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Dollar store deals: Best things to buy there, and some things to skip

More shoppers are turning to dollar stores for basics, but not all dollar store items are great deals.
Posted at 9:28 AM, Jan 24, 2024

At your local grocery store, the produce and meat are fresh, but prices on household basics can run high. And after three years of grocery inflation, you can feel like you're spending a small fortune to feed your family.

New research from HelpAdvisor found that the average American household spends more than $1,000 monthly on groceries.

So, have you shopped at a dollar store recently? From detergent to frozen veggies, more people are doing their shopping at dollar stores to make ends meet.

Marie Rossiter, a writer for Simplemost Media and Don't Waste Your Money, decided to dig into the deals and compare the options.

"People are looking to save money any way they can," she said. "Dollar stores right now are the fastest-growing grocery and food shopping companies in the country."

Dollar store groceries: Do they save money and are they safe?
Signs for Family Dollar and Dollar General

Dollar store groceries: Do they save money and are they safe?

Grocery inflation is running above 8% the past two years, which is causing many to turn to dollar stores for some staples.

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What you will find at the stores

So, she checked out three of the biggest and described her findings in this report.

"I went to Dollar Tree, Dollar General and Family Dollar," she said. "They all had a pretty wide variety of different products."

Rossiter says the prices were all similar, though these days, most things cost more than $1.

"It really is just a term for the most part. Usually, the cheapest things you're going to find are $1.25," she said, with some items selling for $5 or more.

Still, she says, there were deals to be found, especially with basics: "milk, eggs, and things like that," she said.

Rossiter found the best deals on staples to stock your kitchen, like canned goods and frozen foods, cutting a quarter here and a dime there.

"That savings does add up," she said.

As for what to skip, toilet paper tops Rossiter's list because of its quality and lower absorbency, which can lead you to use more.

"The other one is laundry detergent," she said, where off-brands often don't have the cleaning power of the big (and more expensive) national brands.

Of course, many people still prefer their local grocery store for fresh produce and community.

"You see the same people all the time and get to know people here," one shopper said of his community grocery store.