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You Don't Need the Dollar Menu to Save Money

You Don't Need the Dollar Menu to Save Money

McDonald's might entice some cash-strapped US consumers with its dollar menu, but you all have a much healthier solution when it comes to saving money: Head to your local dollar store. New Year's Resolutions and the economic recession have made us more conscious of where our money is going, so I asked where you've been cutting back to save more.

Besides going out to eat less often, shopping at the dollar store was the most common answer in your comments. Many of you shop there for household items like trash bags, cleaning supplies, tupperware, party supplies, and wrapping paper. Your enthusiasm has inspired me to become a dollar store regular.

You shared many more smart ways to save; see four of your best ideas when you


  • Tlight's solution: "I have been trying to limit myself to one breakfast, one lunch, and one dinner out per week." I think it's a great idea to put an exact number on your eating out limit, instead of just stating that you're trying to eat out less.
  • Corisue's money saving habit: "I plan out meals so I'm only buying groceries that we'll use and not throwing unused food away." Wasting less food and money is a win-win.
  • Starangel82's warm idea: "I bought a nice, warm, snuggly throw so I can cut the thermostat down and still be nice and cozy while I sit on the couch."
  • Jude C's eco-friendly tip: "We got a Brita water pitcher, and it's already paid for itself and more in the money saved on buying bottled water.


Symphonee Symphonee 8 years
* sorry about the typing. I have a horrible headache today and I am trying to work through it. I don't get off for another 2 and a half hours.
Symphonee Symphonee 8 years
The things I buy out of the Dollar Store are some of the brands that are sold at every store. I shop thrift stores and so far Craig's list has gotten me a very nice dining room set, two bar stool seats, a three disc CD and AM/FM stereo with surround sound speakers, and a microwave table with shelves for $150. I love Craig's list. Just be careful where you meet people. I have also become a coupon queen. I actually go to the compan'y websites of the stuff that I buy and sign up for free samples and coupons. I alsohave started doing online survey's for points and redeemthem for gift cards and extras.
nancita nancita 8 years
I love dollar stores. They are such an emporium of weird treasures. I once got two really cute vintage blouses at a dollar store.
Smacks83 Smacks83 8 years
I love the dollar store, just be careful what you buy. I avoid things like toothpastes, some lotions and things like that because it has been in the news a lot with tainted products (lots of people recently got ill from tainted toothpaste). Dollar store is great for household stuff just be more careful with products intended to go on or in your body. I mean just because it's a brand name doesn't make it safe (example, Crest toothpaste made in China is what made some people ill. Made there and imported here, but most people thought it was safe because it's an "American" company). My mom LOVES the dollar store, but refuses to buy toothpaste from there.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
lilkimbo--I have always had a good experience at Aldi, so it's weird that yours has been so crappy. I've always found their food to be really fresh and most of their produce is exactly the same as the supermarket brands. The only problem I've ever encountered there has been if I go there right before their shipments come in...sometimes they're out of what I need. But I do find about 70-80% of my weekly food items there, so I can't really complain. Maybe the store by you has different employees now and they'll be a bit more courteous and on top of things.
chatondeneige chatondeneige 8 years
Actually, snowy, according to Savvy's quiz ( about 85% of Dollar Store items are made right here in the USA. So I'm not supporting China's policies, really. Almost everyone can do more to save, but you're preaching to the choir here.
looking4abargain looking4abargain 8 years
I am a big fan of Dollar Tree, you just have to look carefully. I can't stand paying high prices for wrapping paper and gift bags. Love Love Target. If you go down the back isle of section you will find the red clearance shelves. I found a king quilt there the other day. Original price $69.99, I got it for $7.98! Gotta love it!
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
I have heard such good things about Aldi from so many people, and I hated the one in my hometown. I went there several times and always had bad experiences. (From accidentally buying food that had expired weeks before to being treated horribly by employees to being charged for things I didn't buy...the list goes on.) This was over the span of about a year; every time I went there I had a problem. It was a few years back, though (maybe 2000 or so), so maybe I should try going back.
Talkative Talkative 8 years
We have started shopping at Aldi which is a store in Springfield, IL. That store is a whole lot cheaper than all the other stores, like County Market and Shop n Save!
Talkative Talkative 8 years
This was very informative for my husband and I. We are very greatful for the information on spending less at the grocery store with this recessive economy.
shydcgirl28 shydcgirl28 8 years
I love the dollar store, but I also go to Target and scope out the seasonal items that they have to mark down in as few as 6 weeks b/c the corresponding holiday/season has past. I buy only things that have the orange stickers.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
(That creepy kitty is supposed to be a sigh.)
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
The thrift store can be great, Spectra! Sometimes you have to spend a lot of time to find something good, but I've found good stuff there. And, not everything from the dollar store is poorly made or made overseas. Some things wind up there because brands change their packaging or because there is a small change in the formula. Another great thing is to go to outlet stores for food. It's not something a lot of people think of, but it can be worth it. My Dad will stop by the Entenmann's outlet to pick up things that are one day away from their sell by date. Obviously you have to eat them quickly, but if you don't overbuy, that's not too hard to do. He also goes to the Stouffer's outlet regularly and stocks up and all of our family's favorites. My parents have a huge second freezer, so it works well. I miss living with my parents sometimes. :sigh:
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I love Dollar Tree! I buy stuff like candles, Christmas wrapping stuff, some kitchen things, cleaning supplies, air fresheners, things like that. Sure, it's cheap and made overseas, but at least it's got the right price, which isn't always the case at Walmart. I'm also a big fan of shopping at thrift stores. If you are losing weight, it's a great place to get in between clothes. I lost 90 lbs and while I was losing the weight, I'd pick up a pair or two of jeans in my current size so I didn't have baggy clothes all the time. I've also gotten some interesting furniture at thrift stores...I picked up a TV stand for my workout room for $5!
snowysakurasky snowysakurasky 8 years
im no snob and have shopped at dollar stores a lot during college. The thing is, when i started to think about how great shopping there was (cause its cheap), i realized that much of the the stuff in dollar stores is made overseas (no good for the American economy), shipped here (bad for the environment) and is poor quality (again, bad for the environment, as you will end up buying it again and throwing the broken one into the landfill. And if you are against China's policies regarding human rights and pollution, why support it? How about not buying more than you really need, buying from moving sales you find on craigslist, looking in 2nd hand shops, reusing containers that you get with stuff you buy, and/or supporting american small businesses by going to tupperware parties. buying cheap stuff made overseas is really a short term solution! but i guess if you are going to buy cheap stuff made overseas its best to buy it at a dollar store instead of walmart.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
it's nice to know that a lot of people are being resourceful with things. for myself and my fiance's the biggest thing is not buying a metro card for the subway here in NYC that's unlimited if you don't use it enough to pay for itself. it's getting to be more and more expensive to buy on (i think it's like $83 or $86 a month) but if you don't ride it 2x every day then it's not paying for itself. that's the first way that we've saved money.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
I love the dollar store! Deals is the best. (Some of their things cost $2 or $3, but all of their prices are well below what you would pay at another store.) I've even gotten some great picture frames and scrapbooking supplies there.
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
I love the Dollar Tree and Dollar General. We have an awesome Dollar Tree across town. You can find all kinds of things... even brand name stuff! I do the water pitcher thing too. Saves money and the environment... plus you've always got chilled water in your fridge.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
I'm with Jude C too. I bought a filter that has saved me tons of bottled water.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Savvy I'm glad I could help convince you to delve into the world of The Dollar Store and Dollar Tree. I know a lot of people snub there nose at it but why??!! The one near my apt is awesome!! It has cards, wrapping paper, bags and everything for birthdays, weddings and every holiday coming up. They also have the brand of trash bags, cleaning products and so forth that I would buy at Walmart for much more than $1. I'm all for my local dollar stores. :)
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