The Best Day of the Week to Go Grocery Shopping

To save money on groceries, start shopping on Wednesdays.

Fewer crowds, fully-stocked shelves and freshly delivered produce—welcome to any given Wednesday at a grocery store near you!

This mid-week day is when to shop if you’re looking to save money on groceries. It’s all the better if you can swing an afternoon or evening trip, when perishable items are more likely to be marked down.

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Why Wednesday Works So Well

I love shopping on Wednesday afternoons! By then, Tuesday night’s deliveries should be fully stocked on shelves, so I have dibs on the freshest goods before the hungry after-work crowd arrives. (Even if you’re among the first when inventory is at its peak, be sure you’re avoiding 9 of the most common mistakes people make when shopping for produce.)

The reason Wednesdays rule at the grocery store is really two-fold. In addition to it being the day when new specials take effect—hence all the new endcaps you see—it’s also that weekday grocery workers are most likely to give you a little grace. Whether it’s for a raincheck you forgot to use or a manufacturer’s coupon you remembered for last week’s sale item that’s now full price, clerks and store managers are more likely to honor those discounts on Hump Day. Plus: Check out these clever ways to store food in your cabinets and pantry.

What You Should Buy

Meat: For the best deals, head straight to the meat department and stock up on lean ground beef or chicken breast. It’s often discounted by as much as 50%! It’s also usually on sale 1-2 days prior to the “sell by” date. That’s more than enough time to freeze the extras and work ’em into next week’s meal plan.

Cheese: You can also score major budget mileage in the cheese section of your deli department, especially on those varieties that will really elevate your everyday meals. Think Brie, and bleu, and those baby fresh mozzarella pearls that are perfect for this Insalata Capresa. Or Gouda, Gruyere and goat cheese—take your pick, and enjoy half-off prices with “sell by” dates that are a good five days out. Also, did you know you don’t have to refrigerate these 10 things?

Bakery: It’s also worth perusing the baked bread section. Reduced items are often displayed together on a mobile bakery cart—keep an eye out for “Quick Sale”-type signage. Among the sourdough and focaccia, you can often find mealmaker ingredients like flatbread pizza crust, with discounts ranging from 25 to 50% off. Is there anything better than a flatbread full of fresh vegetables? (I can’t get enough of this Grilled Flatbread Veggie Pizza!)

Milk & Yogurt: Depending on how fast your household runs through milk, this could be another power buy to save money on groceries. Milk by the gallon often hits the clearance case five days prior to its sell by date. The same is true for versatile and healthy Greek yogurt.

Now that you’re in the know, check out our expert tips to create a well-organized grocery list and then get going!

Don’t have a pantry for food storage? Check out these clever no-pantry storage ideas.