Choose the Right Day
Love a good deal? Sometimes finding the best ones depends not just on finding the right place to buy, but on choosing the right day to shop.
“Consumer shopping behavior varies by day of the week, and retailers respond by differing promotions and prices by day of the week,” says Jon Lal, founder of BeFrugal.com. For instance, a certain day may be better for purchasing particular items because it is the day when products are likely to be on sale, or when a retailer's ad comes out, says David Bakke of Money Crashers.
Use this guide to make strategic purchases — on anything from groceries to electronics — on the days of the week when you’re most likely to get the best price.
If you’re in the market for a new laptop, smartphone or other electronic device, start your workweek with a little shopping. Mondays are the best day to purchase most electronics because it’s the day that electronics manufacturers extend discounts and rebates, Lal says. As a result, many retailers will lower their prices on these items.
Lal estimates that consumers can save between $10 and $50 on electronics. And the discounts are available at both big box and independent stores — “Any retail store that opts to lower prices when manufacturers extend discounts and rebates,” Lal says.
Planning a trip? Tuesdays are the best days to book your flight. More specifically, Tuesday afternoons at 3 p.m. Eastern time, according to consumer saving expert Andrea Woroch. That’s because airlines bid for flights on Mondays and release deals starting Tuesday. “Plus, search is lowest midweek, so we see prices go down,” Woroch says.
However, the Tuesday rule has its limitations. If you book too late — within 14 days — or if you book too early — more than five months in advance — you will pay a premium, Woroch says. Between three and four weeks in advance of your trip is “the sweet spot” for booking flights within the United States.
Also, when searching for your flight, “make sure you clear your cookies,” Woroch advises. “Airline websites track your searches and will raise the price if they see you are eager to book a certain flight.”
Wednesdays: Gas and Groceries
Midweek is a good time to shop for staples. “Most grocery stores release new circulars on Wednesdays while still honoring the previous week's deals,” Woroch says. That potential overlap of two weeks’ worth of sales ensures the best prices on a wide variety of grocery items.
In addition, “Grocers lower prices on goods that are about to expire so you can snag some good deals to cook right away,” Woroch says. “This means consumers who buy food on Wednesday will have double the opportunity to save. Your grocery store may even offer double coupon days on the same day.”
While you’re out, fill up your gas tank too. Gas prices usually rise on Thursdays in anticipation of the weekends, when more people are on the road traveling, Lal says.
Thursdays are generally the best day to purchase clothing at a discount. Retailers begin getting ready for weekend shoppers, organizing clothing sale racks with new markdowns, Woroch says. “Thursday evening offers you the opportunity to scoop up the latest discounted merchandise before it gets picked through,” she says. You’ll get weekend sale prices with a larger selection of inventory.
Weekends: Online Shopping, Drugstore Items and Appliances
Weekends are the best time for online shopping in general, Woroch says. That’s when “computer algorithms find higher traffic for online shoppers, which means retailers are willing to lower prices to capture sales,” she explains.
Sundays specifically are the best days to complete your drugstore shopping, Bakke says. The weekly ads for chains like Walgreens and CVS are released on Sundays, and sale items often run out quickly.Those ads often include good buys on household items like cleaning supplies, soap, garbage bags, snacks, colas and cosmetics.
Weekends can also be the best times to make large purchases in stores, such as appliances and furniture, because your chances are better for finding a sale, Bakke says.