get there (really) early or late to miss crowds

Rido/Adobe woman checking bottle of green sauce in supermarket.

Whether you’re an early riser or night owl, you can use the fact to your advantage when shopping for groceries.

Crowds are less likely very early in the day or very late in the evening. Those are good times to shop.

Get there early for the best quality

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In many cases, meat, produce, and other fresh items first appear on shelves early in the morning.

So if freshness is a priority, get to your favorite stores early to stock up on the freshest produce and meat. If you wait until the afternoon, these items will have been sitting around for a while.

Ask for the best day to buy produce

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Ask the store manager at your grocery store when fresh produce is delivered and added to the shelves.

Knowing this information can save you money because you will be able to purchase the freshest produce, meaning it is likely to last longer.

Wednesday afternoon means stocked shelves

Dragana Gordic/Adobe young woman shopping in a grocery store

Your grocery store likely gets new items on Tuesday night, but it takes some time before shelves are stocked.

So, if you’re looking for multiple items or need to pick up a variety of things, wait until grocery workers can get everything unloaded and onto the shelves. Shopping on Wednesday afternoon is probably a good idea.

Many stores restock meat and dairy on Wednesday, for instance. Find out if that’s true for your grocer to get the freshest meat.

Go holiday shopping three days before the holiday

NDABCREATIVITY/Adobe happy family in kitchen at home

Just before any major holiday, you can expect to find crowds at the grocery store. So try to get to the store three days before a holiday.

Although it’s not technically a holiday, remember that Super Bowl Sunday is also a big food day. So plan ahead as the big game approaches.

Stock up a few days before a storm

Pixel-Shot/Adobe woman with tablet computer using weather forecast app

Weather can greatly impact your shopping if you live somewhere with snowstorms, hurricanes, or other natural events.

Keep an eye on weather reports and try to get to the grocery store a few days before the storm hits. It will prevent you from standing in long lines and help you secure staples that might soon be out of stock.

Pro tip: Before grocery shopping, remember to check your wallet for the best rewards credit cards if you’re trying to earn extra cash back, points, or other perks.

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Bottom line

Donson/ couple with list in notebook budget and finance

There are some great ways to save time — and to keep more money in your wallet — when you shop at your local grocery store.

And to save even more, sign up for loyalty rewards at your local grocery store to get extra discounts when you shop.

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Annual Fee


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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and

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