10 Tips for Being Dollar Store Savvy

The dollar store can feel like a frugal shopper’s dream come true. Everything is one set price, so there’s no need to comparison shop. They’re usually not very busy, so you have plenty of space to browse for deals. Even better, the stock is always changing, so there’s always something new to see. However, like most things, if you’re not careful even the dollar store can be a retail trap of overspending. To help keep you dollar store savvy, keep these tips in mind before heading out the door:
1. Set a budget.
Just because everything is a dollar doesn’t mean you won’t overspend. In fact, the lower price point can lure you into putting more things into your cart than a shopping trip at a regular store. Bring only the cash you plan to spend or set a budget and firmly stick to it.
2. Check for quantity.
One way dollar stores make money is by selling you individual items you’d typically get bundled together such as socks, hair accessories and housewares. So while it’s only a $1 per item, you may have only been spending 75 cents per item in a bundled package at another retail store.
3. Check for quality.
Cheaper isn’t always better. If the item ends up breaking or you have to replace it sooner than expected, then you’re actually losing money. Always check the overall quality of the item and determine whether the cheaper version will hold up as well as the regular priced item.
4. Avoid certain consumables.
Products such paper towels, toilet paper and even food are not good dollar store buys. The reason for this is the quantities are usually off from regular store products. For instance, paper towels have bigger sheets so you use the roll faster. Food is usually in smaller quantities than you’d get at other stores. Light bulbs may be cheaper, but they are not energy-efficient which means you’ll be replacing them move often. Keep in mind the usages and quantity when buying consumables.
5. Avoid food products.
If you’re already a savvy shopper than you know that you can get better food deals with coupons at your regular grocery stores. You’ll also avoid getting inferior products or products with smaller quantities.
1. Paper Products
Keep in mind tip #4 and avoid paper towels and toilet paper. However, other paper products such as greeting cards, wrapping paper, books, office supplies and stationary can provide excellent savings at a dollar store.
2. Holiday & Seasonal Decorations
Seasonal items are fun and help capture the essence of the season or holiday you are celebrating. However, those extra items can add up. Dollar stores typically have a great array of inexpensive alternatives, especially if you’re the creative type. Before doing any holiday decor shopping always stop by your local dollar store to check out what they have.
3. Children’s Toys & Games
Given the fact that most toys don’t hold a child’s interest for more than a few months anyway, the dollar store can be a great resource for toy and game purchases. You’ll want to check quality on some of the products, but most items are fairly good substitutes. Puzzles and workbooks are great dollar store purchases.
4. Household Products
You can find an amazing assortment of household products at the dollar store from home decor to kitchen and tableware and even cleaning supplies. You’ll always want to check on the quality and if it’s worth the specific use you have for it. It may be cheaper to get a $1 baking dish if you know you’re using it for a potluck and don’t want to worry about getting it back. It’s also a good find for children’s dishes and bedding.
5. Storage Items
Storage items can be fairly expensive. Even at discount stores you’ll find yourself paying $5 or more for storage options. At the dollar store every piece is only a $1. They often have unique storage options as well. You’ll wan to visit at different times to check out new products that may make storing things in your home more effective.
How do you use your local dollar store?