If you're looking for tips on how to save money when shopping, you'll usually run across advice such as "use coupons" and "don't food shop on an empty stomach." I ran across an interesting addition to the canon the other day on our Living Below Your Means discussion board.

ROTJob started the conversation with this advice: "I like to shop late at night. ... I hate the long lines that come with shopping after work or on the weekends. ... I have noticed that I am actually saving more money by shopping at night. I thought I would pass along a few tips I have encountered." He then offered some specific examples:

  • At Panera Bread, which closes at 9 p.m. in his neighborhood, he arrived at 8:45 p.m. and ended up getting 34 bagels for the price of 12, with some pastries thrown in, because they were otherwise going to be thrown away.
  • At grocery stores: ".Talk to your meat department people and find out when they mark down or restock the meat cases. At my store, they do this at night. I usually end up walking in just as they are marking down the meat for the mad rush the next day. I get first choice, and usually load up on it when I time it just right. Last night, I found a really nice eye of round that was being marked down half price. . Finding the good deals is hit or miss since you are buying what they happen to have left over, but if you keep your plans fluid, you can save some big bucks this way."

Lovingrose explained that she had a similar experience at Panera: "It was closing time, and I asked for a couple pastries. She didn't even charge me for them! Said they were going to throw them out. That concerned me (especially since they have collection boxes for feeding folks). She said, no, they don't really throw it out. Most nights, trucks come from food banks or kitchens to pick up the leftovers. Yaaay!"

FeedmeNOWhuman added, "When I worked at McDonald's 20 years ago, the food was thrown out because otherwise, you'd be motivated to deliberately cook too much extra."

Horum explained, "This is the same reason that many stores (I think Wal-Mart is one) will not sell damaged merchandise at a discount to employees. Damaged stuff has to be thrown out and is often defaced before being thrown out."

epona4 observed: "Something I have noticed in my trips to Goodwill. Often a Goodwill [store] is very close to a Target. Target donates its merchandise that is in damaged boxes. Display models, discontinued items."

Getting back on track, epona4 chimed in, explaining that she's not a night person but does enjoy shopping early in the morning (such as between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. on weekends). "I have noticed that swinging by Kroger three evenings a week is worthwhile" -- primarily because she finds milk and orange juice significantly marked down.

dtschet added, "'Shopping' late pays off on Sunday nights after neighborhood garage sales. Most people put leftovers out to the curb as 'free.'"

Read the entire discussion on our boards, and chime in with your own thoughts, too!

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Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of Wal-Mart. The Motley Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.