The best — and worst — times to go grocery shopping

iStockSaturday is the worst day of the week to grocery shop.
  • Crowded grocery shopping is one of the worst experiences of day-to-day life
  • If you want to save money, shop on Wednesdays or Thursdays.
  • Avoid grocery shopping on Saturdays at all costs.

Grocery shopping in a crowded store can be a nightmare, but it often seems like everyone gets the same idea to go shopping at the same time. It’s easy to forget items on your list when you are surrounded by throngs of other shoppers. To ensure that your shopping experience is as easy as it can be, we rounded up some tips to find the best days to go grocery shopping and the worst.

Monday through Thursday are all great days of the week to shop, as long as you go early or midday.

Most people tend to stock up for the week on the weekend, leaving the aisles open and free for you to roam easily during the typical 9-5 work day. By evening, you’ll find stores become quite crowded. Grocery stores in the US average 29-30 million shoppers each day Monday to Thursday, compared to 33-41 million shoppers on Friday to Sunday, according to the Time Use Institute.

Super early in the morning or really late at night are the best times of any day to shop.

Whether you are an early bird or a night owl, you’ll find most stores are nearly empty if you go first thing or near closing time. Plus, in the morning, you’ll likely have access to freshly stocked shelves and straight-from-the-oven baked goods.

“As the saying goes ‘the early bird gets the worm,'” private chef Isabella Bedoya told Food & Wine. “Being one of the first shoppers at the store gives you an advantage-you get to select the freshest produce the store will offer that day. I’ve noticed when I shop late nights, it’s hard for me to find quality produce because stores tend to sell out of fresh produce by the night time.”

At night, many store workers are stocking the shelves for the next day, so it should be easy to find what you need.

Grocery shopping produceiStockGrocery shopping in a crowded store is a nightmare.

Early morning on Wednesday is the best time and day overall to visit the grocery store.

If you want the ultimate grocery shopping experience, head to the store on a Wednesday morning, a grocery store worker told Reader’s Digest, The new deals will be starting, and old deals will likely still be in place for the remainder of the day.

Not only will you likely find the best prices, but the shelves should be fully stocked early in the morning. Foods from the bakery and deli will also likely be freshly prepared. There will also be fewer people around to navigate around – you can just take in the quiet and the savings all to yourself.

Buying groceriesSyda Productions/ShutterstockEarly morning on Wednesday is the best time.

Evenings or midday on the weekends are usually the worst times to head to the store.

Those who are getting off work and realising they have to stop at the store to get a few last-minute ingredients for dinner will all be on their way to the store in the evenings through the week, with the busiest time typically starting at 4 p.m. Steer clear of the store at this time if you don’t want to meet the crowds.

Most people tend to do their grocery shopping for the week ahead on Saturdays and Sundays, so midday on either of these days is also a bad choice to shop. Mornings and evenings are generally fine, as people are sleeping in or enjoying a night off work.

Saturday is the worst day of the week to grocery shop.

As sort of a weekly ritual, around 41 million people purchase most of their groceries for the entire upcoming week on Saturday, according to the Time Use Institute. Try adjusting your schedule to avoid the store altogether on this day.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.