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Best Day of the Week for Grocery Shopping

The best day to buy gas may also be the best day for food shopping: Wednesday.

I've always heard that Hump Day is the best time of the week to grab gas before stations jack up their prices for weekend drivers. Now, reports that supermarkets tend to reduce prices on items that are expiring soon during that time frame, too. "Many grocery stores release their new sale advertisements [on Wednesday] but also honor the sales items from the previous week." They found this to be true in Sunflower supermarkets located in Arizona, California, Colorado and other western states, and in grocery stores throughout San Francisco. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, "Most grocery stores here in the Bay Area will mail out their sales flyers so they hit your mailbox on Tuesday, with prices good from Wednesday on. So if there's something you really want to stock up on, haunt the aisles on Hump Day."

I checked in with the experts over at, a Web site that helps shoppers customize a grocery list based on offers and promotions at local supermarkets. They also agreed that Wednesday is a hot day to buy groceries. "For about half of the country, this is the day when approximately half of the retailers start their weekly sales," says Gord Crowson of But to be sure, it's best to check to see when the flyers and circulars are released in your community. The Web site also recommends shopping in the evening, or a couple of hours prior to closing. " This is the time when perishables are typically reduced for quick sale. If the Produce, Bakery or Meat departments are concerned about having too much stock left over at the end of the day, they will often reduce the price by up to 50% to encourage quick sales."

It's a timely tip. A new survey finds that rising gas prices and a still-weak job market have Americans spending less on groceries. "The Why Behind the Buy" consumer survey says monthly food budgets have shrunk by 7% in the last year. Families earning less than $75,000 are saving the most, reducing grocery budgets by 10%.

How are they saving? The survey says more than half of shoppers are paying closer attention to what they're putting in the carts, 43% are buying less food and 22% are shopping at cheaper stores.

Now they might want to add Wednesday-night food runs to the list.

Farnoosh Torabi is a personal finance journalist and commentator. She is the author of the new book Psych Yourself Rich, Get the Mindset and Discipline You Need to Build Your Financial Life. Follow her at and on Twitter/farnoosh

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Photo source: Simon Shek's photostream on Flickr

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