When you’re a new couponer, there’s nothing worse than feeling stressed in the aisles and at the register of a super-busy grocery store! There you are, trying to figure out if the coupon you’re holding matches the product on the shelf—all while making sure you, your cart, and your children aren’t blocking someone’s way. Believe me, I’ve been there and know it’s a whole lot easier to just avoid those hectic, high-traffic times. Follow these tips for a better shopping experience!

Days

  • First or second day of sale: This is one of the best chances to get items in stock. By the end of the sale period, it’s likely all the best and cheapest product will be gone.
  • Shipments: Ask when your store gets new shipments in, and try to shop soon after. This is especially a good method for drugstores that have limited stock.
  • Middle of the ad week: This time often has the slowest days with emptier stores and shorter lines. If a product is out of stock, consider getting a rain check or placing a special order.

Times

  • Try to avoid: Saturdays, Sundays (after churches get out), the day before holidays/events (Easter, Super Bowl Sunday, Thanksgiving, Christmas) or right after rush hour where everyone is getting off work or rushing for last-minute dinner ingredients. These are often the busiest times, equaling potentially stressed-out fellow customers and cashiers.
  • Early morning and late evening: Great for shorter lines and fewer customers. Early mornings are often when fresh products, including meat, bakery, and produce are restocked. Nighttime perks often include markdowns and reduced-for-quick-sale items.
  • During big events: If there’s a big game playing (either on TV or in town) or a local event, this can be a great time for more available parking spots and faster checkouts. For in-town events, give it about a half an hour to an hour after the starting time for incoming traffic to die down. And ensure enough time to make it home before the game or concert gets out!