Which is really the best day to shop for groceries?

Shopping for savings
Published: May. 20, 2018 at 7:45 PM EDT|Updated: May. 21, 2018 at 6:25 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - It turns out the way many of us are looking at sales at the grocery store is all wrong.

"I do a lot of shopping as a caretaker for senior citizens, so I go on Thursday when Harris Teeter has the senior citizen sale," Michelle Miller said.

"I go to the store based on need and price," said Catherine Bracey.

"Do I go based on sales?  Not usually," Lynn Elson said.

"I go Wednesdays when the sales come out.  If i see something and I know its on sale, I'll go that week," another shopper said.

Some will tell you it does pay to shop on certain days.  The staff at the mobile cash-back shopping app Ibotta ran the numbers for the best days to buy grocery items like beer, ice cream, produce, snacks and wine.

They say the most popular day to shop in Charlotte is on Sunday and the biggest average savings on the following items can be found certain days:

  • Beer is one percent cheaper on Wednesdays
  • Wine is four percent cheaper on Tuesdays
  • Produce is one percent cheaper on Fridays
  • Snacks are less than one percent cheaper on Thursday
  • Ice cream is one percent cheaper on Friday
  • Bread is two percent cheaper on Wednesday

Grocery expert Phil Lempert says those numbers sound nice but shopping for certain items on certain days isn't the tactic you should use to save the most money.  Especially since retailers are now operating differently when it comes to setting sales prices.

"IBM created those electronic shelf strips a few years ago and now if they want to retailers can change the prices in a minute. Throughout the day they can determine what they want the prices to be based on traffic in the store," Lempert said.

Lempert says the cheapest retailers for groceries right now are amazon.com followed by walmart.com.  He suggests you take your sales receipt from your grocery trip last week and compare the items and their prices to what you would pay at these online stores.

"Look at the big picture.  Most of us spend 85 percent of our shopping money on the same items every week," he said. "If you buy those staples online, have them delivered.  Then when you go into the store you'll save time just focusing on the fresh foods."

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