Summit Saver Blog

Top Dollar Store Deals and Duds

Beware the dollar store wolf in shabby-sheep clothing. Perhaps one of the most brilliant marketing ideas in recent decades, the “everything’s a buck” mantra lures many a browser into spending far more than at traditional shopping venues. Even the store appearance and odor guarantee its authenticity as offering bottom-dollar prices.

Don’t forgo the buck store altogether—because their inventory is comprised solely of remnants and discontinued items, you can potentially save up to 70% on name brand closeouts, if you know what to look for.

Before shopping, take note:

1. Not all stores accept returns. Ask ahead if you plan on buying in huge bulk to avoid a disaster.

2. Prices may vary. Even at the dollar store, not every product costs just a dollar. Dollar General is a variation of the true dollar store that prices products differently.

3. You can purchase canned goods and pantry items at most dollar stores. Though I would steer clear of baby foods (especially formula) and review the expiration date on all food items.

4. Keep your eyes peeled for name-brand discounts. They are making more appearances on dollar store aisles.

5. Many megastore destinations like Walmart and Target have incorporated the dollar store frenzy into their shopping experiences.

Your best bet for scoring bottom-dollar on products varies by store and location, but some of the most lucrative savings can be reaped on:

  • Disposable Party Items
    From plastic flatware and table cloths to balloons and streamers, the dollar store is hard to beat on price. You might have to sacrifice your preferred colors and a little quality, but that’s the last thing your five-year-old will remember about her birthday party. And you’ll never buy gift wrap from Hallmark again after seeing the prices here.
  • Cleaning Products
    I frequently buy cleaning supplies at dollar stores. Even though they don’t work quite as well as the full strength stuff sold at the grocery store, they get the job done well enough. Plus many of the trial name brand products end up here after not faring so well with the big dogs.
  • Bath and Body Goods
    This one can go either way. If your skin is indestructible, it can probably stand many of the harsh chemicals in off brand shampoos and soaps. I’d much rather pay $1 for a bottle of soap than the customary $8, but my skin doesn’t agree. Even if you have a sensitive hide, dollar stores offer closeout lines of good brands.
  • Kitchen Supplies
    Check out stores immediately post-season for summer grilling and you’ll save up to 95% on utensils, grills, and outdoor supplies. Plus you can always score deals on kitchen supplies such as; hand towels, pans, and serving dishes.
  • Crafting Products
    Scrapbook junkies need to make a beeline for the dollar store. From stickers and ribbon to pop-outs and even albums, the dollar spot often has great deals. Also buy tissue paper, craft sticks, and poster board here for projects.

As you gleefully skip through the dollar store aisle counting your saved change, do not, under any circumstance fall prey to these products. They are (at best) hit or miss and at worst cause serious damage.

  • Toys
    Many of these toys are made in China and aren’t tested by the CPSC. Especially for children under 3, pieces can easily break and get swallowed. A trip to the ER isn’t worth a couple of saved bucks.
  • Electronics
    Skip that row all together. Most electronics that plug in are junk and don’t last long, light bulbs and off-brand batteries top the list.
  • Dog Food or Chews
    Many folks have found that giving cheap food or chewables to the dog means having a violently ill pet. Unless you’re trying to put Fido in an early grave, give him edible food.
  • Medicine
    While you can find legitimate deals at the dollar store for minor aches and pains, you won’t use the majority of the bottle before they expire. The same goes for vitamins.
  • Anything Flammable
    Dollar stores sell tiki torches and instant flames, but I just don’t trust them. I’ll pay a bit more to avoid housing a randomly combustible gadget.

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