When is the best time to buy groceries?
How healthy -- and cheap -- your food is depends on when you hit the grocery store.
This post comes from Brian O'Connell at partner site MainStreet.
To adequately feed a family of four, Americans spend $191 per week on average, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The USDA considers that a "low-cost food spending plan," with the average moderate- and liberal-grocery spending plans jumping to $239 and $290, respectively.
If that sounds like a lot of cabbage, financially and food-wise, it is. The lowest figures times 52 weeks translates into a $9,932 household food bill over the course of a year, and that doesn't count vacation meals and restaurant spending.
It underscores the need to maximize the grocery shopping experience, week in and week out, starting with discounts and coupons (online grocery discount sites such as Coupons.com and GroceryCouponsForFree.com can help you there) and including more creative steps to maximize your grocery store experience, save money and eat better in the process.
Start with the day and time you hit the grocery store.
Researchers at Cornell University say shoppers who ventured out earlier in the day (between 1 and 4 p.m.) bought less high-calorie foods than those who shopped between 4 and 7 p.m.)
But the best time to go shopping may be first thing in the morning. That is when perishable foods such as dairy products and fruits and vegetables are most fresh, since in the age of logistics and inventory management, grocery stores usually have food delivered every day.
Financially, the best day of the week to go shopping is likely Wednesday — that's the day grocery stores start their weekly discount and coupon programs. It's also a day most stores will honor coupons from the previous week, giving shoppers a "discount double play."
The worst day of the week to shop might be Saturday, although there is little research on the topic. A 2008 study from the Time Use Institute does say that Saturday is, by far, the busiest grocery shopping day of the week, with 41 million shoppers (Friday is second, at 35 million).
Wednesday averages 30 million shoppers, according to the study, making for more room in the aisles.
Shop early Wednesday and use coupons and you'll beef up your food shopping experience and improve your sanity, diet and banking account at the same time.
More from MainStreet:
One rule I always follow.....always eat before going grocery shopping.
I have actually been in the check out line. The couple in front of me, with their EBT card, actually had frozen lobster, shrimp and crab legs in the cart, chips, soda, etc.
Are you kidding me!
They should be limited to Food items and not Luxury food items!
To shop on early on Wednesday is impossible if you have a full time job. With my work scheduled it's sometimes impossible to get to the store, especially if you rely on public transportation. Only stay at home moms or dads can do this.
My husband and I spend about $200 a month on groceries, and we eat lots of meat and fresh veggies. We do probably go once a week, and he might buy his lunch once a week, but for the most part, that $200 pretty much covers us. I use coupons and buy generic when I can, and we have a meatless night once a week. Sometimes I think people think they need more food than they really do. Portion control is a lost concept in America.
I can't imagine nearly $800 a month for a family of 4! What in the world are they eating all day?!?!
I do 99% of my food shopping at Fred Meyer. The first Tuesday of each month they offer a 10% discount on their house brands. And you can use other coupons as well. We don't have the Wednesday ads coming out here. They are from Sunday-Saturday. The only complaint I have is that they are still stocking at 9-10 A.M. when the Sr. van takes us shopping. Have always been a coupon shopper and it does save money! Always have a list and seldom deviate from said list. If people would stop buying all of the pre-packaged crap and frozen food that is packed full of sodium they could cut their food bill down by a whole lot. Learn to cook and cook homemade from scratch. It's cheaper in the long run and a whole lot healthier! Don't have time? Take one of your days off and do prep work and/or fix meals for the whole week and freeze or refrigerate. Been there and done that in my younger years. You do what needs to be done to control your spending! Just sayin'......
$190 per week for food for 4 people is WAY more than "adequate". I don't think hand outs funded by my taxes need to be generous. I'd prefer to see food allowances reduced and more spent on shelters and helping people find jobs. Our food budget is less than that! If I had $190/month food budget for 2 adults and 2 kids, we could afford to serve LOTS of junk food snacks and ready-made meals (and even some inexpensive restaurant meals) so we'd hardly ever have to spend any time or discipline actually budgeting and planning and WORKING in the kitchen to make ends meet! As it is, we work our jobs, work at shopping and meal planning, can't afford to allow ourselves or the kids to 'graze' through the cupboards at will all week long, and we MOSTLY avoid restaurants and ready-made foods...all to 'get by' with no handouts.
Maybe government and the Fed will work on taking the last 3 cents of purchasing value left in our Fiat Dollar?
'Our' [labor] creates more wealth than it ever has. Yet, we now have the lowest Standard of Living since World War II. The oppressive Bureaucracy in control of 'our' government must be removed!
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
ABOUT SMART SPENDING
LATEST BLOG POSTS
If you're thinking about buying a car and the Carfax report comes back clean, you're good to go, right? Um, maybe not. Here are four other ways you can avoid buying a clunker.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
BLOGS WE LIKE
MUST-SEE ON MSN
- Video: Easy DIY smoked meats at home
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'