Dollar stores are known for their incredible deals -- but there are ways to save even more on their already low prices.
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GOBankingRates talked to shopping experts to find out how to get the best prices at dollar stores, what sets the different chains apart and the surprising things you should always -- and never -- stock up on when you go.
Some Dollar Stores Have Useful Apps
You might not be aware, but both Dollar General and Family Dollar have their own apps.
"Download the apps for both," said Kendall of The Freebie Guy. "Most weeks, both will do a digital [coupon for] $5 off $25."
Read More: 11 Things You Should Never Buy New
Dollar General Has Major Clearance Days
Dollar General already has low prices, but you can save even more during its clearance days.
"They do an additional 50% off on their clearance items," Kendall said. "They have things like shampoo, soap, paper towels, etc., that are normally 10% off on clearance that will be an additional 50% -- which is when I try to stock up on paper towels."
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Dollar Tree's Customer Appreciation Events Can Help You Save More
Dollar Tree also has special savings events. During the chain's Friends and Family Events, you can save 10% off your purchase of $10 or more. These events typically happen in the summer and during the holidays, according to The Krazy Koupon Lady. Follow Dollar Tree on Facebook to see when the next event is taking place.
Useful Tips: 19 Money-Saving Secrets Target Doesn't Want You To Know
It's Important To Take Time To Read the Labels
You can find hidden gems at a dollar store, but be sure to read the label before purchasing anything with an expiration date or any off-brand items.
"The key to knowing what to -- and what not to -- buy is by checking the label," said Rebecca Gramuglia, retail expert at TopCashback.com. "Review the expiration date, as well as the list of ingredients to ensure you're getting the best product for less."
Budget: 20 Ways to Pay Less at Costco
A Dollar Store Item Isn't Necessarily Worse
If a product passes your label check, you have no reason to not buy it.
"Just because you bought it at the dollar store for less does not mean that the product lacks quality," Gramuglia said. "Browse all of the aisles because you never know what you'll find."
Find Out: How Much Does a Costco Membership Really Save You?
You Can -- and Should -- Stack Savings
"Don't forget to check for coupons and additional ways to save before you shop," Gramuglia said. "Like your local grocery stores, dollar stores offer great additional savings via coupons -- either online or via your Sunday newspaper."
You Can Save Even More With Cash-Back Apps
Dollar General, Dollar Tree and Family Dollar are all compatible with the Ibotta app, which allows you to earn cash back on your in-store purchases. You can also earn cash back on specific items you buy with the Checkout 51 app and Fetch Rewards.
Read: 30 Ways Shopping Will Never Be the Same After the Coronavirus
You're Better Off Buying Brand-Name Items at a Grocery Store
It's exciting when you spot a brand you love at a dollar store, but be aware that brand-name items might not actually be well priced.
"Dollar stores typically offer brand-name items, but in smaller quantities than you'd see at the grocery store," said Michael Bonebright, consumer analyst with DealNews.com. "This means you can end up overpaying per ounce or per count. For example, Dollar General offers a 22-ounce bottle of Lysol All Purpose Cleaner for $2, but Walmart has a 32-ounce bottle of the same product for just a few cents more."
Dollar Tree Is the Best Dollar Store for Household Goods
"Different dollar stores offer different user experiences," Bonebright said. "For example, Dollar Tree has more household items [and] paper goods."
Dollar General Is the Best Dollar Store for Groceries
Dollar General has a larger selection of groceries than other dollar store chains, Bonebright said.
More Shopping Tips: 20 Items To Avoid at Walmart
But You're Better Off Buying Groceries Elsewhere
Even though you can purchase groceries at Dollar General, Bonebright doesn't recommend doing so if you have access to other options.
"If you have the ability to do all your household shopping at a big-box or grocery store, I'd avoid making those purchases at a dollar store," he said. "Because dollar stores sell smaller quantities of goods, you'll have to go shopping more often. Larger chains also offer a wider selection of goods, especially fresh foods, so your family will have the opportunity to eat healthier if you avoid dollar store groceries."
Not Everything Costs $1 at Dollar General
Despite the name, Dollar General sells items that cost more than a buck.
"If you're comparing dollar store chain options, you may likely find better deals at Dollar Tree since everything is marked at $1, while Dollar General offers deals and more name products at a discounted price -- not necessarily marked at exactly $1," Gramuglia said.
School Project Supplies Are Cheaper at Dollar Stores Than Elsewhere
"I buy all my children's school project supplies at our local dollar store," Bonebright said. "School-age necessities like posters and art supplies are significantly cheaper there."
You Can Shop Popular Dollar Chains Online
If you find shopping in a store overwhelming, you can do your shopping online at some chains -- plus you can save even more when you do.
"Sometimes it pays -- literally -- to shop the dollar chains online, especially since popular ones like Dollar Tree and Dollar General can earn you cash back on purchases when you shop through cash-back sites like TopCashback.com," Gramuglia said.
The Selection Changes Constantly
The more frequently you shop at dollar stores, the more deals you'll get. The stock is constantly being updated, so the deals change frequently too.
Tips: 17 Ways To Spend Less at Aldi
You'll Get the Best Selection of Holiday Items if You Shop Early
Dollar stores famously have a great selection of holiday supplies and decor, so people know to stock up around the holidays. The earlier you go, the better the selection you'll get. If you wait too long, you'll be left with the picked-over scraps.
The Aisles Aren't Always Organized by Category
Dollar store aisles can contain a hodgepodge of items, so it's worth walking down each one to find unexpected deals.
Related: 9 Best Grocery Delivery Services That Are Worth the Money
Dollar Tree Accepts Manufacturer Coupons
If you know there's a specific item you want to buy, check online and in your paper for a manufacturer's coupon. You can use an unlimited number of newspaper coupons and up to two printable coupons per day at Dollar Tree, according to The Krazy Coupon Lady.
Dollar Tree Offers Free In-Store Pickup
If you prefer to do your dollar store shopping online but don't want to pay shipping fees, take advantage of Dollar Tree's free shipping to your local store.
Dollar Stores Are the Best Places To Shop For Party and Holiday Supplies
"The best deals you can score at the dollar store are on items that are disposable like party decorations, balloons, gift bags and stuff for Halloween costumes," Gramuglia said. "These items are usually pricey elsewhere, but you can find these same items at a dollar store for much cheaper."
Don't Overlook the Decor and Housewares
Be sure to peruse the decor items to find great pieces for less than you can get anywhere else. This is especially true for seasonal items.
"Don't shell out big bucks on decor or houseware items that may break or lose value," Gramuglia said. "Instead, head to your local dollar store to find seasonal decorations like Halloween-themed kitchen towels, mugs, candle holders and bins for organizing."
Parents Can Find Big Savings at Dollar Stores
Savvy parents should head to a dollar store to stock up on kid-friendly supplies.
"Dollar stores are a perfect place to find inexpensive items like books, puzzles and stickers that will not only keep the kids busy on rainy days, but also act as perfect goody-bag fillers," Gramuglia said.
More Shopping: 23 Secret Ways To Save Money on Amazon
Be Wary of Buying Beauty and Cleaning Products
You can find makeup, beauty products and cleaning products for cheap at dollar stores, but these are items where the quality really does matter.
"Products in these categories at dollar stores typically are generic or off-brands and may have harmful chemicals in them," Gramuglia said. "The better -- and safer -- option is to use coupons at supermarkets and drugstores if you're looking to save money on these types of products."
However, It's a Great Place To Find Cleaning Supplies
While you shouldn't buy cleaning products at the dollar store, it's a smart place to pick up the other supplies you need to get your home sparkling.
"You can easily find household accessories like buckets, dish rags and sponges for less at the dollar store," Gramuglia said.
Avoid Buying Vitamins and Medications
"Don't sacrifice your health for a good price," Gramuglia said. "Studies have shown, for example, vitamins and other drug-related products sold at dollar stores have been altered with other ingredients and are not FDA-approved."
Know Your Store's Shipping Schedule
Ask your local store when they get their shipments of the products you buy most. This way you get first dibs on the items you want, which is especially important if you purchase perishable items.
Dollar Store Toys Can Be Dangerous
Books, puzzles and craft supplies are fine to buy at the dollar store, but plastic toys should be bought elsewhere.
"Plastic toys sold at dollar stores can often break into small pieces and become a choking hazard," Gramuglia said.
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Kids' Pool Floats Should Also Be Purchased Elsewhere
Think twice before purchasing a pool float at a dollar store. While the quality could be fine, it's better to not take a chance.
"With anything involving safety, you're better off paying more for quality and durability somewhere else," Gramuglia said.
You Can Find Surprisingly High-Quality Kitchenware and Barware
If you're looking for seasonal kitchen items or want to add some flare to your at-home bar, a dollar store is a good place to go.
"The dollar store is a great place to get wine glasses, Coca-Cola-themed glassware, and even catering trays and platters for as little as one buck," Gramuglia said.
You Can Buy the Sunday Paper at a Dollar Store
You can pick up the Sunday newspaper -- for a discount -- at your local dollar store, according to CheatSheet.
You Can Use Coupons To Get Items for Free
If you have a manufacturer's coupon for $1.50 off toothpaste and Dollar Tree is selling that toothpaste for $1, you can use the coupon to get it for free, according to The Krazy Koupon Lady. However, you won't get the extra 50 cents as cash back.
Dollar Tree's Loyalty Program Offers Sneak Peeks and More
Get sneak peeks of what's to come in-store, and get early access to special offers when you join Dollar Tree's Value Seeker's Club loyalty program. It's free to join.
Greeting Cards Sell for 50 Cents
The dollar store is the best place to buy greeting cards for every occasion -- they sell for less than a buck.
"You will find the best price at the dollar store, where you can snag them for 50 cents each," said budgeting expert Andrea Woroch. "Stock up when you go: Think ahead to which celebrations and birthdays you will be celebrating over the next six months and buy enough cards for those events. Buying ahead ensures you have them when you need them and don't end up spending 10 times that amount out of convenience at the grocery store or Walmart."
Dollar Tree Does Not Accept Returns
Before you go crazy and buy a bunch of things you don't need or can't actually use, it's important to note that Dollar Tree will not give you your money back for a returned item. You can exchange items, however.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 34 Dollar Store Secrets You Need To Know Before You Shop
What is the name of the store that sells everything for a dollar? ›
Mighty Dollar is a true dollar store. The homepage of the retailer's website proclaims “Everything's $1.00.” So if you want the freedom of shopping while knowing that every item will add just $1 to your sales ticket, this is the place to go.Should you buy vitamins at the dollar store? ›
Don't Buy Vitamins and Supplements
Vitamins and supplements aren't regulated like other medications, which means you can't count on their quality or value at the dollar store, according to Consumer Reports. If you do buy them, look for labels such as USP or NSF International, which guarantee some oversight.
Just because an item is priced lower at the dollar store doesn't necessarily mean you're saving anything. Discount stores may offer what looks like the same product for less but they may actually be more expensive. Doing some comparison shopping before you buy can ensure that you're getting the most bang for your buck.How are things at the dollar store so cheap? ›
Sometimes, products hit the dollar stores because of damage or lack of freshness. BUT, they are often just offered cheaper because they operate on slimmer margins than grocery stores. Many items were surplus or overstock items from a company.What is a 5 and dime? ›
: a retail store that carries a variety of chiefly inexpensive merchandise. When I was a little girl you could still buy things at the five-and-dime.Where is the biggest Dollar Tree located? ›
I went to the World's Largest Dollar Tree ! Today I take you around the World's Largest Dollar Tree located in Burlington, North Carolina. Come Dollar Tree sho...Where does the dollar store get their products? ›
Once seen as dumping grounds for liquidated and off-brand merchandise, today's dollar stores often buy their inventory from major manufacturers such as Procter & Gamble, Hanes, Unilever, Coca-Cola, Energizer, Crayola and General Mills.Does dollar stores sell apple cider vinegar? ›
Yes, dollar tree does sell apple cider vinegar.Does Dollar Tree have vitamin E? ›
Bottles. Item only available for in-store purchase. Availability & selection may vary by location.Why are Dollar General stores so messy? ›
The Stores Can Get Messy
Walking into a dollar store in disarray isn't a rarity, but that's by design. These stores run on minimal staff and they're built to move a lot of product quickly. If that product has to sit on floors or in boxes for a bit while a cashier handles the register, so be it.
Is everything in Dollar Tree a dollar? ›
That's right—despite the name, not all dollar stores sell every item in the store for just a dollar or less. Dollar Tree is an actual dollar store (for the most part). The company recently announced it will sell items in certain locations for more than its typical $1 price.Which state has the most Dollar General stores? ›
There are 18,634 Dollar General retail stores in the United States as of October 16, 2022. The state with the most number of Dollar General locations in the US is Texas, with 1,742 retail stores, which is about 9% of all Dollar General retail stores in the US.Why is 99 cents store so cheap? ›
They buy in bulk
Think of it this way: It's like they shop at Costco and then sell you the individual products, says Willie Greer, founder of the Product Analyst. They also may buy millions of those bulk items and divide them up for each of their stores. This brings down the price company-wide.
How Dollar Stores Really Make Their Money - YouTubeIs the dollar store cheaper than Walmart? ›
Is Dollar Tree cheaper than Walmart? The short answer is that yes, Dollar Tree can be cheaper than Walmart when it comes to buying certain things. This is based on the unit price you'll pay at Dollar Tree vs. Walmart.What was a five and dine? ›
Popular in the early-to-mid-20th-century, the five-and-dime (also called the 5 & 10) was the precursor to modern-day discount stores, offering everything from candies to household necessities for bargain prices.What did 5 a dime stores sell? ›
Five and dime stores sold the best variety of inexpensive household items. From candy and toys to housewares and notions, these stores offered a little of everything. Does the name Woolworth's ring a bell? In the early 20th century, Woolworth's was established by Frank Winfield Woolworth, a New York entrepreneur.Why is it called five dime? ›
Today, convenience stores have widely replaced five and dimes. A five and dime is a store that sells a variety of inexpensive household items at discounted prices. The name five and dime refers to a category of stores that became popular in the late 19th century.What state has the most Dollar Tree? ›
There are 7,882 Dollar Tree retail stores in the United States as of October 16, 2022. The state with the most number of Dollar Tree locations in the US is Texas, with 666 retail stores, which is about 8% of all Dollar Tree retail stores in the US.Why did Dollar Tree raise their prices? ›
Its CEO Michael Witynski said the new prices would allow the company to withstand rising supply chain and labor costs, which were eating into profit margins.
When did the first Dollar Tree open? ›How much does it cost to open a Dollar General store? ›
Unfortunately, Dollar General stores are not available for franchising. All of their units are company-owned and operated, meaning that profits stay within the company and do not go to outside operators. WE ESTIMATE THAT THE DOLLAR GENERAL FRANCHISE COST WOULD BE $1,000,000 TO $2,000,000+.How much does a CEO Dollar Tree make? ›
|Family Dollar store in Valdosta, Georgia|
|Parent||Dollar Tree (2015–)|
Mkpakọrịtaụka. Most registers are now equipped with contactless payment through Tap to Pay with Visa, Mastercard, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. All Dollar Tree stores will have this technology implemented by the end of April for a touch-free shopping experience!What is in apple cider? ›
Apple cider is made of pressed fresh apples. Unfiltered and raw, it doesn't contain added sugar, undergoes minimal processing, and is usually unpasteurized. It tends to be slightly darker than apple juice, more opaque, and can sometimes have residue at the bottom.Can you use vitamin E oil on your hair? ›
Smooths Damaged Hair
It's no secret that applying certain oils to your hair can keep your locks looking shiny, sleek, and frizz-free. As it turns out, vitamin E oil is excellent for those with dry and damaged hair. For instance, some oils, like argan oil, contain vitamin E.
Vitamin E oil is an ingredient in many skincare products; especially those that claim to have anti-aging benefits. Vitamin E supplements may prevent coronary heart disease, support immune function, prevent inflammation, promote eye health, and lower the risk of cancer.How does vitamin E oil help skin? ›
Vitamin E Does This to Your Skin | City Beauty - YouTubeWhat are the 10 things not to buy at the dollar store? ›
- Knives. 1/12. Good chef's knives don't come cheap, so you might be tempted to pick up a blade or two at the dollar store. ...
- Plastic Kitchen Utensils. 2/12. ...
- Medicine and Vitamins. 3/12. ...
- Pet Food. 4/12. ...
- Makeup. 5/12. ...
- Sunscreen. 6/12. ...
- Toys. 7/12. ...
- Batteries. 8/12.
Is it legal to work alone at Dollar General? ›
Sales Associates can not be left alone AT ALL, but you will not find many stores that have many hours for plain old sales associates. Key Holders will get most of the hours because they CAN be alone in the store. Yes, my manager used to leave me by myself at the store from 8am to 5pm on Saturday every week.Is working at Dollar General Hard? ›
Working at Dollar General is a very fast-paced job where you are expected to be on your toes pretty much your entire shift. When things get moving, they get moving. Ringing up one customer at DG easily turns into 10 or 20, especially if you're the only register in action. Cash registers/computers break a lot.Who is the biggest dollar store? ›
Dollar Tree currently has 14,000 locations, with plans to open hundreds more by the end of 2018. Comparable sales were up 2.3% at Dollar Tree in the third quarter. Dollar General currently has about 15,000 locations, with plans to open 975 more in 2019.Is Dollar Tree raising prices again 2022? ›
Yes, the new $1.25 price point is permanent. Dollar Tree started rolling out the $1.25 base price at their stores in late 2021, with all stores converted to the new price tag during the early part of 2022.Why is the Dollar Tree 1.25 now? ›
Dollar Tree had started selling items at $1.25 and $1.50 at some stores and said it got positive positive customer feedback on the test, leading the company to announce in November that it will move to $1.25 at all of its stores.What is Dollar General changing their name to? ›
Now, the company will expand its push to win wealthier customers in the suburbs using a new store model and name: Popshelf. Dollar General said Thursday it will open 1,000 Popshelf stores over the next four years.Did Walmart buy Dollar General? ›
Walmart does not own Dollar General.
It also doesn't belong to any specific large grocery chain. However, it's owned by private equity investors. These include Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), Citigroup Private Equity, and GS Capital Partners. Fun Fact: the chain store started as a family-owned business.
Dollar General Corporation is an American chain of variety stores headquartered in Goodlettsville, Tennessee. As of April 11, 2022, Dollar General operates 18,216 stores in the continental United States.Which is better Dollar Tree or Family Dollar? ›
In her experience, “Dollar Tree offers a wider variety of products for a single dollar, while Family Dollar has a more limited selection but often offers sales and discounts.”Is everything a dollar at Family Dollar? ›
Families will find household cleaners, food, health and beauty aids, toys, apparel, home fashions, and more—all for everyday low prices. Many of our items are $1 or less, and most items in the store are priced below $10. We make shopping fun while keeping our shoppers' budgets top of mind.
What can you buy for 1$? ›
- Holiday decor and party favors. bbernard / Shutterstock.com. ...
- E-books for Amazon Kindle. antoniodiaz / Shutterstock.com. ...
- Scratch-off lottery ticket. ...
- Four movies from Disney Movie Club. ...
- Dorm or first-apartment essentials. ...
- Sample stickers. ...
- Coin purses. ...
- Baby paraphernalia.
- A slice of pizza at a dollar slice restaurant in New York. ...
- A song on iTunes. ...
- A McChicken sandwich, cheeseburger, or drink at McDonald's. ...
- Enough gas to get you about 10 miles in an average US car. ...
- An ebook on Amazon. ...
- About 15 minutes of street parking in Manhattan.
99 Cents Only Stores vs Dollar Tree.
So we can verify, Family Dollar is owned by Dollar Tree. Today we issued a warning for multiple products purchased from Family Dollar stores in six states. This follows our inspection of the store's Arkansas distribution facility that found pervasive insanitary conditions, including rodent infestation.Are Family Dollar and Dollar Tree owned by the same company? ›
Dollar Tree, a Fortune 500 Company, now operates more than 13,600 stores across 48 states and five Canadian provinces. Stores operate under the brands of Dollar Tree, Dollar Tree Canada, Deals and Family Dollar. To learn more about the Company, visit www.DollarTree.com.How does Dollar Tree make money? ›
How Dollar Stores Really Make Their Money - YouTubeHow many family dollars are there in the United States? ›
There are 8,227 Family Dollar retail stores in the United States as of October 10, 2022. The state with the most number of Family Dollar locations in the US is Texas, with 1,127 retail stores, which is about 14% of all Family Dollar retail stores in the US.What is the difference between Dollar Tree and Dollar General? ›
First and foremost, Dollar Tree sells only products that are $1 or under, whereas Dollar General, which once did the same, is now more like a discount retailer.What could a dollar buy in 1940? ›
1940: 4 cans of coffee
That year, four 1-pound cans of Ehlers at-home coffee could be bought at the grocery store for just $1.
Value of $1 from 1980 to 2022
$1 in 1980 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $3.60 today, an increase of $2.60 over 42 years. The dollar had an average inflation rate of 3.10% per year between 1980 and today, producing a cumulative price increase of 260.20%.
What is the smallest unit of dollar? ›
A dollar is divided into one hundred smaller units called cents.Is everything a dollar at Dollar Tree? ›
That's right—despite the name, not all dollar stores sell every item in the store for just a dollar or less. Dollar Tree is an actual dollar store (for the most part). The company recently announced it will sell items in certain locations for more than its typical $1 price.