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Best days of the week for discounts

Timing is everything when it comes to finding really low prices.

By MSN Money Partner Nov 4, 2011 11:28AM

This post comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.


SmartMoney on MSN MoneyWhat's the best day to shop? That depends on what you want to buy.


Retailers often pinpoint specific days of the week for their deepest discounts on select items. "You can see significant differences on a day-by-day basis," says Charlie Graham, chief executive of, a site that sends email alerts to shoppers when their favorite items go on sale.


In a study earlier this year the site found that skirts sold for an average of 77% off on Sundays, versus 52% off during other days of the week. A new study from shopping portal found that books are 11% cheaper on Saturdays while cameras are 4% less expensive on Mondays.


Shopping on the right day may be even more important during the holiday season, experts say. Stores focus their deals to beat out competitors, which means there may be fewer promotions during less-trafficked days, says Michelle Madhok, founder of sale-tracking site The exception: the week of Black Friday, when sales abound every day. "Then, pretty much everything is discounted," says co-founder Jeff Nobbs.


Here are the best days to make common purchases, now and throughout the rest of the year:


Airfare: Shop Tuesday

Most airlines post domestic fare sales on Monday evening, which leads to a Tuesday morning scramble to match prices, says Rick Seaney, chief executive of tracking site Five years' worth of the site's data indicates that the number of cheap seats on the market peaks about 3 p.m. Tuesday. Sales typically last three days so shoppers stand a decent chance of getting bargains on Wednesday and Thursday too.

But if you wait, sales on popular routes may sell out, experts say. (Post continues below.)

Appliances: Shop Sunday

Because most people pull the trigger on an appliance purchase during the weekend, retailers tend to drop prices so they look favorable in comparison with competitors, says Nobbs. "It makes sense -- they're offering their lowest prices on the days when the most consumers are out there looking," he says. By Extrabux's calculations, prices for washers, dryers, ovens and fridges are roughly 1% to 2% cheaper on Sunday, which works out to about $10 saved on a mid-range model.


Books: Shop Saturday

The weekend impulse to curl up with a good book or load up your e-reader generates plenty of sales. Nobbs says book prices tend to be at their highest on Friday, then plunge 11% to their cheapest prices on Saturdays.


Cars: Shop Monday

Dealerships are more open to negotiating on Mondays when the pressure is high to recover from lackluster weekend traffic or continue a bumper weekend's tally. "Their mindset is, we need to keep selling cars," says Phil Reed, consumer advice editor for auto pricing site Later in the week with the prospect of fresh weekend crowds, you'll have less leverage. "They know someone else will come along and buy that car," he says.


Clothing: Shop Thursday

Bricks-and-mortar and online retailers alike tend to start their big weekend sales on Thursdays. Shoppers digging for deals will find the most offers that day. They're also more likely to get their hands on the sale item because retailers beef up stock to prepare for the weekend rush, says Graham.


The catch: Although sales are more plentiful on Thursday, there may be slightly better deals on other days in select categories. Sale dresses, for example, carry an average discount of 54% off on Mondays, he says, up from 45% on other days of the week. Madhok says retailers -- including Banana Republic, Lord & Taylor and J.C. Penney -- are also starting to shift sales, starting markdowns as early as Wednesday.


Electronics: Shop Monday

Gadgets like computers, TVs, digital cameras and even video games run 2% to 4% cheaper on Mondays, Nobbs says. Big manufacturers like Dell and Sony tend to introduce discounts on Mondays and retailers are quick to pass these on. Web searches for electronics also pick up on Monday, he says, so stores are hoping to catch the e-shopper's eye with a splashy sale.


Groceries: Shop Sunday

Most chains offer their weekly sales circular on Wednesdays. Sunday shoppers, however, can arrive armed with the latest manufacturer's coupons printed in that day's paper, then combine the sale and the coupons for overlapping items, a practice known as stacking, says Stephanie Nelson, the founder of coupon site Some stores are tightening their coupon policies to allow fewer per transaction, so experts say combining coupons and sales is the best way to maximize savings.


Personal care items: Shop Sunday

Shoppers who want free toothpaste or deodorant may want to hit up the big drugstore chains on Sundays when the discounts and rebates on the latest store circular kick in. But to grab deals, you'll need to go early. "There are people there at midnight to stock up," says Nelson. If you're not a night owl or early riser, the best day for you might be later in the week. "If you really care about getting that free toothpaste, go on the day that the truck comes in," she says. "Ask the manager when he or she expects the next shipment."


More on SmartMoney and MSN Money:

Nov 5, 2011 9:55AM
I am very quietly shopping for the holidays. I plan on giving more cash than gifts. I VOTE with my pockets and they are telling me to spend on people, not the corporation "People". Other than that, here's a big middle finger to Companies that do more for stockholders than their own employees. (Walmart, Best Buy...)
Nov 4, 2011 3:50PM
Best day of the week .. don't shop at all. Thinking
Nov 5, 2011 8:55AM
>>Best day of the week .. don't shop at all. 

Yes, because we'd all want to live unfed, stank, and unclothed.
Nov 5, 2011 10:18AM

I always shop for airline tickets on Tuesday night or  Wednesday morning, usually find the flights I need for almost half price!

Nov 7, 2011 9:55AM

We usually do our Holiday shopping on Wednesdays. Since it's 'church night', the stores/malls seem to be less crowded. And like Michael Coats, we give our kids (who are older, now) money so they can buy what they really want - and during the 'After Christmas' sales. Of course, I usually break down and also send them a stocking full of stuff......some habits are hard to break.


Ahhh, who am I kidding; I LOVE doing the Christmas stockings...

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