When it comes to nabbing the best price on everything, it’s all about timing. You can save hundreds, even thousands, of dollars a year by knowing the best days to shop. We crunched the products, prices and times to compile a cheat sheet on when to find the biggest bargains.
Historically, the cheapest day for petrol in Australian capital cities is Tuesday, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Midweek is when people are busiest and less likely to head to the bowser so buying petrol on a Tuesday or Wednesday could save you a few cents per litre.
Petrol stations have their own pricing cycle where the cost per litre rises and falls by the hour. Keep an eye on your local service station to find out how long their pricing cycle is and when they hit their lowest point to time your refills. Generally, it’s best to avoid the bowsers on Thursday and Friday as the end of the working week is the peak for petrol prices in most cities.
The cheapest days for supermarket prices are Monday and Thursday. Stores often offer specials on staples such as nappies and laundry powder on Monday. Another round of specials usually happens each Thursday and again on Friday with fresh produce markdowns.
If you don’t know what time a supermarket puts the discount stickers on, just ask. Generally, supermarkets price their produce down at the end of the day if it’s perishable so buying your meat, milk or baked goods in the afternoon or at night instead of the morning can be kinder on your hip pocket.
Flying on Monday, Friday and Sunday will increase the risk of paying more for your ticket as these are prime days for business travellers on the go, as well as families leaving or returning from weekend trips. Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday are usually the cheapest days to fly. If you can’t control the day of the week you’re flying, then try to be flexible with the time. The most expensive periods tend to be between 6.30-9.30am, and 4-7pm.
Car yards are busiest with potential buyers on the weekend so you are more likely to negotiate a better deal during the week. Car salespeople typically receive bonuses at the end of the month so will probably work harder to meet their quotas then with discounted vehicles. December signals the start of the intense year-end sale period, with dealers focused on clearing current model-year stock while January is a carry-over month for discounts.
If you’re in the market for a new computer, TV, fridge or washing machine wait until the weekend rush is over. Quieter weekdays are when you are more likely to have the salesperson’s full attention and willingness to offer you a discount.
When it comes to electronic goods, manufacturers often release discounts on Mondays and, in turn, the retailer passes these on to the consumer at the start of the week. And if you have time to wait, savvy shoppers buy big-ticket electrical items and tech devices just before new model introductions.
Dining out and entertainment
Restaurants: After the weekend rush, Tuesday is usually quieter for most restaurants so they may offer more specials. Tuesdays are also typically the day most restaurants receive food deliveries as many are shut on Monday, so you’ll have the freshest meals too.
Kids meals: Tuesdays are by far the most popular day to find restaurants and some larger cafes where kids eat free. Many eating spots feature free meals for kids every day of the week so hunt them out but Tuesdays are predominantly the best day for family deals.
Movies: After cinemas raised their top tickets to $20 a few years ago, cheap Tuesdays became the obvious way to dodge rising prices. In general, the big cinema chains have clenched-cheek Tuesdays, while the art-house cinemas have cheaper tickets on Mondays and Tuesdays. Other perks of seeing a movie on cheapskate days might include a discount on your movie munchies with the purchase of a ticket. Look for early bird discounts where cinemas offer cheaper tickets before 5pm on weekdays.