When is the best time to go grocery shopping?

Buy groceries Wednesday afternoons after stores restock and release deals.

Grocery shopping is a necessary chore and, unless you’ve embraced a life of Instacart luxury, you’ve no doubt navigated the worst store scenarios. You absolutely need groceries, but the store is unbearably crowded, the shelves are empty and the register just keepings ringing.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Here’s how to grocery shop smarter with a little forethought.

When to shop if you want to save money

If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck, consensus is to shop on Wednesdays evenings. Nearly half of U.S. retailers start their store specials on Wednesdays and many still accept coupons and deals from the previous week too. That’s double the deals. Stores begin marking down perishables – your Bakery, Meat and Produce products – in the evening, offering additional savings if you’re willing to run the risk of your shopping list being out of stock.

The first day of deals can vary by store, so be sure to check the start date the store circular or booklet you get in the mail.

When to shop if you want the freshest goods

In addition to produce and meat, dairy goods like eggs, milk and cheese are best brought fresh.

The best way to find out when your local store gets their deliveries is to just ask. That said, most stores get their deliveries on Tuesdays and all should be stocked by mid-week. Head to the grocer Tuesday if you want something straight off the truck, but Wednesday morning should do just as well.

When to shop when you want to be alone
Sometimes, the only thing that matters is having a little space when you shop. Weekday rush hour is after the 9-5 work day, but Saturday and Sunday during the day are the worst.

On the weekend, the best time is going to be early-to-mid morning or Friday or Saturday night. Monday to Friday, go late morning or early afternoon if you can – the store will be freshly stocked. If not, wait out the rush hour and go during the after-dinner hours between 7 and 9.

When to shop when you want it all

Go for early afternoon Wednesday. At most stores, the new deliveries will be in, the shelves stocked for the day and two weeks worth of deals recognized at the register.