Deep Discounts on Schedule: The Best Days to Shop

by Tara Struyk on 1 December 2011 5 comments

I grocery shop every Saturday afternoon. I do it because it’s convenient, and I don’t mind the crowds. As it turns out, I’ve been getting it all wrong. Recent data suggests I may save more if I shop on Sunday instead. In fact, there’s a best time of the week to almost everything. So if you’re heading out to shop this week — or shopping online — read on to find out which days are most likely to provide rock-bottom prices.

Monday: Computers, Electronics, and Cars

If you’re in the market for a new computer, TV, camera, or video game, shop on Monday. This is especially true if you’re buying these items online, as Monday is also the best overall day to click your way to the best deals. According to Extrabux.com, many electronics items sell for less on Monday because after a weekend of shopping at the mall, many workers head back to their desks to look for lower prices online, forcing retailers to present their best deals in an attempt to win them over. Many electronics rebates are also applied on Mondays, and these savings are passed on to consumers. The average price for a computer, for example, hits a low of $1,210.24 on Mondays, rising to a peak of $1,256.27 on Fridays, when fewer consumers tend to be shopping.

According to Edmunds.com, Monday is also the best day of the week to buy a car because dealerships are more willing to negotiate. Whether they’ve had poor sales over the weekend or are looking to keep a strong weekend run going, the start of a new week is when buyers are likely to have the most negotiating power, which often means driving away with a better deal.

Tuesday: Airline Tickets

Although airline pricing tends to fluctuate enough to drive frequent flyers crazy, it does move in a predictable pattern that suggests that Tuesday or Wednesday is the best time to buy. This is because many seat sales, which often bring the price down by 10 to 15%, are launched on Monday night, according to the Wall Street Journal, leaving consumers to fight for a discounted ticket on Tuesday morning. By Tuesday afternoon, competitors are working to match seat sale prices, making Wednesday a good bet for cheaper flights as well.

Wednesday: Jewelry

If it’s bling you’re in the market for, online jewelry prices are ever-so-slightly lower on Wednesdays. This may be because women are more likely to shop in the middle of week, and, as we saw in electronics, a higher number of searches tends to drive down prices. According to Extrabux, average jewelry prices hit a low of $218.26 on Wednesdays, and peaked on Saturdays at $220.49.

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Thursday: Clothes

In my own shopping experience, I’ve discovered that Thursdays are a good time to shop for clothes, particularly if you’re headed to an off-price discount retailer such as Ross or T.J. Maxx. This is because both online and brick-and-mortar retailers are more likely to get new merchandise on this day — and because this is typically the day when weekend sales begin. However, as stores continue to compete for customers, many are expanding weekend sales into Wednesday, which could affect this trend, according to SmartMoney.

Saturday: Books

If hitting up a local book store is your ideal way to spend a Saturday, you’re in luck — you're likely to see better deals on Saturday, says Extrabux. Although the price of books tends to fluctuate pretty widely, it hits a definite low on Saturday, averaging $12.72, compared to late-week highs of $14.33. Books are probably cheaper on Saturday for the same reason you may be more likely to hang out at Barnes & Noble — there’s time to read.

Sunday: Things for Your Home

Just like online shopping tends to happen from a cubicle on Monday, things for the home tend to be top of mind on Sundays, driving their prices down. Major appliances, for one, are cheaper on Sunday. If you’ve ever shopped for a new fridge or stove, you probably know what a major undertaking it can be. This may be why people might be more likely to shop for these items on a Sunday, when they have time to spend the day comparing prices, whether at the stores or online. This drives prices down as stores fight for their business, according to Ebux.com. In fact, the prices for major appliances were inversely correlated with Google searches for such items, which rose as prices dropped.

Sunday is also a good day to buy groceries and personal care items. Manufacturers’ coupons for such items tend to kick in on Sundays, and can often be combined with deals from a store’s weekly flyer, according to MSN Money. If you already collect coupons and watch for sales, doing your shopping on Sunday might help you knock off a few extra dollars.

When it comes to shopping, there’s a best day of the week to buy just about everything. Although the discounts are sometimes relatively small, frugal shoppers know these can add up to big savings. I think I’ll give shopping on Sunday a try. After all, when it comes to find really low prices, timing is everything!

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Guest's picture

It really is amazing that shopping by day can have such a difference, but I have seen it. I guess if everybody starts flocking to the low-cost days, that will eventually either even things out or push the low-cost days around.

Guest's picture
Michal

Anyone have ideas on when it's best to buy and sell on ebay?

Guest's picture

Very cool! I knew that clothing stores usually got new clothes in on Thursday's, but I was unaware that each day of the week had special deals on different items. It makes sense that grocery prices fall on Sundays because this is when most mother's have time to get to the store and plan for the week ahead. These are great tips for anyone to keep in the back of their mind, who knows how much money you could save annually if you follow these rules for when to buy!

Guest's picture
Guest

Great article. Extremely valuable as I'm trying to become more of a 'extreme couponer' so now I know WHEN to shop to apply my coupons &/or discounts. Thanks much!!

Guest's picture
Caspar

I'm rather late and this is an interesting article, but... what happened to Friday? Was that intentional, or were you hinting that perhaps Friday isn't a good day to do any sort of shopping whatsoever? ;]