This Is The Best Time of Day to Grocery Shop

Know when to go to save time, money, and your sanity

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I am one of those people who absolutely love going to the grocery store. Growing up, my dad and I had a father-daughter Sunday ritual of hitting up our local market together. We would each take a cart and meet up at the registers 30 minutes later, eager to share our finds. It might sound strange, but those grocery store trips were one of the highlights of my childhood.

My sentimental musings aside, I've spent a lot of time in grocery stores throughout my life. Over time, I've learned the best times to hit the market, depending on your objective. Read on to learn how to maximize your market experience, even if you don't share my passion for weekly food shopping.

To Beat the Crowds

The best bet is to get to the market early, as soon as it opens, or late, right before it closes. You'll zip through the aisles and check out with practically no one to slow you down. During the week, avoid visiting between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., when most people get off work and head to the store. Also, stay away on the weekends when people go to stock up for the week, or a few hours before a major sporting event (e.g., the Super Bowl).

To Get the Best Quality

Get to the store about an hour after opening—you'll catch the dairy, meat, and seafood sections right after they've been restocked, meaning you get first pick of the goods. Show up late and things tend to be picked over, leaving you with less-than-desirable options.

To Get the Best Deals

Many stores start deals on Wednesdays, making Wednesday morning a great time to get a bargain. But this depends on when your local grocery store releases its weekly ads. Do a little research and go that same day. You'll have your choice of all the new sale items before they're snatched up.

To Get the Freshest Produce

Talk to the store manager about when they get their produce delivered. Then time your shopping to coincide with the freshest arrivals.

To Beat the Holiday Rush

Most people think that the day before a holiday will be a mad rush at the store, but often it's two days before that the stores are slammed. Aim for three days ahead to avoid major lines and crowded aisles. For example, do your Thanksgiving shopping on Monday of that week, or even earlier if you can store the perishables properly at home.

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