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You're Not Always Getting a Deal at the Dollar Store

Money Tip: You're Not Always Getting a Deal at the Dollar Store

Shopping at dollar stores can be a useful way to save money on household items, but we still need to pay attention to the unit prices while perusing the repriced selection. MSN Money did some shopping around and discovered that canned vegetables and fruit are often more expensive than at other stores, and the same can be said of trash bags, food-storage bags, and bottled water.

The test also came up with a bunch of stuff that was cheaper at the dollar store, like shampoo, school and office supplies, spices, candy, snack foods, and household cleaners. Are there certain items you always find are cheaper at the dollar store? Have your experiences been in line with MSN Money's test results?


Join The Conversation
kurniakasih kurniakasih 8 years
As someone who's always looking for the best bargain, I have to admit that I check every stores before hitting the dollar store (because sometimes Walgreen can have things cheaper than the Dollar Tree). I usually bought my toothbrushes, shaving cream, razor, ibuprofen, cold medication, baby shampoo and soap, my 'beauty products' (face soap, face masque, etc) and the wet wipes mop (for my swiper sweeper LOL instead of buying their own pricey fill-up). At times, for birthday party (son), I'd buy invitation, balloons and some gift wrap stuff (sure the gift wrap may not be the best quality, but it does the job). Oh, and their beef jerky too, I save around 2 bucks and it tastes the same as the ones bought at original supermarket, at least, hubby loves it.
lickety-split lickety-split 8 years
we have a dollar tree here and i love it! i buy all my wrapping paper, gift bags, big pretty bows, helium balloons and seasonal decorations there. i also buy the huge jars of spicy red peppers there when they have them. i use them in cooking and they are really good. i think that's the only food i've ever purchased there.
sorrowja sorrowja 8 years
I can never find anything in a dollar store. However Family Dollar is GREAT you can get frames and art for like $5.
pharm_chick pharm_chick 8 years
the dollar store near my house isnt even a dollar store, since they sell so many items over a dollar! they even changed their name from 99 cents to 99 cents and beyond or something lol. i like to get hair accesories, random bath stuff and party supplies from there. everything else is either overpriced or not worth the price, id rather spend a little more at cvs or something. also i dont think its a good idea to buy medicines from there, as they might be close to expiring or already expired, or something mustve been wrong with the lot which is why theyre selling pricey stuff for so cheap. just a thought.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I love the Dollar Store for certain things. I buy scented candles, Christmas/holiday decorations, certain beauty products, non-slip mats for the bottom of the tub, little kitchen gadgets, and spices there. I do usually compare the prices to the prices at say, Walmart or Walgreens or Target to see if I really am getting a good deal.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
As a Dollar Store expert I spend lots of lots of time there and have price/quality compared to Target and Walmart a few times. There are "Family Dollar" stores which aren't actually true dollar stores so that's where a lot of people get ripped off, things aren't even a dollar and like you said in the blog sometimes they are more. The "Dollar Tree" like the one near me IS an actual dollar store-everything in there is ALWAYS a dollar. As far as the quality it's definitely something you need to investigate. I buy my trash bags there and fend fine although like a lot of people I have never been one to pack and pack mine so full it is bulging at the sides so my Dollar Tree ones are prefectly fine for me. I also hate the cat liners sold in most Walmart/Target stores-they don't fit my box so I use tall white trash bags, cut them down the side and they line my litter boxes perfectly and have never had a problem. I have also bought snack foods with perfectly fine expiration dates, party decorations, cute woven place mats, cut tin "welcome signs" and other little decor items for my apt which have been great quality. Mine even recently started a frozen food section with a lot of the same brands of frozen pizzas and such sold at most of my local grocery stores all again for $1 with perfect expiration dates. Heck I even got the amazing retro Coco Cola glasses there with old school 50's prints and such the brand has released over the years. I've personally never been disappointed at my local "Dollar Tree" but I guess it varies at the different locations across the country-mine is always super neat, organized and has great finds. :)
bluebellknoll bluebellknoll 8 years
I love browsing the Dollar Store! I don't do it very often but I think it's fun. I like going there esp. for Xmas stuff.
Angelica Angelica 8 years
You do get cheated here and there if you aren't a smart shopper. I stocked up on craft supplies and candy a few weeks back and realized I could have gotten the candy for much less at Safeway. The savings on the craft stuff made it all worth it.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
something else that my fiance and i noticed is that when we bought soap (dish washing soap) at the dollar store - it was mostly water and we went through it in like 1/10 of the time that we go through regular soap. it's a shame since you think that you're getting such a great value and it's really not
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
You have to know what you are getting at the Dolla store. Some things are a good value, some things arent. You might think that the box of 25 trashbags is a steal but then you realize that they are the thinnest flimsiest bags ever. I buy ibuprofen, acetaminophen PM, Bubble bath, Tooth brushes, candles, decorations, hair ties and an occasional bag of pretzels at the dollar store.
gothamgal gothamgal 8 years
Dollar stores seemed to have lost their value for me. I discovered this by accident when I went to another local store when the $ store was closed. My purchase was cheaper at the local corner drugstore -- it was shampoo. I also refrain from getting electronics there -- same thing with stuff that have an expiry date.
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