WE all love a bargain, and you can drastically increase your chance of bagging one if you shop at high street stores at the right time.
We can reveal when you should be heading down to discount chains such as Poundland, B&M, Aldi and Lidl to make sure you're at the front of the queue for one-off specials and heavily reduced items.
Supermarkets and discounters are designed so that shoppers can get everything they need in one visit, which is why they're often open from early in the morning until late at night.
Some are even open 24 hours.
But if you want to maximise your chances of picking up reduced items and one-off specials, then you need to be savvy when you plan your visits.
We've asked retailers and savvy shoppers for their top tips on the best times to go shopping at four of our favourites: Aldi, B&M, Lidl and Poundland.
Here's what we've learned.
For reduced items – when shops open
Red sticker items are rare at Aldi's 830 UK stores, but the supermarket says that none of its food goes to waste so there are some to be found – if you're quick.
A spokesman for the supermarket said: "All items are reduced to 50 per cent of the recommend sales price before stores open on their best before or use by dates."
That means you have the best chance of finding reduced food items if you go into stores as soon as it opens.
Opening times vary by shop but a majority open from 7am or 8am. You can find your nearest store's times by using the supermarket's online shop finder tool.
For Specialbuys – Thursdays and Sundays
Specialbuys are Aldi's weekly collection of items that it doesn't normally sell, which can range from pizza ovens to power tools.
New stock comes into stores every Thursday and Sunday, so naturally, these are the best days to visit for the best one-off special deals.
For an even better chance of bagging the best items, head there for your local store's opening time.
You don't have to head into stores to bag a Specialbuy, though.
They also go on sale online, usually at midnight on Thursday and Sunday, and you can pre-order them up to a week in advance.
As long as you spend at least £25, you'll get the items delivered for free.
Sunday's collection includes a range of kitchen items including slow cookers and tea towels.
Remember: once they're gone, they're gone, so if there's something you really want, visit as early as possible.
For reduced items – Wednesdays
B&M has previously said its staff members don't know what will be reduced until the day itself, with products marked down in price every day.
But on Facebook, savvy shoppers think they've cracked the formula for when the discount chain lowers prices.
It's said Wednesdays are the best day to head to B&M as this is when it reduces the most products, according to Tom Church of Latest Deals.
But reductions happen on other days too.
Tuesday is thought to be when staff reduce food, pet items and cleaning products, while Friday is another big clearance sale day, shoppers said last year.
You might also see reductions on Thursdays and Saturdays as apparently these are the days staff try to flog old stock and seasonal items at lower prices.
It's best to head in on these days in the morning, as insiders said staff will start reducing products from about 7.30am.
You can find out when your nearest store opens using B&M's online shop finder tool.
For new items – Everyday
B&M says it stocks its more than 600 shops with new items everyday.
The retailer told us that often it will make a deal with a supplier and have the item in store the very next day.
This confirms what B&M fans have said, too.
Thrifty shoppers say there's new deals in stores every day.
They recommend regularly looking at the B&M website, which lists nearly everything in stores right now.
But don't rely on it too much, as not all products will be on the website.
You can also sign up to B&M's newsletter which will tell you about its latest offers.
At the moment, there's also the chance to win £100 worth of shopping vouchers if you sign up.
The quietest time to shop – 3pm and 6pm
Footfall is at its lowest at 3pm and 6pm, B&M staff told us.
Perfect if you already know what you want from the chain – but you might miss out on deals that come in earlier in the day.
How to find the cheapest deals
FOLLOW our tips and tricks to cut the costs of your shopping:
- Find the cheapest online prices: Google Shopping is a good tool for finding the cheapest price – it searches a wide range of retailers of various sizes
- Abandon online shopping baskets: Don't go straight to check-out after putting the items in your basket – it may tease retailers into giving you discount codes
- Ask a site to negotiate a fee for you: If you're struggling to find a deal, Flubit is a free site that aims to negotiate discounts for you
- Sign up to retailers' newsletters for big discounts: It sometimes means a percentage discount code, or a straight discount off your first shop
- Check when stores discount groceries: Check with your local store when they discount food items that are about to expire – this is the perfect time to nab bargains
For reduced items – when shops open
Unlike other supermarkets, Lidl (and Aldi) reduce their items at the start of the day, according to experts.
Lidl usually reduces products in its 760 UK stores near the use-by date to about 30 per cent of the original price, bloggers from Student Hacks have previously revealed.
Opening times vary from shop to shop, but most open from 7am or 8am.
You can find out your local branch's opening times by using Lidl's online store finder tool.
We asked Lidl to reveal when it thinks the best time to shop there is – but we didn't hear back.
For one-off specials – Thursdays and Sundays
It's no secret that every Thursday and Sunday, Lidl refreshes its Middle of Lidl items.
Just like Aldi's Specialbuys, Lidl's middle of the shop offers can include a wide variety of items, from power tools to fresh flowers.
This Sunday, there's a range of electrical deals including TVs and headphones on offer as well as rugby clothes, but it changes every week.
You can find out what's currently in stores, and what will be coming in over the next week, on Lidl's website.
The quietest time to shop – 9pm to 10pm
If you want to avoid the crowds, you'll generally have aisles to yourself between 9pm and 10pm.
You can use Google's "popular times" feature to find out the least busy periods for your nearest shop.
For reduced items – when shops open and after 4pm
Blogger Tom Church told The Sun that Poundland reduces the price of perishable items in its 850 stores to 50p if the best-before date expires that day before the shops open.
But a little-known tip, which the retailer has confirmed, is that any food item unsold by 4pm will be reduced again to 25p.
So it could be worth popping in when your local branch opens, and mid-afternoon.
Find out the opening times of your local store by using Poundland's online shop finder tool.
For new stock – when shops open
The official line from Poundland is that delivery times for new stock vary from place to place, but every shop will be re-stocked daily with chilled items.
That said, you're probably best to visit your local shop in the morning soon after it opens to have the best chance of bagging the most popular items.
We've previously revealed the top 10 tips for saving money at Poundland.
But be careful, because Poundland actually charges you double for some branded goods compared to supermarkets.
Meanwhile, in TK Maxx, there's a way you can quickly find out if an item has been reduced twice by looking at the label.
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