There several dollar stores in each community; usually, one or two large chain dollar stores and several privately owned dollar stores as well.
A few of the popular ones are: Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, and Dollar General.
Just because the word "dollar" is in the name, doesn’t mean that items are necessarily one dollar though. Dollar General and Family Dollar are no more likely to have everything for a dollar than an old dime store was likely to sell everything for a dime.
Some stores (especially individually owned ones) capitalize on the “dollar” name just to get shoppers in the store.
One particular store in my area opened with the name Dollar Plus emblazoned above the door. I went in a couple of times and found prices like $1.79 for toothpaste (that I could get elsewhere for $1), cotton balls for $1.49, and hair combs for $1.39. I asked the clerk/owner why it was called a dollar store if everything was above a dollar. She replied, "The name says Dollar Plus. That means everything is one dollar plus." I never went back. The store didn’t stay open long.
Other dollar type stores (like Dollar General and Family Dollar) also sell items that cost more than a dollar, but their prices are fair and you still get great bargains. You can find just about anything that would be in a regular department store.
Most dollar stores, however, actually do (or at least try to) sell everything for a dollar. You will find housewares, dishes, automotive items, stationary, toys, party supplies, photo frames, and much more. While all of the items are $1, not all of the items are a bargain!
Here’s how to tell when dollar store products are a good bargain or not…
#1 Know your prices.
You need to know that toothpaste for a dollar is a good price, and that bath soap for $1 is a rip-off. Whether you create a price book or have running totals in your head, you will do yourself a disservice if you get overcharged at the dollar store.
#2 Notice when a new and unusual item is at your dollar store.
Occasionally, there are clearance overstock items at dollar stores that are amazing deals. If you see a new item at your dollar store that is not usually there — especially if you know it costs more elsewhere — you may want to jump on it.
#3 Look at the brand names.
Dollar stores often sell imposters of name brand items. The items are packaged in containers that look very similar to the brand name packaging everyone is familiar with. At first glance, these will appear to be great deals. However, the knock-offs may not work as well as the brand names. So be careful before purchasing off-brands at the dollar store — especially since they have so many name brand items available which may be the better deal.
Shop the dollar store rather than your local home center to buy specialty tools you may use only once or twice for projects such as cable or phone wiring. Cost: $1 per item. Savings: $25 for curved long-nose pliers and $20 for a coaxial compression crimper at Home Depot. Bonus: No worries if tools break. Source
One of the biggest problems with shopping at the dollar store is that people often get carried away. It’s easy to spend $30, $50, or even $100 when you simply ran in to buy some gift wrap.
So, unless you’re planning to do a major dollar store shopping spree, skip the shopping cart and buy no more than can fit in your hands.
More Tips For Finding The Best Dollar Store Products
I have been a certified tightwad since I became pregnant with my first child and decided to find a way to stay home with him. I enjoy sharing my experiences in my journey back to financial health and planning for a future — which will include sending 2 kids to college and early retirement.