Those Lovely Dollar Store Deals: Are You Really Getting a Good Bargain?

I happen to love the Dollar Tree stores that are available in my area. However, unlike many “bargain” shoppers, I don’t practically live at mine, buying anything and everything. There are SO many items that really are NOT a good deal at a dollar store – but the average American consumer never notices!

Let’s look at a few things:

Name brand snacks – a few years ago, our local Dollar Trees started carrying Little Debbie snacks, and I was thrilled. I love Little Debbie, and knowing that I could get a large variety of them for only $1 each all the time rather than the slightly higher prices at the regular stores made me so happy. Then one day I happened to notice a little thing called quantity. For example, the Oatmeal Cream pies – one of my favorites. A regular box at the store contains 12 pies, and usually costs around $1.09 – $1.29, but usually closer to the $1 mark. The boxes at the Dollar Tree only contain 9 pies. This means that if I buy a 12-count box for $1.09, I’m paying basically 9 cents each for them. A 9 count box at $1 comes to just over 11 cents each. It’s not much, but it adds up. Most of the rest of the Little Debbie snacks are the same way, with a few exceptions.

Toothpaste Рnot only can I get a better deal on toothpaste by taking advantage of the deals at other stores, especially CVS and Rite Aid (I almost never pay anything for toothpaste, and I often GET PAID to bring it home!) but the toothpaste at dollar stores is an iffy proposition, as a lot of it comes from overseas without being subject to the same requirements that American toothpaste must meet. Scary stuff! Check it out at Snopes. And while there is no danger from their toothbrushes, I find the same is true bargain-wise. I can get much better deals at other stores, I have no need to pay even $1 for a toothbrush anymore.

Candy bars – In general, individual candy bars at the dollar stores are 2/$1. While that is a better price than the average, every day price at most stores (usually around 65 cents) if you just check for sales, almost every week at least one store somewhere will have candy bars on sale 3 for $1, which is a much better deal! Foil – while you can usually get foil that is about the same footage as at a regular store, dollar store foil is very thin and tears unbelievably easy, which means you’re probably going to end up using a double thickness from time to time, wasting whatever you “saved” to start with. If they have name brand foil, it’s most likely to be of a shorter footage, and end up costing more per foot in their boxes than if you bought it at a regular store. And at a regular store, you can use coupons to make the deal even better!

Canned veggies – while these come out to about the same price as at a regular store, and maybe a little cheaper, I noticed the other day that their cans are 14.5 oz instead of 15 oz like regular products.

Shampoo and hair products – if you’re not brand-loyal, you can usually buy Suave products for around 94 cents. There’s a savings right there, even if doesn’t seem like much.

bargainThose are just a few of the specific examples I can think of. There are actually many items that are shorted at the dollar store, a half ounce here, two or three cookies there. It all adds up. There are also some items that are of such poor quality, such as cleansers and the above mentioned foil, that you lose all savings by using even more of the product than you normally would to make up for the deficits. Other items are a “decent” deal, but if you look around carefully and shop the sales, you will actually find that you can get MUCH better deals on those items at other stores.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my dollar stores! Shop carefully, and look for the REAL bargains! A real bargain shopper never assumes – go in armed with information and knowledge, and you’ll come out on top for sure.

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